Japan is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Let us introduce you to some of the best spots, courses, and plans recommended by Big Bike Tours. Can you imagine? Riding through Japan on a rising dragon-shaped road, passing through several of the most fascinating places in all of Japan.

Being 70% mountains, having perfect roads, lots of nature, delicious food, and being super safe, Japan is truly a paradise for riders. On top of all this, it has a magnificent unique culture, not only in Asia but in the whole world. And exploring it with the freedom that a motorcycle gives you is the best way possible! And then we Big Bike Tours come in to provide you with priceless local knowledge and “omotenashi” for a dream-like adventure. Omotenashi is the philosophy of Japanese hospitality, it goes beyond service, captures how Japanese hosts pay attention to detail and anticipate their guests’ needs.

Come and experience it all with us! Send us a message to discuss this further and we will organize your motorcycle tour in Japan. A unique riding experience you will never forget! And no one offers all of this and the time to enjoy and savor each location more than Big Bike Tours!



TOUR OPERATOR Big Bike Tours – Moto Tours Japan
DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION  Tokyo, Japan / Narita or Haneda Airport
DEPARTURE TIME The tour will start at 8.30 am the day after the arrival day.
RETURN TIME The tour will finish after breakfast at the hotel on departure day.
GEAR We recommend bringing your gear to be the most comfortable. BUT we also offer helmets, jackets, gloves, and knee guards (European high-quality brands in many different sizes). Please be informed, that we do not offer boots and trousers due to hygienic reasons.
Motorcycles P4 class bikes (P5-P8 class bikes available with surcharge). Some examples of bikes according to their class you will find in the INFO tab
Insurance for the driver, pillion, third parties, and their properties. (This covers only cases of permanent disability or death. For medical expenses please contract travel insurance in your home country.)
20 nights Accommodation as per hotels/guesthouses/homestays and room types specified in the itinerary
20 x Breakfast and Welcome + Farewell Dinner
Motorcycle Insurance/Registration/Maintenance/Licences/Preparation/Presentation
Collision damage waiver (deductibles apply)
ETC card (automatic electronic toll collection system)
Emergency road assistance by the Japanese Automobile Federation
Smartphone holder and USB power socket
Experienced motorcycle mechanic accompanies the tour with a service vehicle for luggage, spare parts, and repair tools
Japan-experienced and multilingual-speaking “road captain” as a riding tour guide during the whole tour
Itinerary Design by our experts to provide you with an unsurpassed, unique experience, incorporating our secrets and off-the-tourist-track routes
General Admin Fees: Merchant Services Fees, Government Goods Services Tax (15%), Hotel service charge & room tax, and baggage handling
Famous Big Bike Tours “On zee bikes!” T-Shirt
Route map
Multilingual support on the phone from our head office and our network of more than 140 rental stations all over the country
Airport pick up and drop off
All services not mentioned as included and all items of a personal nature
Fuel, toll road fees, entrance to tourist attractions, and other expenses not mentioned here
Lunches and dinners
Pannier cases (they are available as extra options for some of the motorcycle models)
Alcoholic beverages and meals not specified in the itinerary
Travel insurance (cover against cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident or illness). We highly recommend you arrange appropriate insurance in your home country
Flights to and from Japan
Tips for guide and driver
Single-room supplement
Personal expenses such as snacks, beverages, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
Additional activities or services or any other expenses not listed as “included.”
Official Japanese translation of the driver’s license at the Japanese Automobile Federation for those countries that need it = 5,800 yen/pax (50 US$/pax)
Entrance fees to sights and activities specified in the itinerary. They usually range from 300 yen to 1,000 yen (3 to 9 US$)
Visa fee for Japan

Please be informed, that we offer the best cost-benefit ratio for motorcycle touring in Japan. You can entirely focus on your holiday, the adventure, the riding, and Japan’s endless discovery. Come ride with us – the real deal!


(Distance: approximately 3.300 km / 2.050 miles)


Day 1. Arrival in Tokyo

Arrive in the capital of the country, previously known as “Edo” before 1868. Since then it has grown to one of the world’s most populous cities. With the Meiji restoration, the emperor and capital moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed “Tokyo” (Eastern capital). Today, Tokyo offers an unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, and culture.


Day 2. Tokyo - Lake Kawaguchi (103 km)

We start the day riding through the elevated highways of Tokyo, south to Yokohama Bay, crossing it through the suspension bridges. Then continue towards the Izu peninsula to ride the Hakone Turnpike, one of the most famous roads in the country. At the top, we will have lunch with some breathtaking views of Mount Fuji. Then we will ride winding roads alongside Mount Fuji through Yamanako Lake and arrive at Kawaguchi Lake where we will stay for the night.


