Ride across Japan

TRIBE adventurers Laura & Michael-George Hemus have just completed a 1,600 ride across Japan. They share their adventure with us...

54 days and 1600 miles into cycling Japan’s length, it’s safe to say it’s a cyclists’ paradise. After autumn-kissed mountains, dramatic coastlines and ‘rainbow’ tunnels, today’s joy is the Seto Sea bridge network - allowing two-wheelers to ride numerous islands between Shikoku and Honshu.

Cycling aside, I’m here to realise two dreams. First, to fund self-defence training for 1000 women and children affected by sexual violence. Second, having lived in Tokyo as kids, to explore Japan with my brother, MG. For our 2400 mile ride, here’s why Japan proved an excellent choice...

Scenery: mountains, lakes, islands, historic and modern cities... Japan’s narrow shape means even short tours can include them all. Pride in preserving nature and architecture adds to the visual charm.


People: upholding a tradition of amazing hospitality, locals approach us daily to offer help. One lady even took us in overnight, having found us searching for a phantom campsite.

Onsen: after a day’s riding, a long soak is heaven! Traditional bathhouses are everywhere, even in some ryokans. Just don’t dunk your head underwater - a massive no-no!

Food: seasonal and “oishi” (delicious), Japanese food can be clean, indulgent, meat-free, gluten-free - all kinds of yum for the raging cyclist hunger. Weird-looking snacks are edible entertainment, less so the fluorescent energy drinks - we miss our TRIBE fuel!


Safety: most roads offer a side-lane, if no cycle path, and while main roads can be truck-heavy, drivers are considerate. Crime is low. Cyclists use locks Hackney amateurs would swiftly destroy, if any lock at all! Finally, as a woman, not being hassled once in 10 weeks is refreshing.


If you’d like to cycle in Japan, contact us via japanonabike.com for tips. Our highlights: Lake Shumarinai, Echizen Coast, Seto Sea islands, Tadami to Tokamachi.