Japan by Bicycle

Day 43 - Celebrations at the finish line, Cape Sata. (Photo by Andrew Marston)
Day 43 - Celebrations at the finish line, Cape Sata. (Photo by Andrew Marston)

Japan by Bicycle

by: Andrew Marston | .
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: June 01, 2013

After living in Fukuoka for over two years teaching English from 2009 to 2011, Andrew Marston decided it was time to return home to the USA. But before he went, he had one thing on his bucket list left to do: cycle the length of Japan end-to-end. About a month before he and his two teammates were set to start pedaling, the 3.11 earthquake hit. Undeterred, the team decided not only to go ahead with the trip, but to turn it into a relief aid fundraiser. Their goal was to raise $10,000. By the time they reached the finish line on day 43, over $13,500 had been given.

Their route trip stretch 3500 km and wound through many incredible destinations in Japan such as Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, the Japanese Alps, the beautiful NW coast, and the plains of Hokkaido.

Recently, the trip was made into a documentary titled “Japan by Bicycle” which has just been released. You can view the 60 trailer embedded above. To see the full Japan by Bicycle film and download the 300 page eBook for free, visit the trip’s web site at JapanByBicycle.com.

Here are few interesting stats from the trip:

Total distance from start to finish line: 3518 km
Hours pedaling: 175 hours 1 minute (according to trip odometer)
Days taken: 43

Final Crash Count
Andrew: 4
Scott: 3
Dylan: Zero!

Total Damage to Cycles
Andrew: 9 broken spokes, rear wheel completely replaced on Day 19, front fork bent in Hokkaido car accident on Day 40, frequent break and gear tuning
Scott: Minor tune-ups and wheel truing
Dylan: taco’ed front wheel on Day 19, 6 flat tires, tune-ups

Number of Bikes Shops Visited for Repairs
Five (Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Fukuyama, “Cycle Shop Tomato”
in Himeiji, and “Attack Niigata Cycle Shop” in Niigata)

Top 3 Best Views
• Nagasaki Omura Bay coastline on Day 6
• Mt. Fuji from the Kasai’s house after the typhoon passed on Day 30
• Northern Alps from Hakuba, Nagano on Day 32

Total Nights Camping
25. Dylan had 26 since he camped every night on his solo trek of Shikoku.

Most Nights Camped In-A-Row
Five. From the first night on Yakushima through the second night after the start line. Dylan also camped five nights in-ar-ow because of his Shikoku detour.

Top 3 Coolest Campsites
• On a beach on Day 2
• Under a bridge near Okayama on Day 16
• In a real-deal bamboo forest on Day 24

Worst Night Camping
All three of us in Scott’s tent in a parking spot in Nagasaki Public Park on Day 5

Most Comfortable Campsite
The Watanabe’s front lawn on Day 33

Standout Meals
• Treated to dinner at the Hiwatashi’s restaurant on Day 3
• Okonomiyaki in Nara by Ohashi Jun-san on Day 23
• Pizza buffet in Nagoya on Day 25
• Takaaki Yatsunagi-san’s traditional Japanese feast on Day 36
• Eating shio ramen in Hokkaido and then being invited to sleep in the ramen shop on Day 42
• Too many to list...

Longest Distance Covered in One Day
222 km from Nagoya to Fuji in about 10 hours of pedal time on Day 27

Most Difficult Sections to Cycle
• The 20 km of hills leading up to the start line at Cape Sata on Day 1. Not only did we have to bike this section twice to get to and from the Cape, we were also still out of shape.
• Mt. Ikoma between Osaka and Nara on Day 23. We spent three exhausting hours pushing our cycles
up 5 km of the steepest grade road on the whole trip.
• The last 20 km to Fuji in the torrential rain of a typhoon after midnight on Day 27 (technically Day 28)

Prefectures Visited
22 (24 for Dylan because of his Shikoku)

Click here to view the digest of Japan by Bicycle