A rider house is, simply put, a house for riders. Some are bed & breakfasts, some are log cabins, some are regular houses,some are simple shacks, and some are shops that let you use their floor after business hours. They are dirt cheap, usually between 300 and 1000 yen ($3-$10.) They are great places to meet other riders and trade information on cool places to go in the surrounding area.
The "Autohouse" near Sapporo, was our first rider house experience. It's graffiti covered A-frame with a bonfire pit and a goemon-buro bath (a large metal pot of water heated by a wood fire--makes you feel like food for cannibals.)
Furai in Shosanbetsu is run by a nice young rider couple and their dog, Tabi.
Ponto at Kutcharo-ko is the cleanest rider house we've ever seen. It's a coffee shop/restaurant with rooms upstairs, run by a nice old lady.
Hachi-ju-hachi-ban, a ramen shop that lets riders sleep on their floor, got mixed reviews from other riders because of the brusque attitude of the owner, but we loved it. Maeda-san may seem harsh and scary as a first impression, but he's actually a really nice guy. Unfortunately, Hachi-ju-hachi-ban closed down last year because the Maedas moved.
Chirorin Mura is a nice wooden rider house near Mount Daisetsu.
Esashi YOU in Esashi on the Sea of Okhotsk is too cool for words. It's owned by Harley riders Yoshiko-neesan and Tengu-sama and run by a bunch of motocross racers who practice for the Enduro on local tracks during the day and handle the business of the rider house at night.
Akan-ko Ainu Kotan Rider House is falling apart, but a lot of fun. The owner is an old Ainu dude who has been named a living national treasure. He looks like a gnome and sits around talking with and making fun of the riders staying there, punctuating his cutting remarks with cute little belches and a demonic grin.