Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 32: Habu – Fukuoka

I was looking forward to crossing onto the final island of the trip, Kyushu. The ride from the campsite to Shimonoseki, the city where I could cross over, was an uneventful one through farmland and urban sprawl. A low hanging cloud threatened rain, but soon cleared off a d the sun came out.

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fist sighting of Kyushu and the bridge that connects it to Honshu

At Shimonoseki the distance between Honshu and Kyushu is at its smallest: only 700 meters!

For bikes and pedestrians who aren’t allowed on the bridge there is a tunnel that connects the two islands.

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It wasn’t too l g a ride from Shimonseki to Fukuoka. I took the shorter, less scenic route that brought me through a lot of towns and cities.

Arriving in Fukuoka felt fantastic, I had finished all of Honshu! My host there, David, brought me out to a yatai, a street food stall, something for which the city if famous.

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the yatai we ate at

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Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 31: Kasadoshima – Habu

Tonight would be my last night spent on Honshu, and the final full day of riding on the main island. Much of the day was spent on the Route 2, which went from busy three lane highway to single lane mountain road. After lunch the road I was following became I cars-only route, but a smaller track followed the exact same path and wasn’t as traffic heavy at all.

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the highway providing shade from the afternoon heat

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following the smaller route that ran parallel to the main road

Most of the day was spent inland until just before I arrived at my campsite when I merged back with the coastal road that.

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rice paddies before getting back on the coast road

The campsite was a bit hard to find. It was right at the back of a public park. Free as most of the campsites have been since September, but busier I think because it was a Saturday.

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My final Honshu sunset

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Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 30: Miyajima to Kasadoshima

I took an early boat off the island, not before getting a photo of the gates at high tide. This was my second last day on Honshu and it was absolutely beautiful, riding along sandy coast in the sun with a stiff tailwind.

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I followed the same coast road almost all day, riding inland only for about 15K to save travelling around a long peninsula. After this the coast became a bit rockier but just as picturesque.

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There was an island very close to the shore that I thought would be nice to camp on as the end of the day approached.

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the bridge onto Kasadoshima

I found a really nice beach to camp at on the island. Another place I think would be full of people at high season, but I had it too myself mostly.

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Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 29: Hiroshima – Miyajima

I wasn’t sure if this counted as one of the tour days it was so short, but I suppose I left one place by bike and made forward progress n the trip, so why not.

Miyajima is a famous island near Hiroshima. Famous mostly for its floating shrine gates. The island can be accessed by ferry right from Hiroshima but I cycled about 20KM out of the city to the harbour that is nearest the island. From there the trip to the island was cheaper and shorter (and I wasn’t skipping part of the journey)

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the cost road out of Hiroshima

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travelling to the island in the ferry

When I arrived at the island the tide was out so gates were just plonked in the mud instead of appearing to float on the water. It did give me a chance to get up close, and I wasn’t to disappointed. I was going to camp on the island, I would get the chance to see the gates as intended.

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A short walk away from the coast is a fabulous temple complex, probably one of the nicest I’ve visited on the whole trip.

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There was a campsite on the other side of the island, quite a large one that I imagine would be full at high season but only one other tent was there the night I stayed.

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a deer wandering through the campground

The next morning the tide was in, some could see the gates in all their glory

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Japan 2013

Hiroshima: friendly city with a tragic past

Hiroshima is a fantastic city, much smaller than some of the larger Kansai metropolises but still busy and active.

I wanted to visit the city because of its history. I visited the Peace Park and A-Bomb dome, located around the epicentre of the explosion.

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the A-Bomb dome, a building that survived the bomb in 1945 and stands now as it did then, minutes after the blast

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the Peace Park with the Flame of Peace, lit from the fire of the bomb. It will be extinguished when the last nuclear weapon is destroyed

It was recommended to me that I visit the A bomb dome at night as it is lit up in quite a dramatic way. My camera doesn’t don’t justice but it was worth the repeat visit that night to see it.

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Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 28: Innoshima – Hiroshima

When I woke up the rain had cleared. Still a bit blustery, but cycling through the last island was still really nice. The very final part of the Shiminami Kaido isn’t connected to the mainland by a bridge but the final island is only about 800m from the shore and a small ferry shuttles back and forth all day to connect the two.

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on the ferry back to Honshū

It was about 80 km over land to Hiroshima. About two hours worth of climbing through the mountains, but it wasn’t particularly steep.

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At some point during the afternoon I saw a sign for Shiminoseki, not my immediate destination but it is the most southerly city on HonshÅ«. It felt like a good milestone to me, sometimes on tour you just get into a cycling groove and don’t realise how much distance has been covered until confronted with it.

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Got into Hiroshima, checked into my hostel and went out to try Hiroshima style Okonimiaki. Didn’t take any photos but I think I prefer hiroshima style to Kansai style, it’s a bit lighter on the batter, has more cabbage and includes noodles. Delicious.

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Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 27: Imabari – Innoshima

It was raining and pretty windy when I got out of the tent this morning. I think it was the tail end of a typhoon that was passing further north. I considered waiting it out and cycling route the next day, but at 9 it had cleared up some.

The Shiminami Kaido is a cycle route that goes through the inland sea, hopping between islands that dot the water via large ( and pretty high up) suspension bridges.

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the start of the route

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approaching the first bridge

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It was a really enjoyable cycle between the islands. Hopping between each one was great for variety throughout the day. While leaving Oshima Island I saw whirlpools created by the tide going out quickly between the islands.

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It was hard to get a good photo…

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crossing the bridges between the islands

After lunch it got rainy. I wanted to camp on one if the islands. The second to last island, Innoshima had a nice campground. Once again I was the only one there, but the groundskeeper there let me set up in what I think is used as a lunch area during the high season. It was great, provided shelter from the rain and wind.

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