Day 3. Lake Kawaguchi - Gero Hot Springs (326 km)

After breakfast, we will ride along the southern Japanese Alps into the Kiso Valley in Nagano prefecture. An ancient 70 km trade route called the “Kisoji” was developed along the valley and served as a very important means of commerce in the area. The “Kisoji” became even more important when it was combined with other routes in the formation of the 500km long “Nakasendo” (pass through mountains), which was one of the only two means of transportation routes between Edo and Kyoto. Along the Kiso valley, we will visit the post town of Tsumago, which has been preserved to look the same as when it served travelers of the “Nakasendo”, hundreds of years ago. After this trip back in time, we will arrive at the hot spring town of Gero, where the soothing waters of the hot springs will get us relaxed before dinner.

Day 4. Gero - Kyoto (220 km)

Today we will leave Gero, riding through the twisty mountain roads of Gifu until we reach the town of Seki. Here we will visit the town’s famous swordsmith museum, where we will learn about the art of forging Japanese swords (“katanas”), in the traditional forging style that has been passed down for centuries. After we will continue riding to Kyoto, passing by Hikone Castle and Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake.

Day 5. Rest Day in Kyoto

Today we will have the day free to explore Kyoto, which served as Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1,868. Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its exceptional historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and escaped destruction during World War II. Countless temples, shrines, and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.
(Laundry service possible)

Day 6. Kyoto - Himeji (131 km)

Today we will cross from Kyoto prefecture to Hyogo prefecture. The highlight of the day is the visit to Himeji Castle. Also known as White Heron Castle (Shirasagijo) due to its elegant, white appearance, is widely considered as Japan’s most spectacular castle for its imposing size and beauty and its well-preserved, complex castle grounds. The castle is both a national treasure and a world heritage site. Unlike many other Japanese castles, it was never destroyed by war, earthquake, or fire and survives to this day as one of the country’s twelve original castles.

Day 7. Himeji - Hiroshima (234 km)

After breakfast, we will ride to Kurashiki, a small town in Okayama prefecture that has a preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo period (1,603-1,867), when the city served as an important rice distribution center. The name “Kurashiki” can be roughly translated as “town of storehouses” about the rice storehouses. Many of Kurashiki’s former storehouses have been converted into museums, boutiques, and cafes. After lunch, we will continue riding to Hiroshima where we will stay for the night. (Laundry service possible)

Day 8. Rest Day in Hiroshima

Hiroshima is the principal city of the Chugoku Region and home to over a million inhabitants. When the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the city became known worldwide for this unenviable distinction. The destructive power of the bomb was tremendous and obliterated nearly everything within a two-kilometer radius. After the war, great efforts were made to rebuild the city. In the center of the city, a large park was built and given a name that would reflect the aspirations of the re-born city: Peace Memorial Park.

Day 9. Hiroshima - Kita Kyushu (222 km)

After breakfast, we will leave Hiroshima through the winding countryside roads of Yamaguchi, the westernmost prefecture of the main Honshu island, and cross to Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island, famous for its hot springs, active volcanoes, lush greenery, relaxed lifestyle, and friendly people.

Day 10. Kita Kyushu - Beppu Hot Springs (111 km)

After lunch, we will ride through Fukuoka and Oita prefectures. After lunch, we will visit a very interesting local motorcycle collection with several collector pieces and a huge assortment of memorabilia from the 20th century. Later we will continue to Beppu, one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts, producing more hot spring water than any other resort in the country. Beppu offers an unmatched range of baths to be enjoyed, including ordinary hot water baths, mud baths, sand baths, and steam baths. In addition, the Hells of Beppu has several spectacular hot springs for viewing rather than bathing.

Day 11. Beppu Hot Springs - Kumamoto (140 km)

Today we will cross Kyushu from east to west, stopping on the way at the Aso Kuju National Park and riding the famous scenic Milk Road. Imagine you are on a road that leads off into the sky, and we will be stopping at different lookouts for some incredible views and pictures. Later we will continue to Kumamoto, the capital city of the prefecture, famous for its castle.

