Saturday, October 20, 2007

October 8th - Present: Sapporo to Rumoi and back HOME

Well i'm done with the cycling trip and back in Singapore. I should have updated earlier on the last part of the journey but due to a couple of reasons (mainly, personal disappointment at not reaching Wakkanai, among others), i wasn't in a right frame of mind or mood to write up. For the last time, my route map above is updated with my entire journey's route.

Farewell from Hokkaido (more pics here)

I did post that i was feeling a little tired upon reaching Sapporo, and that's why i probably i, to put it simply, gave up at Rumoi, about a 130km north of Sapporo. I took 17 hours worth of trains (6 trains, 5 changes) from Rumoi Station back to Tokyo, and then to Yokohama (Ichikawa-cho Station) for another night stay with the Queks (read this post if you don't remember/know who they are).

1 bicycle, 4 bicycles bags tied together and my 2 other carry-on bags.

People on the train do not seem to mind the amount of space my bicycle and luggage were taking up, but that was actually the least of my worries. In case you didn't notice, i'm packing ALOT of baggage and it was a big hassle getting on and off the trains and moving around the platforms to change trains. The worst bit was when i had 7 mins to cross platforms via an overhead bridge to change trains. I don't know how i did it, but like i have done all this way on this journey, i just somehow managed to clear this last hurdle.

The train arriving at Sapporo station.

I spent a night in Yokohama, including a great shabu-shabu dinner treat courtesy of the Queks and then the next morning it was another 1 1/2 hours train ride from Yokohama station to Narita Airport Terminal 1 for my flight. Thankfully, the Thai Airways check-in counter (like the one in Changi Airport) waived off the extra charges for my overweight luggage and bicycle.

It was an non-eventful plane trip back to Bangkok Airport for transit (and a boring 4 1/2 wait for my flight to Singapore) before finally arriving back in Singapore. That's it i guess. End of the road and suffice to say, this will be the final post on this blog and i wish to thanks everyone, friends, family, people i've been blessed to get to know through this blog for sharing this adventure with me. Thank you very much for reading.

On to my next big adventure! And by that i mean starting to work.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

October 2nd to 7th: Morioka to Sapporo!

I've been cycling through Hokkaido for the past 4 days and am now in the capital of Sapporo for a day's rest. I'm dead tired today, moreso than i have been throughout this entire adventure of mine. I guess whatever my body had been running on (usually chocolate) finally ran out as i just used gravity/inertia to roll myself into Sapporo today. And it certainly didn't help that the entire length of coast from Otaru (about 30km east of Sapporo) served my tired legs a full course of hills and slopes. Man, i really need tomorrow's rest day badly... And since Kenneth asked, i'm only another 350km from Cape Soya. That would be another 4 to 5 days of cycling probably so i'll put myself at 85% complete.

October 2nd: Morioka to Ninohe (pics here) 80km

R4's highest point in Ichinohe.

After leaving Morioka, it was just hills and small mountain passes all the way to Ninohe. Nothing particularly high to climb, just the sheer number of it. Passed the 600km from Tokyo mark today.

One thing i missed coming out of Central Honshu are the clean toilets; up North, every toilet i've stopped at is just filthy, some of the toilets are literally just a hole in the ground. Here's a sample. If you clicked on the link, just note how there's no flush lever or anything. And i didn't dare to use the tap water. This isn't just a 1-off example, i would say 7 out of 10 toilets i've been too are around this standard or just slightly better (but most do have flush levers, this one is particularly bad), a very far cry from when i was raving about how clean toilets are in Japan.

October 3rd: Ninohe to Aomoro, and ferry across to Hakodate (pics here) 125km

More time spent going up and down mountains. Fairly long ride today and i passed 2 key distance markers today, 666km and 700km from Tokyo. I was just wishing for a sign saying "Welcome back to Sea Level" and finally, 30km from Aomori i got my wish.


Man, it felt great to be back on level ground. About 15km from Central Aomori is Asamushi, the English sub-text was Sunset Beach so i hung around and watched the sun dip down and disappear into the horizon. Really beautiful place. I already checked the ferry timing in Morioka so i was in no rush to reach the wharf. The ferry across to Hakodate was for 8:30pm.

