Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 2: Shosanbetsu to Takikawa

Today the rain started. It was innocuous enough when I got up and out of the tent. I should have sensed something was up when I saw that most of the families we hurriedly packing up and leaving, but I was hopeful that it was a short shower that would pass.

This wasn’t the case. By about 10 I was soaked. It was a relentless downpour that soon left the roads like streams. My bags were all waterproof, and jacket and wet pants kept me relatively dry but my shoes became drenched.

When it rains on tour you become a lot more tunnel visioned. I didn’t stop all that much, or even notice that much while I was cycling. Looking back all I can remember is the rain. And this one bear statue.

Fortunately the rain didn’t last all day. Just before lunch it cleared up, which coincided quite nicely with the road joining back along the sea. Journeying to Rumoi, my half way point, was a lot easier after that.

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Just before Rumoi I passed through my first tunnel of the trip. It had a wide path for pedestrians and cyclists and was sloping downhill. Pretty easy going.

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I was pretty eager to keep going when I arrived at Rumoi so I only grabbed a quick lunch. After Rumoi my route turned inland towards Chippubetsu where I hoped to cut across to Takikawa, my end point.

The road to Chippubetsu was lovely, at first ringed by mountains with small fields on either side. The road followed an old train track most of the time.

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After a while I left the proximity of the mountains and entered the plains of central Hokkaido where the land was flat for miles and the road straight and quiet. By now the sun was out, the day had improved so much since the morning.

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I couldn’t find the road at Chippubetsu I wanted to use to cross to Takikawa quickly, so I had to cycle to Fukagawa and then turn towards Takikawa. This added about 90 minutes to the journey and meant passing through much more urban areas, wider roads and big shopping complexes with wide parking lots. It wasn’t quite as pleasant as the rural plains earlier.

Getting into Takikawa I saw a sign for a campsite only 5km away. It turned out to be 5km uphill, a tough request at the end of a long day but when I arrived it was worth it. Set in a quiet valley with a few other families car camping, it wax a great place to stay. That night was dry, and I think there must have been some sort of festival or celebration on as fireworks were set off in and around the campsite.

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