I have ridden 50,000km around Japan. Not a huge figure by some reckoning but much more than I envisioned considering I only do a few rides each year.

You could travel around the world to try see the diversity of scenery that exists in Japan yet many visitors are only taking selfies on the zebra crossings in Shibuya.
Perhaps it is because I never see tourist material promoting the places I have been. It is always about food and onsens, the two national obsessions.
I selfishly hope it stays like this a bit longer. Tourists are starting to move beyond the main cities but get on a motorbike and you leave all international tourism behind which leads to wonderful experiences and sights from another time.
My favourite prefectures in Japan to experience this are Tottori, Shimane and Kagoshima. Nagasaki’s remote islands also offer this and some of the best scenery in the country. But everywhere has so many great sights.
Living here is not all roses but that is another subject altogether which doesn’t concern a visitor.


I am surprised to have reached this milestone riding Japan and on a FJR1300. It was not a good match for me initially.
Ownership costs have been very low. 50,000km and no valve adjustment needed. Servicing has been change oil and filter each year. Plugs changed once. Change shaft drive oil. Changed brake fluids and blow out the air filter every year.
It achieves 4.5 litre per 100km on regular fuel that computer is set for. Paint and plastics still look new despite just getting a wash twice a year and no other treatment. Build quality and reliability are exemplary.

Best characteristic is the comfort. It is incredibly easy to ride all day. The superb aerodynamics, all day comfortable seat and an engine with ample bottom end power where I do all my riding. Huge fuel range means fill up and forget each day. Electronic cruise control rounds out the setup that you can hop on and ride 500km like it was 100km.

The weak point is the weight. Particularly the centre of gravity that is too high while the fuel is above 1/2 full however it remains a compelling GT class bike. I got mine for half the cost of a BMW R1200RT. The money saved has paid for all my costs to own and tour 50,000km here, food hotels the lot. The money saved on servicing and premium fuel will pay a good portion of next years touring. It probably has little residual value now here so to change would mean spending a lot of money which I’d rather use to ride.

If I was starting over here I would buy a smaller bike… but then maybe not. After all this one has taken me further than I imagined.


You can read a detailed long term review of the Yamaha FJR1300 that I have updated many times here.

Interested in riding Japan – my guide to assist doing this is here.


  1. Wow, that is a lot of km in Japan. You have seen many vistas with that kind of mileage, and I appreciate that you share your photos and trip reports.

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