Japan is a great place to ride motorcycles. It is at the same time compact and wonderfully remote, so you don't have to get far out of a city to find winding mountain roads, and you don't have to prepare for much because there will be signs of civilization another half-tank later.
There were so many beautiful places it was hard to know when it was worth stopping to get out the camera equipment. I was amply rewarded, however, by the rolls I shot at these glassy rice-fields somewhere outside Toyama around 9am. The sky was hazy and it was threatening to get hot; I shot this on HP5 which is what I use to try to reduce contrast. These towns on the sea of Japan side have a different feel than those on the south. They are isolated by those mountains you see, and it was only in the last 30 years that extensive tunnels were bored to connect this part of the country by express toll-road and bullet train to the urban core of Japan (Tokyo - Nagoya - Osaka) on the southern coast of the main island.
I rented this 20 year old Kawasaki ZRX-400 in Osaka for not much more than $300 for the week, pictured here on the "Venus Line," a privately owned mountain-top road east of Matsumoto which accesses a sculpture garden built atop a 2000 meter high plateau. I watched the sun set here, afire among this stand of wild birches, and dropped into Matsumoto well after dark.