Japan: A Rider’s Secret Paradise

Japan: A Rider’s Secret Paradise
Believe it or not, being a motorcycle journalist is hard work. Especially under trying circumstances. There are rarely second chances. It’s run and gun, get the moment now—or never. I had the time of my life working this project in Japan, and now, here on the plane, I’m trying to bring my pulse back down to its resting heart rate.

When asked last year to be the photographer for a MotoQuest tour in Japan, I jumped at the opportunity and immediately cleared my calendar of pesky things like work and responsibilities. Those things will always be around, but a request to ride and shoot photos in Japan is not a phone call I get every day.

Meet & Greet in Hokkaido

The tour is located out of Sapporo on Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands. The name may ring a bell for beer drinkers, but for motorcycle enthusiasts it is the ultimate trifecta of empty roads, hospitality, and stunning beauty. Japan has a lot of avid motorcyclists, and this is the place they ferry their bikes to when they can get away from work. Phillip Freeman, the founder of MotoQuest, lived on Hokkaido for two years as a JET (Japan Exchange Teacher) participant. He spent his free time exploring and mapping routes, so he knows the region like the back of his hand. He also understands the culture in ways that visitors only glimpse. He has put in his time here and it really shows in this tour.