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December 27, 2006

Japan Cycle Navigator

Cycle Tokyo ! provides detailed cycling information around the Tokyo area, but what about cycling Japan in general ? Japan Cycling Navigator is a good source for information for cycling in Japan. General information can be found about food, the language, public transport, accomodations, and everything else you would expect in Japan. This site and Cycle Tokyo! established a good partnership, acting mutually with each other with Japan Cycle Navigator acting as a general information site, and Cycle Tokyo! providing area information for Tokyo.
Don't forget to take a look at this great site, before coming over to cycle in Japan !

January 30, 2007

Good Tokyo Maps(on and off)

A map is handy to have in riding around Tokyo, but few good maps are in English.
Here's a list of some found online and offline. Please send us information if you have any recommendations.


May 18, 2007

Gourmet Navigator

Though directly not a bike related topic, Food and gourmet information is something verry important in order to have a nice cycling experience in Tokyo ! :-)
So here we go...

"Gourmet Navigator", known as "Guru-Navi" is a very popular website in Japan for finding good places to eat and drink. The site has an English version where you can find eateries and restaurants ranging from Sushi, Yakitori, Ramen, to Gyudon, or beef bowls.
(The Japanese version lists much more international, from Chinese to French)

The current monthly article "Tokyo Food Culture" picks up on "Tokyo food", something that may be interesting to read.

Good Eating !

October 11, 2007

No Bikes on the Sidewlks in Ginza

071010ginza.jpg

I noticed this sign up on Harumi Dori that says the bicycles are NOT allowed on the sidewalks on Ginza Dori. Keep in mind that though bikes are not prohibited on sidewalks in many areas of Japan, there are designated locations where they are specifically prohibited.
Also remember that though bikes on sidewalks are allowed when necessary, they basically belong on the roadway.

I wouldn't feel like riding on the sidewalks of central Ginza densely populated with pedestrians anyway.

May 17, 2008

Rental Bike Information - Cool Bike

Here's a new rental bike service that opened in April.
They have a very comprehensive rental system with reasonable pricing.
What's also nice about them is that they have an online booking system in English, so visitors can reserve a bike online before coming over to Tokyo. Please note "Cycle Tokyo!" when reserving.

September 5, 2008

openstreetmap.org

I had been looking quite a while for an online English map of Tokyo, and I bumped into one at last. OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world, a Wiki world map, to say it short.
Though it doesn't cover the smallest roadway, it is detailed enough for it to be useful in searching your way through Tokyo. The best thing is that the map is in English !

I'll need more research to see whether we can use this map instead of GoogleMaps (which is in Japanese) to layout our ride courses and incorporate the maps into our site.

October 6, 2008

LIVING ABROAD IN JAPAN

Here's a really nice book about everyday life, travel and culture in Japan. Just about everything you'll want to know (and need to know) about Japanese life. In addition to detailed and up-to-date (second edition, published September 2008 !) information about life in Japan, the book gives the reader a very good veiw of all parts of Japan by covering all regions of Japan. A great read whether you're planning a trip to Japan, or you're just dreaming about one !

The book recommends bicycles as a very good transportaion method, and mentions Cycle Tokyo! as a good resource for Tokyo biking information. Guess what... the book is written by Ruthy Kanagy, our advisor ! :-) Since she has experience living in Japan herself, the book is really down to earth in terms of living information.

February 17, 2009

Big Bikes !

We found them !
Y's Road Akasaka carries a good stock of large frame MTBs and road bikes.
Go down to the basement floor where there's a floor of large bikes. The largest frame I saw was a 61cm Lemond Sarthe '2008 model.
Tall folks, give it a try !

April 9, 2009

MapFan English

Here's an Englsh version of a map service provided by a Japanese service provider MapFan.
At last, we have a rather detailed map of Tokyo in English !
I hope it stays.

October 8, 2009

What to take along when cycling in Japan

I'm getting ready to fly from Oregon to Japan next week for 2 weeks of cycling! I'm looking forward to meeting my friends -- the staff of Cycle Tokyo! -- who volunteer to take you on a unique tour of this exciting city. Based on my past experiences, here's a list of recommended gear to take along when cycling in Japan. Some things may be obvious, and you may have more to add.

