|7940kms... according to Google Maps|
I've done most of the north end of the main island in a car, and traveled as far south as Kyoto by train, but the motorbike offers a new way to see the archipelago.
Google maps suggests that this can be done in 6 days and 16 hours, that's at a continuous average of 50kms/hr 24 hours a day. Assuming we'd want to sleep and eat, the old two to three tanks a day might be the way to go.
At two tanks a day (about 600kms depending on the bike), we'd be back to Narita in just over thirteen days. Call it two weeks of steady riding.
Being what it is (a volcanic island chain), there aren't many straight roads in Japan, especially if we want to stick to the coast.
|When you're riding around volcanoes,|
the roads get creative
Late summer would avoid the tsuyu (rainy season), so landing in Narita in the last week of August, then head north, do Hokkaido, then down the Japan sea coast to the south end of Honshu, a long ferry ride across the East China Sea to Okinawa, two days circumnavigating the island before taking a slow boat back to Honshu. The last leg would be up the Pacific side of Honshu, through Kyoto and Tokyo and back to Narita.
It'd be nice to do the trip while riding the Japanese bike industry. Split into four sections, we could ride Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha for a quarter of the trip each. That way we could meet up with various clubs and groups without being manufacturer specific. Riding all four big Japanese manufacturers also lets us experience the fantastic bikes Japan makes.
Two weeks, some serious mileage, from a tropical 26 degrees above the equator in Okinawa (roughly in line with central India) to a northern 45.5 degrees at the top of Hokkaido (right next door to Russia), we'll experience everything from palm trees to snow. It is entirely possible to climb five thousand feet if we're working our way through mountainous areas and wind up at sea level again by night fall.
Two weeks would be intense, but that's kind of the point. The route picked out avoids any repeated tarmac other than driving on and off one ferry. Every mile would be new as we circumnavigate these beautiful islands.