When is the best time to do a self-cycle tour of Japan?

MY HUSBAND AND I WOULD LOVE TO DO A SELF-GUIDED CYCLE TOUR IN JAPAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ABOUT WHERE AND WHEN TO TRAVEL? WOULD JULY BE A GOOD TIME TO GO? J. MATHEWS, BOX HILL VIC

Japan has several climatic zones. You could easily cycle tour in Okinawa in December, while in the northern island of Hokkaido you'd need a snowplough. The best time for cycle touring in Japan is generally around April-May and September-November. If you're determined to travel in July, then Hokkaido is your best choice, you'll find Honshu hot, humid and wet. There are plenty of cycling routes within Hokkaido, such as those documented by Rod Thomson on the Ride with GPS website (ridewithgps.com/). Plenty of foreign cyclists have written about cycle touring in Japan and you'll find a mine of solid advice on the internet.