Step 11: Tips for Women- Travelling Alone or Not

On Feminine Hygeine, Toilets, Public Baths, Dudes and common ailments-
Please only read this section if you have the stomach for it. I would never print this in Japan.

  • Amazingly, tampons in Japan do not work well. Bring your own! If you find Supers in Japan, please take a picture of the box and send it to me.
  • Wind or heat driven dehydration, coupled with hours in the saddle can cause urinary tract infections in even the most fastidious females. Pop a couple of cranberry pills (that you've stowed in your first-aid kit) at the first sign of discomfort.

Toilet Awareness-
  • Japan is famous for its sophisticated toilets. Perhaps there is a heightened awareness of toilet going that you are not sensitive to. Toilet privacy is important to many Japanese women
  • You may experience a squat toilet. Straddle, squat, and face the hood.
  • Some campgrounds have pit toilets. Some, thankfully have pits with valves. Plop, drop, shut.
  • It seems like toilet paper is common everywhere in Hokkaido now, except for train stations. You can buy tissues for 10 yen.
  • Peeing in the wild? Please use a leaf.
Bathing in Public-
  • Most Japanese people don't openly criticize others, but the bath house seems to be the exception. It's apparently open season for bitchiness. Do it right every time, and you can avoid having a crabby naked woman in your face.
  • Don't let anyone in an o'furo or onsen see your tampon string.
  • Scrub yourself silly before you get into a bath, even if you see an old lady just splash water on herself. Better to double what the average person does. She's a pro and you are an amateur. You have to make them understand that the tan is not dirt.
  • Wash the thing you sat on, and the bowl you used to soap up, and move it all out of the way for the next person.
  • Have a small towel in tow, and take a cue from others as to how they use it. Every bath has its own way, and sometimes you can sit in the sauna without sitting on your towel, sometimes not.... Remember, you want to avoid confrontation, and have a nice easy time- maybe a conversation or two in the bath house.
  • Not one woman in Japan has shaved her pubic hair, so unless you want to make a statement, it might be best to go with the flow.
  • Rotenburo in Hokkaido can be mixed sex. It can be a bit racy for a woman to brave it alone, but it's not a problem. You can also wait until 9pm, when everyone is asleep.
  • * 'Sorosoro' is something you can say when you want to leave. That drunk guy is boring the heck out of you.... Say 'sorosoro' a couple of times slowly, and just back away. He saves face, understands you want to leave, and you get away.
  • * If someone invites you somewhere and you don't want to go, you can say it's 'chotto', or you're 'chotto'. It means- a little. You don't have to say that it's a little boring, or you feel a little like throwing up. It's a subtle way of saying no, and it works without hurting feelings.
<p>Hi Diane,</p><p>Found this as the top hit in <a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=bike+touring+in++japan" rel="nofollow">https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-insta...</a> . Congrats on being the #1 top hit...well deserved.</p><p>I've just finished my first tour, 12 weeks around eastern/northern europe. I'm considering Japan for my next trip (would be ~4 weeks). This was fascinating and informative. </p><p>FWIW, I've ended up using smart phone exclusively for navigation, which is probably more doable now than 5 years ago. I couldn't imagine not having it for mp3s and working around language barriers. But you have me persuaded, learning some conversational amount of Japanese would be well worth it. Also, I'm a little embarrassed to admit I had to look up 'compact crank puller', and don't know how to use one (compact or otherwise). I probably should learn before the next trip (and more about tending to bikes in general). :)</p><p>Anyways, thanks so much for writing this up!</p>
<p>How difficult would it be for a person who speaks no Japanese at all? At my age, I can't easily learn new languages and I never had an aptitude towards learning languages. But I would like to summer with my bike in a part of Japan and if Hokkaido is not too rigorous for riding, it can be a great choice, having no preset destination requirements for such a trip. Thank You for the article! </p>
<p>Hi John,</p><p>Without any language- on a scale of 1 to difficult, I would say that it would be difficult. </p><p>You don't have to become fluent, but you should probably put some time into trying if you don't want to be too frustrated. Also- Hokkaido is a place with a lot of mountains. The terrain is challenging, and the small towns are getting smaller, with even fewer people able to speak English. </p>
<p>Great report. Things are somewhat more expensive now, of course. If one is doing upwards of 125 km a day, there won't be much time for foraging, etc. I'd budget at least 1000 yen a day for food alone if cycling such distances. Cycling outside of Hokkaido is quite different, too, as was alluded to regarding the cost of camp sites. Altogether, I'd take at least 2000 US for a trip of this duration. </p>
Very impressed - even more so after realizing only around slide 8 'ish that you were/are female. More impressed. Nice job, thank you!
<p>Not sure where you're going with that (female comment), but thanks for the kudos anyway. </p>
Hi,<br><br>I would like to know how much should I budget each day for a trip like this?<br><br>Thanks
<p>I would say- budget $50/day and spend $20. That way you're covered in case stuff goes wrong. This was my second trip, and I'm a pretty advanced budgetter with some language skills. On your first trip, and especially without language skills- you'll want some comforts and some cushions. </p>
Thank you for all that advice. I went to some onsens last year on a Japanrail trip but bike camping on a shoestring sound's like a great way to do it. There's a great book called touring Californias hot springs that came in handy for a recent car camping hot springs trip i did in November last year.
Thanks for Sharing! I can understand you really enjoyed your trip in Hokkaido.
Japans an awesome PLace.<br>Its really nice no need to be scared. my cousin and his friends, when they are bored they take a train to any random destination and work their way back home. My cousin got free meals as well :D
Nice Instructable!
thank you very much. you make me want to travel (after I learn the language)...
A link to a video might be helpful in showing the hand signals you mentioned. And also how to pronounce the Japanese words you have here. Great 'ible.<br>
I was stationed at Yokosuka in the earlr 60's. I would take off on the weekends on a little 200cc Honda and travel thru Japan. Japan is a very easy and safe country to travel in. The people are great and will go out of there way to help you.
Tottally awesome...
awesome! did the same thing with my dad during this past holiday... only in china, we left shanghai and just kept going! we had planned on just sleeping in our backpacking hammocks but it turns out that's illegal in china. What isn't? however, we got bailed out by a local who told the cop we were his house guests. so overall bike-camping in Asia= great idea! as long as you hang your hammock in a discreet place. haha
Wow. Bicycle tourist? You are cool. Really cool. I cant even bike down to the local grocery. Nice job, I love this! Now I want to bike over to Japan..
You F'n rock! Keep it up and do not stop........... you animal you!
it was a fantastic write up, especially for women. thanks!
Nice write up. We live in Aomori prefecture and you are correct camping is not cheap on the main island. Being in rual Japan is nice &amp; the people are friendly.
Cool adventure, thanks for sharing!<br>You might want to include where your trip originated (guessing San Fran from Step 1), as flight cost can vary depending on location.
Done. Thanks for catching the oversight!
What a tremenous writeup! Thank you for putting this together, and for including all of the personal photos!

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