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"Cycling Japan" - A Book Review

"CYCLING JAPAN by Takashi Niwa: 10 of the Best Rides"
(Published by Tokyo Chizu Shuppan, 2009)

This bilingual Japanese and English cycling guide introduces 10 recommended cycling courses, from northern Hokkaido - 'Northbound to Cape Soya' - to southern Okinawa - 'Blue Sky Meets Turquoise Sea - Miyakojima.' The routes vary in length from 100km ~ 350km and take you mostly on local roads that bypass more heavily trafficked highways - off the beaten path, in other words.

Each route is introduced with a basic map, elevation profile, best season to go, tips on food and lodging, and a list of towns you pass on the route. At the end of the book you will find useful general information, such as how to bag your bike for train or bus travel ('rinko' - go with your bike), pack it for air travel, or use a handy delivery service to ship your bike point to point. A suggested packing list and basic rules for bicycle safety in Japan complete the book.

If you have several days free in the Tokyo area, why not strike out "Across Honshu - Coast-to-Coast Ride from Tokyo" (p. 38)? The 350km meandering route takes you from the Pacific coast and Kanto plains through the central mountains to Niigata on the Japan Sea coast. Allow 4 to 5 days to enjoy the sights along the way and return via shinkansen (bullet train) in just a couple of hours.

The book includes full color photos of enticing scenery and is available at major bookstores and from Amazon.


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