Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 19: Biwako to Kyoto

It did rain in the end. Hard. My tent held up great, to the rain at least. The thunder and lightening that accompanied it kept me awake late into the night until the front passed across the lake, the loud crashes and blinding flashes becoming faint rumblings. It was the wind that scared me the most. It only blew strong for a short while, but there was about a two minute period when the storm (typhoon might be a better word for it) was at its worst. The lightening was blinding as it cut through the dark, the thunder deafening and the wind managed to push so hard against the poles that give the tent structure that it started to collapse in on me.

Everything held, and around midnight I drifted off to sleep, the rain still pounding on the tent which had mercifully survived the winds battering. The next morning I got up to continued rain and decided to scrap the plan of hanging out by the lake for the weekend and just travel straight to Kyoto.

aftermath of the night before

It was a pleasant cycle along the shore of the lake despite the weather. I passed a sign for an onsen and decided to grab the chance for a bath. It was probably one of the nicest onsen I’ve visited so far.

approach to the bath

the bath itself

As I got further south along the lake and closer to the city the development became much more apparent and soon I was cycling through that sprawl that radiates from a city like the white of an egg from the yolk. Still found this Shinto gate standing in the lake despite it all.


There was, mercifully, a cycle path that ran along next to the train tracks so I could avoid the worst of the traffic.


Every straight and flat road that ran into the city seemed eventually to converge with the motorway, so as usual it was a headache to get into the city. Eventually I gave up trying to following the flat routes and turned onto the road that went over the mountains that ring Kyoto instead of through them. It was a climb for maybe thirty minutes and then downhill right into the city. Much easier than trying to duck in and around the motorway.

the descent that led to Kyoto

I made my way to the train station and found some last minute accommodation. Sleeping indoors that night while the rain poured outside, I felt I made the right decision to head for the city.


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