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Cycle trip Korea & Japan Autumn 2015

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Cycle trip Korea & Japan Autumn 2015


I'm planning a trip starting around mid-August (though I'm flexible on this) from Seoul to Busan via the 4 rivers cycle paths and then across to Japan to Sakaiminato, Shimonoseki or Fukuoka. I haven't planned all aspects yet and I am wondering about heading further south too to the islands around Okinawa...

I do have some experience of cycling in Japan - I did a 3-month trip from Hokkaido to Kyushu in 2011 - and, though I do like cycling alone sometimes, it can get quite lonely so I'm wondering if there's anyone out there who would like to hook up with me for part or all of the tour.

I'll be setting off from the UK - provisionally around 19th August.

I'm a 51 year old friendly guy not a bike fanatic and not fit either, so I'll want to take the early stages slow and I have no interest in setting records - 60-100 kms a day is more than enough for me, and if a nice place presents itself then less.

Hope to hear from you...


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korea japan

hi Mark
fantastic idea
a bit more info
your budjet including flights
are you in muscat or uk at the moment? could do a ride together in scotland to feel if we get on...
catherine and dave

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Hi Catherine and Dave,My

Hi Catherine and Dave,

My itinerary is still at the planning stage and depends on work (I'll be taking a between jobs mini-sabbatical, but how long that is depends what jobs present themselves before or while I'm actually on the trip). Initially, I'm planning from mid-August to mid-December, and the Seoul-Busan bit is pretty straightforward. I haven't really planned Japan, and I'm a bit torn... I definitely want to cycle the north coast of the area of what I think is called Chugoku (that's the coast facing Korea, with Hiroshima & Okayama on the south side beside the Seto Inland Sea - so I'm thinking of a crossing from Busan to Sakaiminato, and I would quite like to return to Kyoto (which would probably mean hostel or hotel for the duration), but on the other hand there's also Kyushu and even going further south to explore Okinawa and the islands around it (the idea for this comes from one of Josie Dew's Japan cycling books - I can't remember which of the two).

My budget is as cheap as possible, so I want to camp wherever possible and from what I see of the Korean 4 rivers site I think that would be fairly easy. My experience in Japan is also that in rural areas 'wild' camping is very easy especially if the day ends at a location with an onsen, which soothes legs and takes care of ablutions (and electronics charging). I guess my travel budget is between 10 and 30 pounds or more depending on accommodation and location (beers and good meals will be required from time to time), but my plan is to rough it most of the time as it's more fun.

My flight research has thrown up prices of between 525 and 700ish pounds for open jaw flights - London-Seoul and then Osaka-London. Cheapest option is Qatar Airlines. Finnair may also be competitive, but their multi-city (open jaw) website didn't process my info so I'm waiting to hear from their customer service.

Other gulf airlines (e.g. Etihad) are similar to Qatar, but I haven't checked them... I thought 525 was a great price so left it at that (though I have yet to book). BA has the advantage that London-Seoul is direct (much shorter than via Qatar), but the price difference is significant...

BA and Qatar do not charge extra for bikes. For BA, it's as long as the weight is within 23kg, for Qatar it seems an additional 10kg is offered though box dimensions are not given and I'm waiting to hear from them on that. Finnair charge 75 euros extra each way I believe.

I'm in Muscat until I leave my current job in mid-July, and though Scotland sounds great, I will be tied up in West Dorset pretty much until I leave for Korea.

(Sorry that my flight info is London based since I see you live in Glasgow).

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safety in Korea, Japan and CHINA

if i may add ... at least in KOREA AND JAPAN, it is very safe, no banditos, no theft. nothing

in Korea and Japan (never been there but ear it) you can leave your wallet on the street, nobody will take it !