Day 12. Kumamoto - Fukuoka (120 km)

After breakfast, we will leave Kumamoto heading north into Saga prefecture and arriving at Fukuoka. Fukuoka is Kyushu’s largest and one of Japan’s ten most populated cities. Because of its closeness to the Asian mainland (closer to Seoul than to Tokyo), Fukuoka has been an important harbor city for many centuries and was chosen by the Mongol invasion forces as their landing point in the 13th century. Today’s Fukuoka is the product of the fusion of two cities in the year 1889 when the port city of Hakata and the former castle town of Fukuoka were united into one city called Fukuoka. Hakata remains the name of one of Fukuoka’s central districts and the main railway station.

Day 13. Fukuoka - Masuda (250 km)

Today we are crossing back to the main island, into the unspoiled forested mountains of Yamaguchi prefecture, and riding along the coast of the Sea of Japan. We will reach Masuda town for the night. Masuda is the capital of the former Iwami prefecture and has a strong cultural legacy apparent in the town’s landmarks and activities, both ancient and modern.

Day 14. Masuda - Tottori (280 km)

After breakfast, we will ride along the coast to Izumo. Here we will visit the Izumo Grand Temple, one of the most important ones in Japan, and considered the oldest one, being mentioned in chronicles from the 700s. The main deity (kami) enshrined at Izumo Taisha is Okuninushi no Okami. According to the creation myths, Okuninushi was the creator of the land of Japan and the ruler of Izumo. He also became known as the deity of good relationships and marriage. Visitors consequently clap their hands four times instead of the usual two times during their prayers: twice for themselves and twice for their actual or desired partners. After Izumo, we will continue riding winding roads to Tottori, the capital of Tottori prefecture and famous for its dunes, the largest in Japan, covering 30 square kilometers.

Day 15. Tottori - Fukui (300 km)

Today we will ride through Hyogo prefecture and will visit Amanohashidate. It is a pine-covered sandbar that spans the mouth of Miyazu Bay in the scenic, coastal region of northern Kyoto Prefecture. Viewed from the mountains at either end of the bay, the Amanohashidate Sandbar (which roughly translates to “bridge in heaven”) looks like a pathway between heaven and earth. The scene has been admired for centuries and is ranked among Japan’s three most scenic views. After this, we will ride the beautiful scenic road of the Mikata five lakes taking a break at the top, before continuing to Fukui for the night.

Day 16. Fukui - Nanao (160 km)

Today we will visit Eiheiji, a massive temple complex that consists of over 70 buildings and structures, founded in 1,244 by Dogen, the Buddhist scholar who introduced Zen from China to Japan in 1,228. Also called “The Temple of Eternal Peace”, it is located deep in the mountains and one can imagine how people looking to reach enlightenment through meditation can concentrate fully in this beautiful natural environment. Later we will continue riding north on the mountain roads of Ishikawa prefecture, all the way to the Noto Peninsula.

Day 17. Nanao - Hirayu (170 km)

After breakfast, we will ride west to visit the fish market of the coastal town of Himi. From there we will continue south through the winding countryside roads of Toyama prefecture until we reach the World Heritage Site of Shirakawago deep into the mountains. Here we will visit the old traditional “Gassho-zukuri” farmhouses. Their steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer and are designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that fall in the region during winter. Later, we will continue west until we reach the Hot Springs town of Hirayu, where we will stay for the night.

Day 18. Hirayu - Kusatsu (200 km)

Today we will cross the northern Japanese Alps to reach Matsumoto town. Matsumoto is famous for its castle, one of the most beautiful and original castles in the country. The castle structures, in combination with their characteristic black wainscoting, give off an air of grandeur and poise. Later we will continue riding to reach Kusatsu Hot Springs, one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts that is blessed with large volumes of high-quality hot spring water said to cure every illness but lovesickness.

Day 19. Kusatsu - Nikko (170 km)

Today we will start the day riding the famous roads that lead to Haruna Mountain where we will stop for a coffee while enjoying the views of the lake at the top. Then we will continue riding to Mount Akagi where we will have lunch and visit a super special temple located on an island, inside a lake that is inside a volcano. Later we will ride the beautiful Japan romantic road through the Konsei mountain pass, into Chuzenji Lake and Nikko, famous for its world heritage temple complex.

Day 20. Nikko - Tokyo (180 km)

Today we will head back to Tokyo, through cedar tree avenue, a total of 35km sided by these trees forming a monumental approach to the shrines and temples of Nikko. is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest tree-lined avenue in the world, and is the only cultural property designated by the Japanese Government as both a Special Historic Site and a Special Natural Monument. Later we will pass by the famous MotoGP Motegi circuit, and visit the Honda Collection Hall museum before heading back to Tokyo.