Bike gear - besides a helmet and spare tubes (if you're bring your own bicycle), bring a good cable lock, as there are not many bike racks, and a U-lock may not fit; a mirror to mount on the *right* side of your helmet or glasses (you'll be riding on the left in Japan) - safer on congested streets than turning around to look. Water bottles or a hydration pack (water is safe to drink everywhere); Front and rear lights. If you have a bike case or excess gear, you can easily ship it to your next destination via 'takkyuubin' delivery service from the airport, hotel or any convenience store ('konbini'). I did that when I took way too much stuff on my first bike tour.

Navigation - a GPS is very useful - http://uud.info/ has Garmin MapSource compatible navigation maps with labels in English. The handiest map books are the "Touring Mapple" series with detailed maps for every region of Japan. Although labeled in Japanese, they show elevation and distance (in kilometers, of course) with symbols for campgrounds, hot springs, fast food (if you're desperate), and 7-11s -- useful to know because their ATMs accept international debit cards.

Taking your bike on trains (called 'rinko') - bikes are allowed on trains as long as they are covered before entering the train station and onto the train, so bring a bike bag (or purchase at a bike shop). If your bike has 'big wheels' they should be removed first. If you have a folding bike with little wheels, just bag it and go. Tip: long distance trains, such as the shinkansen (bullet train) have minimal luggage space, but there's usually space behind the seats in the last row of each car to stash your bike. On local trains, use common sense and avoid rush hour.

Clothing -- you want to be comfortable while biking, but note that Japanese tend to dress conservative, i.e., less revealing clothing. Japanese cyclists do wear spandex when training, but for sightseeing and visiting temples and shrines, loose shorts or pants or skirt with padded shorts underneath may be more appropriate. Take full rain gear just in case -- June and July are the rainy season, followed by typhoon season, so you can't predict when you'll get wet. Shoes - besides bike shoes, slip-on shoes are handy because you'll be removing them when going inside temples, castles, and other historic buildings, as well as traditional inns ('ryokan'). Make sure your socks don't have holes!

Toiletries - take band-aids and pain reliever. Small packs of tissues & a small towel are handy as not all public restrooms have toilet paper or paper towels. (But they do have remote control, high-tech toilets ^_^)

Electronics - bring your cell phone if it's compatible with Japan (or rent one at the airport or online - see japanrentaphone.com). Electricity is 100V and most electrical outlets take 2 flat prongs (not 3 prongs like many in the U.S.). If you're coming from a country with 120V you won't need an adapter.

Something to share - you'll have a chance to meet and interact with Japanese people on trains, in shops, restaurants, hotels, even school children on the street. Strangers may come up to you to try out their English (or French or Korean...) and ask questions about your culture. If you have some picture postcards, treats or small gifts to share, they will be delighted (and may even invite you to their home).

All for now... happy cycling!

November 7, 2009

Cycling Terminals in Japan

With its fine and cool days, autumn is a great season for cycling. I enjoy riding around Tokyo on the weekends. Sometimes I leave Tokyo and visit areas outside the city. In the fall, many people visit Kyoto and Hakone to enjoy the changing colors of the maple leaves and other trees.

I am planning to visit Shimane prefecture with my friends from 11/20 (Friday) to 11/23 (Monday) this year. I had to book a hotel in Matsue-city, which is the capital city and a convenient place to go to the sightseeing spots of Shimane. I thought I could find a room at a reasonable price easily. There are two major search engines for booking accommodations at hotels in Japan. One is"Jaran-net"(*1) and the other is IKYU.COM_(*2). (IKYU.COM is an English site.) I always use these sites to book a room without any problems. However, this time was different. There were some available rooms on 11/20 and 22, but I never found a room for 11/21. I called more than ten hotels directly and tried to book a room. But as soon as I gave them my preferred date, "I am sorry but we don't have any rooms available at all on 11/21," they answered. I wonder if a big conference will be held in Matsue ?

Anyway, I gave up Matsue city and changed the location. Finally I found an available inn in Izumo-city. The name of the inn is "Izumo-city Cycling Terminal Ginrin-so." (They don't have a website.) The word 'Ginrin' indicates a bicycle. Jaran-net and IKYU.COM do not have any information on Ginrin-so. Just from the name, it looks like Ginrin-so is cyclist-friendly. They have a bicycle parking area and we can park our bikes at no charge. Also, they have rental bikes and tourists can rent them. I was happy to find a suitable inn for a cyclist like myself.

