7-day Cycling and Rail Tour of Japan using Japan Rail Pass

In April 2017, we used 7-day standard Japan Rail Pass to do a rail and cycling tour of Japan.  We did a day trip on the Day 1 to Kagoshima then 5-day trip covering Shimanami Kaido, Mt Fuji and Noto Peninsula, with the last day travelling to Osaka to catch our flight from Kansai Airport. This is our brief itinerary for 7 days with further posting for each route to follow.

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【Cycling Diary】Road to Hagi : coast to coast across Yamaguchi

Cycling to Hagi Yamaguchi

Breakfast in preparation for a long day in the saddle.
Departing from Tonomi (Hofu, Yamaguchi) 山口県防府市富海 we took the coastal road west to intersect with the 58 on the outskirts of 防府 Hofu. The views over the inland sea towards Kyushu were stunning and I knew we had chosen a good day for a long ride from coast to coast across 山口 Yamaguchi prefecture.

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Maple Yaba Cycling Road Nakatsu, Oita (Kyushu)

This road utilizes abandoned Yabakei railway tracks by the mountain side.  There are attractive sights nearby such as Yabakei Gorge, a rock tunnel from Edo period and old iron bridges and abandoned platforms. The gradient is not steep and the natural scenery is very attractive, especially in Autumn with red maple leaves, hence the name.

Lake Biwa Yoshibue Cycling Road

Lake Biwa Yoshibue Road   26.2km

Omihachiman to Higashiomi, Shiga (Honshu Kansai region)



This cycling road is located within the Lake Nishinoko area northeast of Kyoto, from Omihachiman 近江八幡 to Azuchi 安土, Japan’s largest waterfront area. It is regarded as one of the eight most beautiful spots of Lake Biwa 琵琶湖 and as “a water district of Azuchi Hachiman 安土八幡 in spring colors.”  The area is designated as the first Important Cultural Landscape in Japan, because of the importance of its ecosystem, where reeds have a water purification effect.

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Shimanami Kaido Cycling Route

The Nishiseto 西瀬戸 Expressway, commonly known as the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido 瀬戸内しまなみ海道 Expressway, links Onomichi 尾道, Hiroshima Prefecture 広島県, with Imabari 今治, Ehime Prefecture 愛媛県.  It is a 60 kilometer-long highway that links the islands of the Seto Inland Sea with nine individual bridges.  There are two other land connections between Shikoku and Honshu, but the Shimanami Kaido is the only one accessible by bicycle and on foot.

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Japan’s top 10 cycling roads – ten of the best rides

There are numerous cycling roads in Japan.  Whether you are a casual cyclist or a serious racer, there is always a perfect route for you.  But you do not know where to start?  Here is top 10 cycling roads in Japan voted by Japanese cycling enthusiasts and professionals.

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Tsunoshima Bridge Nagato Yamaguchi

Tsunoshima 角島 Bridge is relatively new (opened in 2000) and connects between Yamaguchi Prefecture’s 山口県 Shimonoseki city 下関市 and the Tsunoshima Island.  The view of the slender bridge structure over the sea sparkling in emerald green is impressive and it was ranked 3rd in the world in the best seller “Places to go before you die: Picturesque World Views”.

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Japan Korea Kampu Ferry transport – Shimonoseki to Busan in 14 hours

The Kampu Ferry Company sails daily between Shimonoseki (下関)on the western tip of the main island of Honshu, and the South Korean ferry port of Busan (釜山).

Kampu ferry ships are conventional ferries with cabins, sailing overnight and departing daily at 18:00 arriving 08:30 next morning. The journey takes approximately 14 hours.

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