Why dont you bike to CHINA too ? very safe too... camera everywhere ... nice food and people very hospitable.
however, most probably, in large cities, if you leave your wallet or bike un locked at night, then in the morning you will find TWO ( italian joke )


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thanks for the inspiration

I ll cycle korea very soon and will keep you informed
any particular questions to help your trip

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Hi from Tasmania

Hi Mark
I think I have contacted you before re cycling in Oman- I didn't end up going , it sounded a little too hot. Anyway we are also going to be cycling in Korea and Japan in the Autumn. We will probably start in Japan at the end of August for only a few weeks before going to Korea. I am going with my husband, sister, brother in law and possibly daughter. However the others will all desert me by mid Oct, while I have no compelling reason to return home so may keep cycling. While I am OK about travelling alone my preference is to travel with others. Keep in touch and let me know when your plans firm up and maybe we can meet up somewhere. We are also in our 50s , friendly and not fit (I have just come back from a road trip to Northern Australia, nice but too much sitting) We are also intending to take camping gear.

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Japan groups for cyclists and FREE CAMPING AND FREE HOT SPRINGS

This is James Oda the administrator of two cycling touring groups in Japan, I hope you can find a lot of useful information and friends.

1) "Bicycle touring, hiking and friends in Japan"

You can find practical advice and tips for life on the road and mountains in Japan but also good friends.
Take a look in the "files" folder, we have a Survival Japanese for cyclist (Japanese, English, German and Spanish), and a lot of downloadable files for different spots.

2) "Free Camping and Hot Springs in Japan"

I'm building a Guide Map of Totally Free Camping and free Hot Springs (Onsen) all over Japan, the information is in English (Already finished Hokkaido with 100 campsites and 20 free hot springs), and also contains photos, locations, contacts, warnings of bear in zones, facilities, there are many Free Camping with FREE LOG HOUSES!!

Will keep uploading to get the full map that will contain over 500 sites, if you are already in Japan and need some specific place PM on facebook (

I hope that helps!

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Thank you!

Hi James,

Thank you very much for the links. You have the makings of a very useful book here.

I am setting off from Shimonoseki tomorrow up Nihonkai towards Hagi and then east. If I have any contributions to make to your page, I will do so.

Thanks again,


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You're welcome!

Hi Mark,

I found a nice free of charge camping ground with coin shower between Shimonoseki and Hagi (Oda Oohama Camp Ground) in a peninsula NW of Nagato. Already posted on the map. pls. take look.

Please let us know if you find some other place.
Safe ride and enjoy!

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Sounds like a nice place though I am generally aiming to ride onsen town to onsen town and was initially planning to stick to the areas nearby the 191. However, it's not so far from the 191. Tomorrow I plan to visit the onsen at Hotel Nishi-Nigato resort and hopefully wild camp somewhere nearby. Satellite images give the impression there's a lot of ground near the resort where I could pitch the tent, but if it doesn't prove promising Oohama is just another 23kms further on.

Do you know of any free camping places near Hagi?

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Sorry, there are a few in

Sorry, there are a few in Yamaguchi but I couldn't find any free campsite near Hagi.

Good luck and tail winds!

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I am flying to Seoul this

I am flying to Seoul this Monday to tour Korea and Japan so might cross paths at some stage. I will definitely be referring to the free campsite page on FB

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Safe travels... In Japan it's pretty easy to wild camp. I head onsen town to onsen town, look for a quiet place to camp, pitch my tent and head off to the onsen.

I am heading for Okinawa in a week.

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Hello Mark, Me and my wife

Hello Mark,

Me and my wife are doing similar tour in October 2015. We will start from Seoul to Busan and then crossing to Fukuoka...or Osaka depending how tired we are. We plan to finish in Tokyo sometime in November.

We plan to camp as much as possible. If you don't mind maybe you can share some of your experience to us or give us some advice.

Thank you.

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I am 2 days out of Busan and

I am 2 days out of Busan and will be heading to Japan in 4 or 5 days .Anybody fancy meeting up drop me a line

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Hi Andrew,

I'll be heading for Okinawa then... Enjoy the rest of your trip.

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Hi Andrew
I remember that you were planning to ride a bike in japan this year.
I cam back from USA trip and I m in Tokyo now. I m thinking to cycle around Japan next week- 25th October just for a week.
Where are you now and are you still looking for a companion?


I m sorry. This is 2nd time that I m using this website. I don't know how to use it exactly. Did I posted in wrong place?

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