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How to ship a motorbike from one city to another in Japan?


6 May 2015
Hi All,

This is just an idea I'm mulling. I'm thinking it would be nice to visit other cities in Japan, but with my motorbike. I could get an experience of the city that few foreigners ever get. For example, cruising over the sky ways in Tokyo, or enjoying the scenery of Akita.

So what I'd like to know is: are there any 'motorbike moving' companies in Japan, or more general shipping services that could move a motorbike from one city to another? The idea would be that I ship the motorbike from City A to City B in advance, then travel to City B by plane and collect my motorbike (and park it somewhere, perhaps at a hotel equipped with parking), then enjoy riding around there, then send the motorbike back by the same shipping method, and then fly back. It seems that most places either don't have motorbike rental (in contrast to say Thailand), or if they do it's very expensive, so this idea wouldn't be that uneconomical by comparison.



You may find it cheaper to rent than to pay round-trip shipping.

You're on holiday and this is a small country with extensive expressways. Why not just ride where you want to go? If you've seen one Japanese city then you've seen every Japanese city, at least as far as tooling around on a motorcycle is concerned. If you just want an economical way to reach certain destinations of interest within each city, I can't help but think taking taxis would be cheaper than shipping your bike. You could buy a rather nice bicycle in each city and abandon it when you leave town and probably still come out cheaper, with no less to show for the expenditure, and save yourself the hassle of arranging shipping. You could even ship the bicycle if you wanted, and for a fraction of the price.

All the good, pleasant, enjoyable motorcycle riding in Japan is, in my opinion, to be had between cities out in the mountains or in the countryside. I can't imagine paying bike rental rates to ride around in town. I've had more fun at the dentist.

What kind of bike do you have?
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Sounds like an unnecessarily expensive venture. Japan has such good public transportation. What would you hope to gain by riding a motorbike (scooter? motorcycle?) in a city? Depending on the size of the "bike", you might also have to invest in an international driver's permit and learn how to drive on the left.

What's with the "from Tokyo" in your profile, anyway?
He already has the bike and the license taken care of.

I couldn't get the site I linked above to work on my iPad, but I did manage to get an estimate from good old Kuroneko. From Tokyo to Akita for a bike between 100~699cc would be 62,100 yen.

Here's the link to their online fee calculator:

車・バイクの輸送 料金のお見積もりツ?|ツ?ヤマトホームコンビニエンス

Going by expressway would cost about 9,500 in tolls (one-way). It is 570km (estimated 6 hours and 19 minutes drive time) and there are 27 service or parking areas along the way.

IC名を入力して検索 | 高速料金・ルート検索 | 料金・ルート・交通情報 | ドラぷら

I don't know what it costs to fly from Tokyo to Akita or, including time to/from/in the airport, how long it takes to do the trip by air. But for me I doubt the time saved compared to just riding my bike there myself is worth the cost of airfare plus 124,000 yen for shipping the bike there and back home again. Maybe the other company is cheaper; they ship depot-to-depot while Kuroneko is door-to-door. Then again, they have a limited number of depots and you have to figure your time, expense, and aggravation at getting your bike to a depot and picking it up from a depot, unless you want to pay them out the yinyang for door-to-door service as well.

And if you go to Akita, you really must go see the remains of the old Buddhist priests who mummified themselves while they were still alive! There are several of them up there.
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The idea proposed by @Mike Cash seems like an amazing experience. If I were in a position to do it, I would. Hopefully I will be someday soon.

After seeing a thread here about homestay vs renting an apartment for a young person in school, I'm doing a month homestay with a Japanese family now. I got over my myriad objections (too old, too much work, etc.) and decided if not now, when?

I highly recommend you take this opportunity to ride through Japan. In fact, I highly recommend you take any opportunity offered by life for an experience which may never present itself again.

I can just imagine winding my way through the countryside as the Sakura petals flit in my slipstream.

Good luck in your journey, whatever you decide.
I agree with Mike that if your destinations are cities especially, it's better to use the usual transportation modes especially if they are cities well-served by train. However if you are going to out-of-the-way places, a bike trip is great. I had some biker buddies and we'd take day or weekend trips from Tokyo to places like Nikko, Sado-gashima, Matsumoto. Of course the roads getting there was half of the experience. There are many scenic, twisty roads in Japan.

