I made this map just as a record of my riding here not intending it to be a guide for others but after some requests decided to share it and every ride I add a little more – but it is by no means complete and probably only has 1/2 the actual nice rides listed.
If you open the map on to a new tab/page then you can see the map legend and easy pan and zoom. (click the icon on top right corner of map)
As you can see there are good roads everywhere and you can’t go too wrong no matter where you choose. For me the best riding I have experienced is in Kyushu and Shikoku which have a high concentration of great roads, grand scenery and less traffic, particularly in the south of each of these islands. I also like Chugoku region in Autumn.
To the north I like Tokoku region also. In between you will find many good roads on the map but there is also a high population density. Not to say you cannot enjoy those great roads but the metropolis of Tokyo gives this part of Japan a different feel. If flying into Tokyo you may not have the luxury to explore further afield but I would highly recommend touring from another city. If taking a bullet train ride then start and end you ride in Osaka instead, terrific riding from there in Nara and Mie can be enjoyed even with only 2-3 days available.
Hokkaido is definitely not the best riding in Japan despite what you might read. It is mostly flat and straight roads and looks much like the farm lands of Europe or USA. However for Japanese this is appealing because wide roads and open country side is rare elsewhere and there are less cars so it is very relaxing place to ride. Go there by all means but the south is better.
I have written much more detail about how and when to ride Japan in my previous article that tries to cover everything you need to know to ride here but if you don’t read that then my top 3 tips are plan to visit in good season, plan for under 300km a day and avoid riding in any cities or big towns.