Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 1: Wakkanai to Shosanbetsu

The morning was overcast when I got up at 5, but didn’t seem like it would rain. With a little bit of apprehension, but also some relief to be getting going finally, I packed up my tent and bags and fully loaded my bike.


My goal for today was Shosanbetsu, a small town about 100km from Wakkanai. As I was leaving the friendly old man who gave me tea the day before came over, shook my hand and said something I didn’t understand. I assume it was “good luck” or “safe trip”, and it felt good to be officially seen off by someone. Even a stranger I didn’t really know.

Cycling through Wakkanai in the early morning was a strange experience. It still didn’t yet feel like I was on tour, merely commuting to some destination. I think that changed when I left Wakkanai and saw the coast I would be following for the next two days.


The journey to my halfway point of Teshio was easy and pleasant. The road was flat, the wind was calm and after a while the sun came out. I passed a few tourers on the road around mid morning and stopped for a chat with some of them beside these windmills a bit outside Teshio. It was a group of three guys. The farthest had ridden from Nagoya, and I don’t think they believed my when I told them I planned to ride to Fukuoka.


I had planned to eat some ramen or something in Teshio, but Teshio was a lot quieter than I expected. All I could find was a 7/11 so I grabbed one of those rice triangles for lunch. I don’t know what they are called, but I do know they are delicious and so cheap.

The ride from Teshio to Shosanbetsu was a bit tougher, instead of following the coast the road moved inland slightly and followed the rolling dunes. The sun continued to shine and the day was over a lot sooner than I anticipated when I arrived at my destination around 2.30.

There was a really nice free campsite in Shosanbetsu which was situate on a promontory that overlooked the coast. I could see the road I had just ridden, a satisfying view.


There were a few car camper families in the campsite with me, but no cyclists and none of the motorcyclists that populated Wakkanai campsite.

My campsite for the night. The next day would be a longer journey, so I welcomed the ease with which I completed this day.


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