Another trip to Japan | Page 2 | GTAMotorcycle.com

Another trip to Japan

slowbird

Well-known member
If you know someone who is a Japanese resident, you can buy a bike and register it under their name. That takes some trust on their part, no stranger is going to do that for you. And unless you have Permanent Residency, have a work visa or something other than a tourist visa, then it isn't possible to register a bike under your own name and get insurance for it.
That's interesting. Thanks for the info.

I have a friend I made the first time I came to Japan. He has a couple bikes and the last time I was there he said I could ride one of his.

Super trusting of him

Some pretty cool bikes over there that aren't available in North America.
Yeah! Lots of them. A lot of time I couldn't ID them. "Cool bike! What is it?"

EDIT: Also Lightcycle, I'm really enjoying your stories from Japan. If you ever get back to Toronto and you're free, I'm open to meet up and chat about how awesome Japan and riding in Japan is.
 
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Lightcycle

Motorcycle Nomad
Site Supporter
I have a friend I made the first time I came to Japan. He has a couple bikes and the last time I was there he said I could ride one of his.
Nice!

We were researching buying and selling a bike for our Japan trip, but ran into the residency/work visa issue. Some guy on a forum said if we knew someone in Japan, we could register the bike in their name. We didn't know anyone, so we ended up renting.

A few weeks later, after riding through a lot of the country, we made friends with so many local riders who offered to do just this the next time we come to Japan, which is super awesome!

I think we will take them up on this. Will certainly be much cheaper!

I'm really enjoying your stories from Japan. If you ever get back to Toronto and you're free, I'm open to meet up and chat about how awesome Japan and riding in Japan is.
Haha! Thanks so much, your ride report brings back many happy memories as well! We'll be visiting TO for a few days mid-March, if you're free. LMK.
 

1claire

Member
Those photos are beautiful, now I feel like craving for fresh sushi and uni. There are some countries that offer a motorbike rental, I just don't know if the same thing works in Japan.
 

J_F

gringo diablo
Site Supporter
dunno, but I think there could be some dough to be made there
a few trips a year, buy up some of the those gently used neat little bikes
send a bunch back in a container to NA....be a fun retirement project
 

Lightcycle

Motorcycle Nomad
Site Supporter
dunno, but I think there could be some dough to be made there
a few trips a year, buy up some of the those gently used neat little bikes
send a bunch back in a container to NA....be a fun retirement project
There used to be a company in Toronto that did this: Nuak did grey market imports of JDM vehicles (not just motos, but RHD cars as well) and parts. Not sure if they're around anymore.
 

slowbird

Well-known member
Nice!

We were researching buying and selling a bike for our Japan trip, but ran into the residency/work visa issue. Some guy on a forum said if we knew someone in Japan, we could register the bike in their name. We didn't know anyone, so we ended up renting.

A few weeks later, after riding through a lot of the country, we made friends with so many local riders who offered to do just this the next time we come to Japan, which is super awesome!

I think we will take them up on this. Will certainly be much cheaper!
Yeah I think I'll take up the offer too. As great as the rentals are in Japan, the cost adds up quite a bit. :(

Where did you rent your bikes from btw? :confused:


Haha! Thanks so much, your ride report brings back many happy memories as well! We'll be visiting TO for a few days mid-March, if you're free. LMK.
I should be free. I'll message you closer to March and we'll figure something out.
 

slowbird

Well-known member
There are some countries that offer a motorbike rental, I just don't know if the same thing works in Japan.
What did you want to know about Renting a bike in Japan? I can tell you all about it. :)

There used to be a company in Toronto that did this: Nuak did grey market imports of JDM vehicles (not just motos, but RHD cars as well) and parts. Not sure if they're around anymore.
Bonsai Rides maybe?

http://bonsairides.com/

My brother recently bought a RHD Mini from them.
 

slowbird

Well-known member
5th day on the Bike:

So I wake up and take a shower. Luckily I booked a room with a private bathroom. Some of these Ryokan, (traditional sleep on the tatami floor hotels in Japan) have shared bathrooms.

Breakfast is buffet style. Food is great as always. I'm still the only westerner, and the only person under 50 years old in the joint.

I load up the bike, check out, and get on my way.

I am very much looking forward to the route today. A stones throw from my hotel is this twisty dream:



A curvy mountainous road that goes around a lake? Yes please.

The GPS on the bike is trying to get me to take a faster route. It's like "That twisty road is going to take you over 2 hours and 30 mins to go just 90 kms!!"
I know dummy, that's the point!

So I am in Niigata prefecture and I will be heading east towards Fukushima, before I turn south and make my way down to Nikko in Tochigi prefecture. It doesn't take long for the road to get narrow and twisty. The center line disappears, and I approach most blind corners cautiously.
Another great thing about Japan is that most blind corners have a concave mirror to help you see if anything is coming around the bend. I make a point to spam the flash to pass trigger on the left hand controls when I'm coming up to these blind corners.

Anyways the road is really beautiful, the scenery is astounding. Weather is perfect, I couldn't be happier
. The road is mostly dead. I sometimes come across a vehicle coming the other way, and though it's startling to see a car coming towards you and blocking most of the road, there was always plenty of time to react...and some parts of the road widen to allow for passing.

After a couple hours I pull over at a look out spot to take some pictures and hydrate. Within a minute another car rolls up and 3 old Japanese people get out. 1 man and 2 women.
We exchanges hellos and tiny bows. They mention in passable English that the scenery is beautiful. I agree with them in hopefully passable Japanese. We enjoy the view together and snap some photos.