Unfortunately, once in town i chanced upon another 2nd-hand shop so i went for a look-around and by the time i came out, i was 10km away from the wharf with under an hour to go, so that meant i had no time for dinner. Rushed to the wharf, got my ticket and by the time i got to the pier it was just nice for boarding.

One thing i learnt is that you should buy your own food onto the ferry. There is cup noodles for sale on the boat (150JPY) but i had 2 and my stomach was still growling so i just slept for the entire 4 hour ride (110km from Aomori to Hakodate). Bike was tied to the side of the loading bay below where all the trucks were parked.

It's a good thing i don't smoke because the non-smoking room was empty except for me. All the smokers were in a seperate room drowning in their own cigarette smoke. Sleeping on the carpet was suprisingly comfortable, or i was just very tired; i had been up and cycling since 7am.

Reached Hakodate central at 1am and checked in to a random hotel. Room was cheap, 3500JPY (i later found out it was because the room had no window, but that's perfectly fine by me since the first thing i do everytime is shut the blinds).

October 4th: Hakodate (函館, can anyone tell me how to read the name in Chinese?) (pics here)


Morning was a visit to Asaichi, the local fish market, which had a lot of live crabs (and big ones at that, some of the legs were the length of my arm!), salmon (and salmon roe) and live squid (a Hakodate specialty) for sale. A lot of restaurants on the side were serving raw dishes (1000 to 2000JPY a bowl) and i just settled for the cheapest place i could find. Yummy!

Next, a walk along the bay and the nearby lower slopes of Mt. Hakodate. Supposedly from the brochure i took, alot of movies used this slope (below) because it offers a full view of the bay from the top. Lots of foreign churches and the likes around the slope. A really picturesque city.


It started to rain near sunset but since i already purchased the 1-day pass that included the bus up to Mt. Hakodate, i decided to just brave the rain and go up for the night view of Hakodate, which is suppose to be quite spectacular. I got soaked taking pictures (good thing the hotel had a very effective clothes dryer) but i didn't want to hand around cause there were a bunch of Taiwan and Hong Kong tourists crowding up the place.


I was trying to get back indoors from the rain but they just jammed the doorway (they were trying to come outdoors, they all had umbrellas) and refused to let me back in. One girl even said (in mandarin), "Look, he's getting wet. Let's hurry." You don't HURRY, you just have to stop for a second or two and let me through. Seriously... .

October 5th: Hakodate to Oshamanbe (pics here) 105km

Started out on Route 5 towards Sapporo today. I think this needs to be said (again), but Hokkaido is a really beautiful place. From lakes to open fields to mountains and to the sea, i really got to experience the full nature package in just 1 day of riding.


Not to mention that there are little cars on the roads and that the shoulder lane for half the way is about as wide as a regular car lane. Perfect for cycling. And i got to experience a light drizzle when the sky was completely blue without a single cloud. Afterwards, there were rainbows on both sides, 1 over the sea to my right and 1 in the mountains on my left. Truly amazing.

Ryokan tonight was cheap and the lady was telling me i was the first Singaporean she's seen. Very friendly and the tatami rooms were squeaky clean. No need for air-con because the night air just cooled the whole room. Cheap too, 3000JPY.

October 6th to 7th: Oshamanbe to Kutchan to Sapporo (pics here) 79km, 98km

In Hokkaido, it's not a question of how far can i cycle today but how far do i need to cycle to get to a town. There's long empty stretches of roads without a house in sight and some small sections of town are made up of a handful of houses and that's it, back to empty roads again.

A really tough ride through many hills today to Kutchan, which is a popular stop in winter to the Niseko ski region and also to Mt Yotei, which is pretty hard to miss when cycling because it has such a prominent shape (it looks like Mt Fuji, except it's about half the height at 1898m).

Mt Yotei from Kutchan Town.

Another stay at a Ryokan in front of Kutchan station (3500JPY) and then it was off to Sapporo. 50km later i was back on the coast and through hilly Otaru. Met a group of road-cyclists at a 7-eleven and they invited me to follow them to Sapporo. Yeah right. They dropped me 3km up the first climb.

