It was time to start making some progress through Tohoku, my time touring the festivals with Albert had been great, but I hadn’t actually made any southerly progress.
My plan was to cycle from Aomori up to the crater lakes of Towadako and Tazawako, back across to the Japan Sea coast and down to Niigata exiting Tohoku and finishing this next leg.
Getting to the lakes, however, required crossing the northern mountains known as the Japanese alps. The climb out of Aomori was long, I started in the clouds but as I got higher and the sun got hotter the clouds started to part then I could see the progress I had made.
There was a plateau about halfway up the climb where I took a rest. They had water and tea you could drink, a welcome break.
Eventually reached the top of the climb, not without difficulty but it was certainly rewarding. I could see the peak of the mountain I was climbing the majority of just before the descent began through the trees.
Once the descent ended I was in a gorge where the fast running water kept the air nice and cool. I spotted a waterfall a little ways off the road and stopped to go for a quick, refreshing swim under it.
I passed an American hiker on the road who had been living in Japan for forty years. He gave me a bit of advice about the road ahead and a a fruit energy bar which got me the rest of the way to the lake. The journey had only been about 70km but the climb had really tired me. Seeing the lake did make it all worth it.
I cycled around the lake and found a campsite where I set up for the night.