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Maps （Chizu, 地図）
"Road Atlas Japan"
"Road Atlas Japan" published by Shobunsha Publications,Inc(昭文社) , covers all over Japan, so this must be the best map for foreign cyclists.
This is the very atlas almost all Japanese riders are equipped with. It is very useful with telling not only distances, but also course conditions(paved or not), camping ground(Kyanpu-jo,キャンプ場), youth hostels, accommodations, Hot-springs(Onsen,温泉), view points, contour lines and so on. They are kept having a revisions so that contain up-to-date information.
Although it's written only in Japanese, it could be worth having even if you don't read texts. You could get necessary information from it's graphical icons as positional information which are interspersed all over the pages and a different color for each road condition.
You might want to get Touring Mapple while sitting in the comfort of your home, to use it as a data for planning a tour. Amazon.co.jp , of course they provide services mainly in Japanese, but also provide English pages for ordering transaction and accept a international shipping from Japan. If you'd like to purchase, follow these steps;
Topographic maps(chikeizu, 地形図) is also available in scale from 1/25,000 to 1/200,000 covering all over Japan. 1/200,000 scale is the best for most of us, and 1/50,000 is also good if you would like to go to a forestry road.
Remember that topographic maps are laid stress on figuring geographical features. As a result, for instance, the dotted lines on the maps which are drawn as mountain trails are quite unreliable and even 1/25,000 scale maps have poor depiction of center of the city. Though it's useful for general touring.
Web map of bike paths
The bike path(saikuringu roodo,サイクリングロード) in Japan, which is for the exclusive use of bicycle, is not sufficient in the sense that of both quality and quantity. Some routes are really like bike highway, but some are like a sidewalk or a gravel road.
Bike paths are developed by MILT(Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Government of Japan). Conceivably, their flash map could be of some use. A legend of the map is that; the solid line represents available route, the dotted line represents the route which is now under construction.
Web map written in Roman character
"MapFan Web" is free web-map services in Japan.
uploaded:01, 07, 2013
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