Travel report No. 69 -  Japan from 26.4. - 10.7.2018

Route: (Kyushu)Fukuoka - Nagasaki - Beppu - (Honshu) Kyoto - Kanazawa - Aomori -(Hokkaido)Hakodate - Toyako - Kussharo - Furano - Sapporo  3‘375 km, 19‘712 Alt m

The kuckoo is calling throughout the whole time of our travel in japan and reminds us that we cycle from south to north and therefore always in springtime. And we will never forget the endless rain which made us sleeping often in hotels instead of camping in beautiful nature.
As soon as we arrived in Japan we search for an 7/11 convenience store. The most important institution for cyclists. 7/11 means ATM‘s working for european cards, free WIFI, food, coffee and clean toilets with heated seats and music.
Nagasaki taught us again, how horrible war is - the 2nd american atomic bomb detonated over Japan on 9.8.1945 and killed 70‘000 people.
A highlight of the trip were Kyoto and Nara. Together with our Japanese friends Jun and Kazuko and their American friends, we visited impressive tempels and shrines and got to know much more about history. And got taught about the fantastic tasty japanese food, not only well known Sushi, Sashimi, Miso soup, Ramen and Tempura, also the Yakitori found in the informal Izakaya restaurants where mostly young people like to celebrate and party.
Cycling across Honshu to the westcoast - often along riverbeds - with many beautiful traditional villages was delightful. Reaching Kanazawa, we were cordially welcome by Noburu and Mariko as well as Jun‘s parents who especially traveled from Tokyo to Kanazawa to see us. How wonderful to meet these Japanes friends again, to get invited to a unforgetable lunch and to be able to spend and enjoy time together.
Along the coast we cycle north. Picturesque landscapes, rice-fields, samurai quarters, small villages, forests, lakes and vulkans covered in haze make cycling here a great experience. But there is also adventure, like climbing across a landslide and stumbling across cut down trees on a small forest road, or a storm which nearly blew us with the tent away while camping at a lonely beach, or cycling on a mainroad while heavy rain covered the road ancle-deep with water.
In Hokkaido nature is a pleasure, but in our case it was just too wet and cold to be able to cycle all the routes we had planned. But all the more there were the Onsen (natural hot springs) to enjoy and warm our bodies. Sometimes we were able to stay overnight in „rider houses“, cheap and simple accomodation for cyclists and bikers. Or sometimes Michi-no-Eki“ (road-houses) are a possibility to warm up. There are so many unforgettable experiences, starting with Japanese friends and people who helped us with so much enthusiasm (thank you family Namba!!), or food, or culture, or beeing able to camp nearly everywhere, or or or....... This exciting travel will be unforgettable.
Something you have to know as a cyclist; there are no possibilities to transport your cycle on buses or trains in all of Japan. So think about how to transport your cycle to the airport in advance.


Golden Tempel Kyoto

Campen on the Beach

Sushi, Sushi, Sushi

Sushi, Sushi, Sushi

Escaping the rain