Motorcycle Rentals in Japan; Ride through the Country Roads


The train railway system is the primary way of transportation in Japan, but it is not the only one. Renting a motorcycle will create a unique journey like no other. Travel through the roads of Japan by motorbike; decide where to go and pave your travel journey.

Why rent a motorcycle in Japan?

Japan is known for its incredible railway system that connects cities. However, there are still places this mode of transportation cannot reach, primarily rural areas. The country’s geography is dominated by forest and rugged, mountainous land, which makes it very difficult to construct railways in certain areas. There are still buses that can take you to those rural destinations, but what fun can riding a bus bring? Another alternative is using or renting a car. You have to be careful though, as Japanese roads are known to be quite narrow. So what now? You can try exploring Japan by motorcycle. 

Riding a motorcycle in Japan is a new, surreal experience. With its rolling lands, beautiful coastal lines, mountainous trails with luscious green forests and superb roads, riding across the country is an absolute treat for everyone wanting to evade the hustling and bustling life of the city. The locals are hospitable, friendly, and very willing to give a helping hand if you encounter troubles in your journey. 

Compared to riding a bus with a schedule, you can decide where to go. Go to places with few people or destinations still unknown to tourists. One example of the latter is a trip to Shikoku, Japan’s 4th largest island. Coast beside the shorelines where you could hear the sound of crashing waves; marvel at the castles like Shikoku Castle, Imabari Castle, Matsuyama Castle, and many more that give a quaint vibe- like a feeling from the past, and finally feast from the best seafood the country has to offer.  

Japanese riders often coin Hokkaido as Paradise.  The roads are long, straight, and flat. It is perfect as you cruise along the Furano area with its colorful plantation of flowers, further along, the area is the Oshinkoshin Waterfalls, which is included in the top 100 best waterfalls. Run along the marshy plains of Kushiro, witness national parks, lakes, and volcanoes across the scenic roads of the island.

If you want to rest between your rides, then Kyushu region is for you. Cruise the winding mountain roads like Yamanami Highway, or cross five bridges to an island at daylight; enjoy the rejuvenating waters of the Hot springs at nightfall- this course will surely relax your whole body. There are tons of places you could travel to in Japan, and the most scenic routes are best enjoyed riding a motorcycle.  

How to rent a motorcycle

Before you can rent your motorcycle, there are things you need to have. The most important is your International Driving Permit. Your national automobile association issues this. Please make sure that it is appropriately endorsed, check if driving a motorcycle is included.

If you have secured your international license, it is now time to rent your ride. There are plenty of rental shops in Tokyo, but starting your journey in the congested, jam-packed roads of Tokyo is pretty dull. Listed are some well known rental bike shops from Japan.

  • is a worldwide motorcycle rental platform that offers discounted deals on rentals. It is available in major cities in Japan.

  • Best Bike is a Japanese motorcycle share and rental service which delivers bikes to you.

  • Rental819 is Japan’s most famous motorcycle rental service, with more than 100 agencies across the country. There are stores in Tokyo that have English speaking staff.

  • Moto Tours Japan not only offers rentals but also travel packages and guided tours.

  • Japan Touring Service is a motorcycle dealership and rental service based in Okayama, which can also be a good starting point in your motorcycle adventure.

Bikes with 250-400cc are ample enough for the roads in Japan. Unfortunately, pricing is costly when it comes to rentals. Costs usually range from 10,000 to 20,000 yen/day, with terms ranging from 7 to 10 days on average. Policies on returning bikes vary between stores, so it depends on what has been agreed upon. Canvas between shops to find the bike suitable for your needs.

Things to remember

Japanese Road Rules and Regulations

  • Drivers and cyclists must keep to the left, while pedestrians should keep to the right side of the road.

  • Drivers must yield to pedestrians.

  • You must not drive under the influence of alcohol.

  • You must not exceed the allowed number of passengers or load.

  • While driving a vehicle, you must not use a cell phone or be distracted by the car navigation system.

  • Maximum speed limits for vehicles are shown on traffic signs and road markings. You must drive safely within the specified speed limits. 

  • When no signs or markings are indicating the speed limit:

    • Bikes with engine of up to 50cc- 30km/h speed limit; not allowed on expressways; no passengers allowed

    • Bikes with engine of 50cc up to 125cc- 50km/h speed limit or less; not allowed on expressways; may have a passenger

    • Bikes with engine of 125cc up to 400cc- 50km/h speed limit or less; allowed on expressways up to 80km/h; may have a passenger except on expressways

    • Bikes with engine of 400cc and over- 60km/h speed limit or less; allowed on expressways up to 80km/h; may have a passenger except on expressways

  • Helmets (of some form) are required for all classes and all passengers, with differing requirements according to class.

※Official Japan Automobile Association website, “Driving a Motor Vehicle in Japan”

Other Things to Remember

  • It would be best if you learned a bit of Japanese; it helps you converse with gas pump attendants when refueling. Also, familiarize yourself with terms related to refueling as not all gas stations have pump attendants nor any English information. 

  • On the date of your travel, check the weather & temperature. It will greatly affect your experience.

  • Always wear your helmet. Prepare a gear suitable for your riding condition.

  • Plan your routes accordingly. Road closures can be checked online. Never overestimate the distance that you can cover. Depending on the season, the night may fall early.

  • Be wary of navigation devices as it may give wrong directions when inside major cities. Check travel signs frequently to prevent getting lost.

An intimate way to experience Japan

Feel the breeze of the air, fall in love with the scenic routes, witness a wider view of the landscapes- traveling on a bike gives you a better connection to the place compared to riding a bus or a car. Whether you’re an enthusiast or just an average rider, exploring Japan on a motorcycle is an intimate experience. What are you waiting for? Grab your bikes and take the journey of a lifetime. This is an experience you will etch in your heart forever.


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