The term "Cycling Terminal" reminded me of something. I thought I heard that word before. I checked with the record of my travels and found that I had stayed at "Imabari-city Cycling Terminal Sunrise Itoyama" in 2006. (*3) Sunrise Itoyama was a great inn for cyclists. The Shimanami Sea route (Shimanami Kaido)is the route between Onomichi-city of Honshu, the main island of Japan, to Imabari-city of Shikoku. Sunrise Itoyama is located near the entrance of the Shimanami Sea route on the Imabari side. The route spans the Seto Inland Sea with 10 bridges stepping over 6 islands. All bridges have side walks for cyclists and pedestrians, so we can travel between the mainland and Shikoku by bike! The view from the bridge was very beautiful and I was excited about riding over the sea! After traveling, I stayed at Sunrise Itoyama. I was surprised that we were allowed to carry our bikes into the room! Tourists can rent a bike there. Sunrise Itoyama has a variety of different bikes. If you have an opportunity to visit Imabari by your bike, I recommend that you stay at Sunrise Itoyama.

It seems that there are more than 30 inns in Japan which are called "Cycling terminal." I looked into them on the internet. Most of them are public inns. That's why the room rate is reasonable.

Ginrin-so is the second Cycling Terminal inn I will stay at with my bike. I am looking forward to visiting them and would like to try the rest of the cycling terminals as well.

*1 Jaran-net
http://www.jalan.net/
*2 IKYU.COM
http://www.ikyu.com/en/

*3 Sunrise Itoyama
http://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/


- Cycling terminals / ourdoor Japan : http://outdoorj.japan-adventures.com/activities/cycling/activities-cycling-terminals.html
- Cycling terminals/Japan Cycling Association : http://www.j-cycling.org/ct/


- Cycle @nak - 2006-11 Shimanami Cycling : http://cycle.atnak.com/cycletour/061122shimanami/index.html

March 7, 2010

Sunday Cycling in The Center of Tokyo

Every Sunday, the car traffic is prohibited on the road before the Imperial Palace.
From 10:00am to 3:00pm, the road is opened only for cyclist.

Continue reading "Sunday Cycling in The Center of Tokyo" »

May 8, 2010

Staying in a Ryokan

You haven't really been to Japan until you stay in a Ryokan or Japanese style inn. Rates are higher than business hotels, but may include breakfast and/or dinner and a hot spring bath. When you arrive at the inn, remove your shoes in the entry and step up into the guest slippers that are supplied, taking care not to step on the entry floor in stocking feet. A staff person will guide you to your room. Take off your slippers at the entry before stepping onto the delicate "tatami" or woven rush mat floor.

280%20ryokan.jpg
Typical guest room in a ryokan

In the center of the room will be a low table with a "zabuton" cushion to kneel on. On the table is a thermos of hot water and a tea set, ready for you to make "ocha" or green tea. Often there's a small sweet or rice crackers to nibble with your tea. You won't see any bed in the rooms because the "futon" bedding hides in a closet during the day. After dinner, a staff person will come and lay out the bed for you on the floor.

Japan09%20009.jpg
Yamanaka Ryokan in Tokyo with my Speeding tikit

After a long day of biking and sight-seeing, there's nothing like a soak in the "ofuro" or bath to relax sore muscles. Most Ryokan (say 'dyo' and 'kahn' in 2 quick syllables) have large communal baths - one for women, one for men - often fed by natural thermal springs. When you head to the bath, take along a bath towel, a small towel for washing, and "yukata" cotton kimono and "obi" sash supplied in your room. You can tell which bath is for women and men by the red or blue curtain outside the door. In the changing room, stash your clothes in a basket and take your small towel with you to the bath area.

The first thing to do is grab a small stool and basin and wash thoroughly at one of the spigots. There's usually a shower head as well, which you can use while seated. Rinse soap suds by pouring lots of hot water over your shoulders. Once clean, step into the very hot tub and relax. You can leave the small towel in the washing area, or, as many people do, fold it and put it on your head (don't dip the towel in the tub). Often there are rocks and plants artfully arranged with hot water running down. There may be a "roten-buro" or outdoor spa set among rocks and trees with screening for privacy. There's nothing like soaking in a hot spring bath with snow drifting down while gazing at the mountains! In cities the rotenburo may be on the top floor of the hotel.
(Adapted from "Living Abroad in Japan" 2008 by Ruthy Kanagy, page 84.)