While I understand the sentiment to ship a bike, as far as I know it's not practical. If you have time, I suggest taking a few extended trips. For example a week to make your way to Kumamoto and back. My last trip before moving back to the U.S. was a solo ride from Tokyo, through Tohoku, Hokkaido, back down Japan-sea side, to Kyushu and back around via Shikoku. I did it in 3.5 weeks. I recommend targeting places not served by shinkansen. Hokkaido especially has some great roads and destinations. Plus lots of bike touring there leading to a sense of biking camaraderie you don't see elsewhere in Japan as well conveniences such as hostel-style lodging catering to bikers. Motorcycling across Japan are some of my best memories.
Yeah it clearly isn't a feasible idea. Thanks for the info and feedback guys. Some of the ideas of extended bike trips sound tempting, even though Akita is pretty far from where I currently am. I'd have to get my Japanese up so I could converse with people in the smaller cities on the way, otherwise it would be too lonely for me to enjoy. Alternatively just getting the bicycle might suffice there. For Tokyo it was just the skyways that I like. There's just something so awesome and hi-tech feeling about driving between (or through) skyscrapers through a massive city on a bike that I really like.
I'd have to get my Japanese up so I could converse with people in the smaller cities on the way

Most Japanese people would find themselves having trouble conversing with people in lots of places in Japan. If you wait for your Japanese to get good enough to converse with people throughout the country, you ain't never going to go anywhere. Don't let that be a factor.

From a car or a bike, most of what you'll see on the expressway in Tokyo is concrete retaining walls; the view is awful. Try the open-top tour bus operated by Hato Bus instead.

What kind of bike do you have?
From a car or a bike, most of what you'll see on the expressway in Tokyo is concrete retaining walls; the view is awful. Try the open-top tour bus operated by Hato Bus instead.
He's already in Tokyo so I assume he knows what riding the 首都高 is like. I agree with him -- it can be pretty cool especially late at night when it's not crowded.
I could get an experience of the city that few foreigners ever get. For example, cruising over the sky ways in Tokyo,

I assume he knows what riding the 首都高 is like

It sounds to me like hasn't been on it yet.

I've spent entirely too much of my life on the blasted thing for it to be the least bit appealing.
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Something like this is probably what he has in mind. On a bike it's like a video game but in real life.
Something like this is probably what he has in mind. On a bike it's like a video game but in real life.

I've also seen too many wrecks up there to consider it anything remotely like entertainment or a place to be enjoying the view.... especially on a bike.
As others have stated, it is extremely expensive to ship a bike and much better to ride. The longest trip I've done in Japan all included was 13 days (minus a few days at the pubs (Sapporo) when I wasn't driving) was 5040 Km. (yes I drove up to and around Hokkaido)

The drive between the cities is the fun part of the ride. Expressways are fine if you're in a hurry, but I preferred the local roads. Not only are they cheaper but there's much more to see especially if you get into the countryside.

In my experience riding in Japan: On a holiday, generally following the speed limits on a motorcycle if you move up on the side at traffics lights and so on you can average about 40 km/h (that is not the driving speed but how much distance you can actually cover through a day so if you do a 10 hour riding day you can cover 400 km on local roads on holidays)

Also if you look like you're touring, you will find other riders extremely helpful. I did a lot of solo travel before I could speak J well. So many times I was invited to join other riding groups while on the road, invited into campfires and invited to join whatever activities are going at a campsite by other riders. To me this is the great thing about traveling around Japan by motorcycle. Travel and stay at a campsite meet other people they'll show you some cool places that you might not have known about. Real Bob Dylan stuff, like a Rolling Stone....

On weekends, I would usually throw a tent sleeping bag and a folding wire rack for barbecue on my bike and drive three or 400 km. No particular destination (pre-smartphone days) At night find a place to camp near where I wanted to be. Then in the daytime go touring about meet some people get a good Idea of where I wanted to go that night, stay at a capsule hotel, or at a campsite near the city and taxi in and have a good time in the evening. The next day back on the road, and then make my way home by - Sunday evening good to go to work on Monday
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