Day 21. Tokyo, Departure

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the Airport (International Terminal) or stay and explore Tokyo and the surrounding area.
End of Tour

1. Motorcycles

Some examples of bikes according to their class:

P4 bikes: Yamaha MT09, Kawasaki W800, Honda NC750X, Yamaha XSR700, Suzuki VStrom650, Honda CB400SB.

P5 bikes: Honda CB1300SB, Yamaha Tracer 900 and GT, BMW F750GS, Honda CB1100, Yamaha Z900RS, Yamaha XSR900

P6 bikes: Honda Africa Twin 1100 (normal transmission and DCT), Ducati Multistrada 950S

P7 bikes: Ducati Multistrada 1260S, Multistrada 1260 Enduro, BMW R1250GS, BMW R1200GS

P8 bikes: Honda Goldwing, Harley Heritage Classic, Harley Road Glide, Harley Street Glide, Harley Electra Glide, Harley Road King

2. License and other requirements

What do I need to drive in Japan with Big Bike Tours?

  • Be at least 20 years of age.

  • Credit card (we recommend bringing more than one just in case).

  • Have a valid motorcycle driving license from Japan or one of the following countries, plus an international driving permit stamped on “A” for motorcycles or an Official Japanese Translation, depending on the country. For more details please continue reading:

If your driving license was issued in a country not listed above, you cannot drive in Japan. Also please check notes regarding foreign driving licenses at the end.

Notes regarding foreign driving licenses:

  • Please check the expiration date, and make sure it is still valid.

  • Does your motorcycle license have any restrictions like engine displacement, transmission type, etc.? If so, the same restrictions will apply in Japan.

  • You must have spent 3 months in the country where your motorcycle license was issued after obtaining the license. This is a requirement by Japanese law.


※If the International Driving Permit has

“1968” written on the front cover, is NOT valid in Japan.

It also has to be stamped on “A” for motorcycles, and the 1-year validity has to be in force:

Important notes regarding the International Driving Permit (IDP):

  • It has to be issued in the same country as the driver’s license.

  • Check that the IDP is issued by the correct licensing authority.

  • The IDP has no validity on its own. It has to be accompanied at all times by a valid driving license.


Home Country Driving License + Official Japanese translation of the Driving license

If your license is issued in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Monaco, Estonia, Slovenia, or Taiwan you will need to obtain an official Japanese translation of your home country driving license. This can be obtained at the Japanese Automobile Federation or official authorities like Embassies and consulates.

Special notes:

License holders from Belgium, France, and Monaco have two options:

  • Obtain a 1949 Geneva Convention-based IDP, as the “Group 1” countries mentioned above.

  • Obtain an official Japanese translation of their driving license, as the “Group 2” countries mentioned above.

Italy, Poland, and Russia signed both the:

  • 1949 Geneva Convention on road traffic.

  • 1968 Vienna Convention on road traffic.

Therefore authorities of these countries have the right to issue IDPs based on both conventions, but they usually issue IDPs based on the 1968 Vienna Convention. However, Japan only recognizes IDPs issued based on the 1949 Convention. If you can obtain an IDP based on the 1949 Geneva Convention (“1949 Convention” is written on the front cover), you can drive in Japan. But with an IDP based on the 1968 Vienna Convention, you cannot drive in Japan.

In the USA, only two organizations are allowed to sell real, legal IDPs: the American Automobile Association, and the American Automobile Touring Alliance, which offers IDPs through the National Automobile Club.

3. Recommended items for touring

3.1. Riding Clothes

At Big Bike Tours we believe in safety and for us, a good tour is also a safe tour. Therefore we encourage the use of high-quality riding gear fully covering your body, possibly with protectors inside.  Also, to let you freely come to Japan without the weight of the riding gear, we provide the rental of a wide range of gears in many sizes.

The winning kit for the perfect rider:

Here you are the list of the items we suggest to bring with you for a wonderful and safe tour in Japan.

・Helmet (Mandatory by law)

・Winter Jacket (leather or Goretex best)

・Trousers (leather or Goretex best)

・Riding boots

・Winter gloves

・Rain gear

3.2. Documents

People not holding a Japanese driving license must bring below 3 fundamental items to legally and safely ride in Japan. We will require a copy of your documents while organizing booking operations for your motorcycle tour.

For more detailed information regarding the documents you need, based on your nationality, to safely ride in Japan, check out the first section at the top of this page: “1. License and other requirements”

Domestic Driving License

The first, fundamental, item to safely ride in Japan is your domestic license. Also, it must be not expired and valid for riding the vehicle of your choice in Japan.


