Melissa and I flew with our bicycles to Narita at the end of July 2009. We battled with the train system to get to Shiroishi where we stayed with Nobuo and Setsuko at Minami Zao. We enjoyed learning about the many vegetables they grow in the mountains. On our bikes we cycled to Sendai then took the ferry to Tomakomai. We toured around Hokkaido as far north as Shiretoko.
We stayed in campgrounds and met many very friendly local people and Japanese cycle and motorcycle tourists. We hiked up Mountains, Tarumaesan, Tokachidake, Meakan and enjoyed the many hot springs. I'm originally from Rotorua in New Zealand so the hotsprings and volcanic landscapes were very much like home for me. Once we got to Kushiro we stayed with Hidenobu and Mikiko and enjoyed playing with their three year old daughter, Lisako. We caught the train back to Tomakamai and Ferry to O-arai then a bus into Shinjuku. We stayed in Nakano with Nobuaki, Rosmarie and Yuki and they showed us a taste of life living in a busy part of Tokyo.
We were very surprised by how quite and village-like parts of Nakano are once you get off the main road. We really enjoyed our adventures in Japan.
We think it must be the best country in the world to cycle tour in as it is safe with good camping and excellent smooth roads. All the people we met were very helpful and friendly and the drivers were considerate to cyclists. We have not hosted any Japanese Servas travelers at our home in New Zealand yet but we look forward to doing so soon!