Friday, 15 May 2009

Cycling in Japan

Cycling in Japan is a horrible and wonderful experience at the same time. It can be horrible on major roads where the traffic is just overwhelming. There are tunnels everywhere. And navigation can be a problem in cities where everything is in Japanese and you have no clue where you are. But even in these bad circumstances things are made tolerable by the following factors:
- Japanese drivers are the most considerate and courteous I have ever seen. In almost 2 weeks we have never been honked at even once. They usually give you a very wide berth and are very patient in waiting to overtake you. And on top of that the speed limit even on major highways is 100 km/h. I have never felt so safe on roads as here in Japan.

- Most roads, especially in cities have a sidewalk cum bike path, so you can usually get away from traffic if you want to - in many cases even in tunnels. On the bike paths cyclists go ever which way and even on the roads locals drive in the wrong direction - and nobody seems to mind.

- And when we are looking for something, I use my three words of Japanese to ask for the way. Everyone is extremely friendly - not that we understand the answer, but we are pointed in the right direction and then just have to ask again.

But we also discovered a lot of extremely quiet and very scenic back roads with hardly any traffic at all and a scenery that rivals even New Zealand.


Unknown said...

Thank you for writing these blogs - I'm going to cycle across some of Japan for 2 weeks in April and any and all information is useful. Sounds like I'm going to have a great time!


German Tourist said...

Thanks for your feedback and enjoy your trip!