I was a little coy last time about what we’re planning for this trip. In case it wasn’t clear: our goal is to take a biking/camping trip through as much of Japan as we can, south to north. As of right now, we’re intending to start in Fukuoka and end up in Wakkanai.

So first, the obvious: it’s a really long distance, especially for a couple of people who have very little experience (read “none”) with bicycle touring. At the risk of sounding naive, that’s one of the things that we’re finding very motivating. Yes, it’s going to be difficult, and tiring, and stressful, and hot, and cold, and everything else that goes along with long trips and living on a budget. But we will also have a chance to experience the country in a way that very few people can. For me, there is something about riding on a bicycle that gives a wonderful feeling of intimacy with my surroundings. I have the freedom to stop at any time to take pictures, or to explore a roadside attraction, or to buy fruit from a local farmer. The last time I lived in Japan, I felt a little isolated and overwhelmed; this time, I’m looking forward to really exploring and learning about everything I missed before.

Google maps puts the entire trip at about 2,500 km (1,600 miles), but I suspect it will be quite a bit longer on the roads we’ll be taking. I’ve been working on a detailed route (which I will post here when available) that follows smaller–and more winding–prefectural roads instead of the major highways.

In any case, I have to admit that even the rough estimate of 1,600 miles is very intimidating. I think it’s time to actually figure out what this distance means in terms of miles per day and (more importantly) our travel budget.