Tokyo-Fuji-Kyoto-07%20113.jpg
Cycle tour group at Inn Fujitomita near Mt. Fuji

Last fall I stayed at Suigetsu Hotel Ogaiso in Ueno on a cycle tour I led. It is not inexpensive, but very comfortable and walking distance to the National Museums, Ueno Park and Zoo, and 'Shita-machi" old Tokyo neighborhoods, with convenient train connection to Narita Airport. (Ruthy Kanagy).

Booking a Japanese Style Inn

Japan Guesthouses

Japan Ryokan Association


July 17, 2010

Long and tough 23 days

The Tour de France has become popular with Japanese cyclists.

SN3J0770-s.JPG

Continue reading "Long and tough 23 days " »

February 18, 2011

"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.

September 19, 2011

Bike shops you should visit in Tokyo

Bicycle are still important short range transportation for Tokyo residents. So there are many bike shops in this city from small local bike shop to large super-market. But if you look for road bike, MTB, or cross, you need to visit shops called "sports bike shop" or "bicyle pro-shop".
Here is a small list of bike shops for cyclist.

CycleTokyo's Bike Shop Map in Tokyo
http://goo.gl/DcbV9


Y's Road
http://www.ysroad.net/

Y's is the one of biggest sports bike shop chain in Kanto area. They have 19 branches in Tokyo. They stock many road, mtb, cross, bmx, and folding bikes in their shops.

Narushima Friend
http://www.nalsimafrend.jp/cgi-bin/cms/index.cgi

Narushima is a unique bike shop, known as roadies nest. They stock many fancy parts for road bike, including latest Record or DuraAce.

Friend Shokai
http://www.friendsyokai.co.jp/index.htm

The shop was founded in 1933, and has been known as high quality bike shop. They have wide range of stock bike of road, mtb, cross, and folding.

Carnival
http://www.carnivaltokyo.com/

In last 5 years, the fixed-gear bike, or fixie, has became popular in Tokyo. Carnival is one of fixie dedicated bike shop.

Loro
http://www.loro.co.jp/

This unique shop focused on recumbent and folding bikes started their buisiness at Osaka on 1999. They now has 2 branches in Tokyo.

Cycly
http://www.cycly.co.jp/

Cycly is the well organized second hand bike shop chain. The prices are not super-cheap, but the quarity of their bikes are nice.


maki

June 3, 2012

TeePee Guide - Japan Dining & Travel (iPhone/iPad app)

I'm going to try this for a while, but rumor says it's a good app for visitors to Tokyo. In English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Currently free until June 15.

March 22, 2013

Sapporo Travel Map

Here's an iPhone application that guides you throught the city of Sapporo (Hokkaido), with a list of places of interest.

The author has a list of apps for cities worldwide.

May 15, 2013

Mobile/GPS friendly Route Information

We are concious about smartphones and GPS tools that come in handy when riding.
We prepare our cycling route presentations to be mobile/GPS friendly.

http://cycle-tokyo.cycling.jp/course.html

In addition to the standard route intro page, we prepare the following for each route :

1. Google Maps Page
In addition to the standard ride course page, we have prepared a plotted Google Maps page, suited for veiwing on mobile devices. Please look for the link below the map on each course page.

2. GPX/KML files
For each ride course, we have prepared GPX/KML route data files that can be imported on some GPS applications. Please look for the link below the map on each course page.

September 3, 2014

Safety Tips for Travellers

The Japan Tourism Agency has prepard a good page to refr to for safety tips when traveling to Japan. It has information about how to act in case of an emergency, such as a strong earthquak.

http://www.jnto.go.jp/safety-tips/pc/index.html

October 26, 2014

Rental BIke Shop List

Our rental bike shop list is a bit out of date, and we apologize for that.
We plan to renew it, but here's a pointer in the meantime...
The Japan National Tourist Organization has a list of rental bike shops in the Tokyo area.

October 24, 2016

Bike Renting in Tokyo

Here's a link share of an article introducing bike rentals in Tokyo.

We have our page too for your reference !
http://cycle-tokyo.cycling.jp/shops.html

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