Here’s what has proven to be a basic round-up of what makes for a better ride experience through peace of mind

  • A well serviced bike – with good tyres, chain and a regular service record
  • Shaken/ Insurance papers
  • Crash worthy riding gearif you aren’t confident what you’re wearing will save you then you need better
  • Smartphone brilliant for finding hidden gems, taking timeless photos and whatever the app market can offer. *But most importantly, it has a phone for emergencies.
  • Bike toolkit – check to see it’s all there and know what it ALL does
  • Rider maintenance kit – The stuff you need to keep YOU in the mood. Sunscreen, lipbalm, eyedrops, pain-subduers, allergy meds, tissues, helmet-screen cleaners, pen, paper etc..
  • Extra insurance – not just the jibaiseki(basic 3rd party cover) but also at least a hefty ni-ni hoken(should cover damage to others, others’ property up to 30million yennies and cover for your personal injury in case of a self-caused accident)
  • Puncture repair kit – available at all major parts shops
  • Touring Mapple

In addition, these’ll help

  • Navigation unit
  • Smartphone
  • Medical kit for minor injuries
  • Air pump for multiple puncture repairs
  • Lube for chain etc
  • Spare gloves
  • ETC


Do you want to get out and explore or maybe you are running out of new places and have no idea where to go. 1st stop should be a large book shop or Amazon

Although there are a few different touring volumes around, for purely map based info with easy to read icons the Touring Mapple series stands out as a foreign rider’s favorite.

It comes in a couple of different shapes and sizes so make sure you get the one that suits your needs.

Comes in 2 formats, the original and slightly smaller book style or the much more useful ring bound Mapple R.

Simple Book Style

Ring Bound – Touring Mapple R

Things to consider –

Will it fit your tank bag? the original little book style fits almost any tankbag. The larger R series with ring binding doesn’t due simply to being bigger.

Do you need water resistant? The R has a quasi-water resistant coating that’s tolerant of drizzle and dries out well. But be careful as it won’t take highlighted ink if you you want to mark where you’ve been.

Do you want to see it on the roll? Putting it in your tank bag and being able to look down at it through a clear top is the obvious choice. The original, having a book spine is not so good for this as the spine doesn’t like to be bent back. Where as the R, with ring binders, does the job.

Where are you going to tour? There are seven volumes of the Touring Mapple for the following regions: Kyushu-Okinawa, Chugoku-Shikoku, Kansai, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tohoku, Hokkaido Hokuriku-Chubu.

Inside you’ll find a large fold out map to give you a large scale perspective the individual pages can’t.

On the back of the first page there is an an icon key(see image below for for handy translations).

In the back there is a distance calculator(highway only), ferry details and camp/onsen details.
But it is mostly used for these things:
Road features: highlighted recommended roads, bypasses, dirt road sections, toll charges and Road Stations (michi-no-eki).
Services: Gas stands, Restaurants, Convenience stores, fast food, onsen and public toilets.
Accomodations: Recommended hotels, youth hostels, Onsen Inn and campsites.
And much more . . … .
just check out this translation of the icon key page

translation courtesy of Bambi


      1. Hi Kazu. Most popular is a Garmin navigation unit. For smartphones, iPhone users seem to prefer MotionX. For Android, OsmAnd and Locus.
        Personally, I use a Garmin. I tried using a few smartphone applications but found the phone to be lacking in reliability and the apps to be lacking functions.


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