The second important item to ride in Japan for people not resident in this country is the Passport. Bring it with you as a personal document and also as proof of your legal stay in Japan.

The time limit for a tourist visa in Japan varies from country to country, so please check your maximum permitted length of stay with the Japanese Embassy in your country.

International Driving Permit or Official Japanese Translation

Based on your driving license issuing country, to drive in Japan you will need an International Driving Permit based on the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic or an Official Translation of your Driving License made by the Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF).

To check which one of these two documents you will need based on your country, check out the first section at the top of this page: “1. License and other requirements” Riders coming from countries under the International Driving Permit have to make sure to have the stamp on the A section for motorcycle riding. Also, they must make sure to receive a 1949 Geneva Convention-based International Driving Permit, since there is also another International Driving Permit based on the 1968 Vienna Convention on road traffic, which is not accepted in Japan.

4. Traffic Rules

4.1. Left-hand traffic

Roads in Japan use a left-hand traffic system. Since right-turning cars may be waiting in the right-hand lane of a two-lane road, keep driving in the left lane if you do not intend to turn right. Don’t forget to use your indicators when changing lanes so that the cars behind know your intentions.

4.2. Right-turning vehicles must wait

Drivers are asked to give way to oncoming vehicles in principle when the driver intends to turn right. Make right turns after oncoming cars have traveled past or turned left. Priority is given to left turns in Japan. There are no rules regarding giving way to right-turning cars.

3.3. Never fail to stop when a traffic light is red

Watch the traffic light in front carefully and do not start to move before the traffic light turns green. Traffic lights in Japan are located on the front side of intersections and you must stop your motorcycle rather far.

Watch the traffic light in front carefully and do not start to move before the traffic light turns green. Traffic lights in Japan are located on the front side of intersections and you must stop your motorcycle rather far.

Bring your motorcycle to a complete stop at stop signs and in front of train crossings.

4.4. Obey arrow traffic lights.

When the traffic light is red, all cars must in principle stop. However, where there are arrow traffic lights provided below or at the side of the traffic lights, you may turn in the direction the arrow points when it is green.
Right-turn arrow traffic lights are the most prevalent. When a right-turning arrow is shown, turn quickly while paying full attention to oncoming vehicles. Many intersections where this type of traffic light is provided have right-turn-only lanes.

4.5. Always pay attention to speed limits.

Speed limits are set at 30-50km/h in urban areas and 40-60km/h in the suburbs and on major roads. The speed limit is normally set at 70-100km/h on expressways.

4.6. Pay attention to the no-overtaking zones

4.7. Never drink and drive

It is now considered common sense not to drive a car under the influence of alcohol. It is the same in Japan, however, enforcement of the law and penalties for breaking it are stricter here. If alcohol is detected by a breath test, you will be penalized with imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to 500,000 yen. Even more severe penalties are imposed for driving while intoxicated. In Japan, drivers who refuse to take a breath test are also punished. Sober passengers who ride together with a drunken driver and those who encourage a driver to drink will also be punished. Never drink and drive.

4.8. Traffic Signals


You must stop before the stop line (or before the intersection when there is no stop line) at an intersection with a Stop sign, and yield to vehicles traveling on the crossing road.


Day 1. Tokyo, Arrival

Day 2. Tokyo – Lake Kawaguchi (103 km)

Day 3. Lake Kawaguchi – Gero Hot Springs (326 km)

Day 4. Gero – Kyoto (220 km)

Day 5. Rest Day in Kyoto

Day 6. Kyoto – Himeji (131 km)

Day 7. Himeji – Hiroshima (234 km)

Day 8. Rest Day in Hiroshima

Day 9. Hiroshima – Kita Kyushu (222 km)

Day 10. Kita Kyushu – Beppu Hot Springs (111 km)

Day 11. Beppu Hot Springs – Kumamoto (140 km)

Day 12. Kumamoto – Fukuoka (120 km)

Day 13. Fukuoka – Masuda (250 km)

Day 14. Masuda – Tottori (280 km)

Day 15. Tottori – Fukui (300 km)

Day 16. Fukui – Nanao (160 km)

Day 17. Nanao – Hirayu (170 km)

Day 18. Hirayu – Kusatsu (200 km)

Day 19. Kusatsu – Nikko (170 km)

Day 20. Nikko – Tokyo (180 km)

Day 21. Tokyo, Departure

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Rider in a single double-bedded room
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Pillion in shared double or twin-bedded room
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single room surcharge (optional)
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