When I show this picture to my Japanese friends they always comment that these are typical country bumpkin people. Especially how they are dressed.
They were super sweet old folks and we talked a bit. Asked where I was from and all that. Everyone is always surprised to hear I'm from Canada, and curious what I'm doing on a bike in the middle of nowhere.

Before they leave they ask if I'd like my picture taken. I don't like having my mug in pictures but I learned over the years when touring alone it's nice to have some pictures taken so I agreed.



They leave and I'm left with the silence. I wait a bit before I leave to give them time to get ahead of me a bit so I'm not stuck behind them.



Eventually I continue on my way. About 20 mins go buy and I'm on a larger normal 2 lane road. I see the old folks going the other way and we wave at each other :) The road tightens up again and keep making my way east.

It's a fun little road. Lots of elevation changes and beautiful scenery. I spot a few bikes coming the other way, and even at one point have to pull over before a tight bend as numerous sport bikes come zipping around the bend in the opposite direction.

Somewhere in Fukushima prefecture I stop again to take some photos and to grab a quick snack and drink from my Topbox. I haven't seen any place to stop for a late lunch so far...I'm really out in the middle of nowhere.

Also I had to pee.



All the other places I've visited in Japan this trip hasn't had much autumn colors but up here in the mountains they are showing up here and there.



Eventually I make my way down south out of Fukushima and into Tochigi, and eventually I arrive at my final stop today into the city of Nikko. I stop at a 7Eleven to grab some coffee and an Onigiri and kill some time. I'm too early to check into my Airbnb so I hang out in the parking lot.
An old Japanese man walks past me and the bike to his little 800cc "pickup truck". I smile and nod at him and go back to messing around on my phone...but I can see from the corner of my eye he's still looking at me. I figure he's just curious about the foreigner so I pretend not to notice so he can satisfy his curiosity. But it goes on longer than the usual curious looks I sometimes got so I turn my attention to him.

He asks where I am from, in very good English I might add, and I tell him Canada. He then proceeds to talk to me for well over an hour (I'm not exaggerating) about Maple syrup and Maple trees.
"I read an interesting article." he says "In the article they mention if you put your ear to a Maple tree you can hear the Maple syrup inside the tree as it flows."
I give him an apologetic look "I'm sorry I have never tried that." :confused:

It was an interesting conversation, and he was a super nice man. The conversation was mainly about Maple Syrup though.

Eventually I get to my Airbnb which is a huge old Japanese house. Tradition style with sliding doors and the like. An old man is my host (lots of old people today) he has me fill out my information to check-in and then shows me to my room upstairs.
After about 20 mins I hear him at the foot of the stairs:
"Matto san. Matto san!" I run over and he's struggling with a tray of refreshments. I take the tray from him and thank him, and he smiles and goes back to his TV.



Pretty decent spread considering I wasn't expecting anything. The Airbnb listing didn't say I was going to be fed anything at all.



I don't know what this is ^^ but it's goooood.


The host lets me do my laundry thankfully. Most homes in Japan dont have driers and they hang dry their clothes, so they provide me a place to hang all my stuff to dry.

Early evening I go out on foot to explore the area. I can't find any Izakayas or places that have English menus/menus with pictures, so I find a cozy coffee shop instead.

I walk in and it's a beautiful cafe. Very rustic looking with old Cast Iron stoves and wooden furniture and walls.

I'm greeted by the waitress in the usually friendly and polite Japanese way. She quickly adds "No English menu."

I laugh and tell her "its ok" in Japanese, and add in English: "All I want is Cohee." which is how you say Coffee in Japanese.
I grab a table, given some water and a very complicated looking menu in Japanese. I start using my phone to google translate the items.

At first I'm getting the poorly translated stuff like:
"Raspberries beckon the settings" and then more normal-ish stuff like "Chiffon cake". Eventually google translate shows me "Gateau Chocolat" oh good! I can order that.

So I order a coffee and point to whatever the chocolate cake line was and pat myself on the back for making it through that without too much difficulty.



Coffee is amazing, and look at these little wet nap packages!



The cake shows up and is really good and like most Japanese foods is made to look fancier than it probably deserves.




I noticed a cool manhole cover on my way back to my Airbnb



All in all a great day

 
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Lightcycle

Motorcycle Nomad
Site Supporter
Where did you rent your bikes from btw? :confused:
Exact same place you got it from. :)

Had the same gripe as you, that they only had a few BMW F800s and Yamaha MT-0x bikes. But they're a gaijin place and they spoke English which was super-easy to deal with as tourists.

If we spoke Japanese we could have gone to several nihonjin rental places. Would have been much cheaper and there'd be a better selection of JDM bikes.
 

Lightcycle

Motorcycle Nomad
Site Supporter
He asks where I am from, in very good English I might add, and I tell him Canada. He then proceeds to talk to me for well over an hour (I'm not exaggerating) about Maple syrup and Maple trees.
"I read an interesting article." he says "In the article they mention if you put your ear to a Maple tree you can hear the Maple syrup inside the tree as it flows."
I give him an apologetic look "I'm sorry I have never tried that." :confused:

It was an interesting conversation, and he was a super nice man. The conversation was mainly about Maple Syrup though.
I had to LOL at this.

We recently ran into a Japanese couple in our travels (not in Japan). They were also on a RTW trip in their 600cc JDM car, maybe 4 or 5 years into it. We were staying at the same hostel and we had dinner together. I think I spent the entire time talking about our journeys through Japan. Although they were being polite and attentive, in retrospect, I think the last thing they wanted to do on the other side of the world was talk about their home country... :D
 

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