BUT, it's probably good that i didn't hang around with a big group because when i finally caught up to them again, one of them had crashed into a car. I stopped to see if he needed help but from the looks of it he just had some cuts on his arm. My medic intuition told me he was fine so i just continued on.

Otaru Canal

Somewhere right after that, i just felt as if all the energy in my body drained out. The headwinds were strong and very chilly and i just didn't want to fight it. Checked into the first hotel i found on the way to town because i was too tired to do hotel-hunting tonight.

Coastline, Otaru

Tomorrow is a rest day in Sapporo and actually there's only 2 places i want to visit which would be the Clock Tower (a Sapporo landmark) and the Salmon Museum (who would have thought there would be a museum dedicated to a fish?). Might look around more (time-permitting) but i just know i'm gonna sleep in late tomorrow morning.

Did a little research on Wakkanai and there is no ferry back to Tokyo or Sapporo. My best bet would be a train back down to Otaru and then a ferry from there to Tokyo. Will go to the train station tomorrow and get more information on ferry routes. This is probably a good time to go hunting for a bicycle bag so i can bring my bike onto the trains. Good night (or good morning) from Sapporo!

Monday, October 1, 2007

September 28th to October 1st: Fukushima to Sendai to Morioka

Tomorrow morning marks exactly 1 week since i packed and left Tokyo for the north and in the past few days i've stayed in all 3 capitals of the 3 prefectures i've cycled through. I'm just really thankful for excellent weather (no rain this whole week! that's amazing!) and i'm 2 days (or 208km) away from Aomori (Aomori Pref.), the northernmost city of Honshu. From there it's a 4 hour ferry ride to Hakodate in Hokkaido. I'm a bit disappointed i won't get to go through the Seikan Tunnel (the longest rail tunnel in the world, 2nd would be the Channel Tunnel between Britain/France).

September 28-29th: Fukushima to Sendai (77km, all pictures condensed here)

I actually spent an extra night in Sendai to recuperate. So for this past week in 7 days (6 if you minus the extra day in Sendai) i covered 529km in total. Sendai is well, just another city to me. I've passed through so many cities that they all look the same. Supposedly, it's supposed to be 'greener' (it's known as the 'City of Trees') than all the other cities, and to its credit i did notice more roadside trees than anywhere else, but compared to the greenery in Singapore, it's really nothing.

Door to Aisaki Ryokan, 3990JPY a night.

The city logo on the way in, was however, the nicest one i've seen so far (it beats all the other city logos of flowers and animals). And before you go thinking "that's just a guy on a horse!", that's Date Masamune, founder of Sendai city, and distinguishable by the trademark cresent-moon on his helmet and also his eye-patch that earned him the nickname the "One-Eyed Dragon". To me he's the 6-sword wielding guy in the PS2 game "Basara 2". Yup, 6 swords.

And because i didn't want to walk the city, i took a train to the nearby towns for a walk and lunch. Much more comfortable riding the trains here than having to always squeeze in the trains like in Tokyo. It's pretty funny how i was waiting for the doors to open but somehow it didn't. Then someone came up and pressed the "OPEN" button on the side for me. And it was in English as well. I just didn't know you had to open the train doors yourself.

September 30th: Sendai to Ichinoseki (85km)

Less houses and more open fields now.

I like how there's much more fields and plantations than houses on the roadside now. It's a nice change from the roads in Central Honshu. The air is also 'fresh', that is, if you consider fertilisers and the smell of cut grass 'fresh'. At least it beats having to smell fumes from factories.

Ichinoseki is the first city in the Iwate prefecture and a nice quiet stop for me. Nothing much to do at night but the fruit stalls on the street were nice. Bought a bunch of bananas for my breakfast the next day and had an early night's sleep cause i planned to start my day earlier from tomorrow onwards, mainly because it's getting dark around 5:30pm.

October 1st: Ichinoseki to Morioka (90km)

Overnight stop at Morioka, capital of Iwate Prefecture and for a change i'm not seeking accomodations near the train stations but in the outskirts of town beccause there seems to be alot of supermarkets and big 2nd hand shops here. I can't resist browsing around 2nd-hand shops, especially for DVDs and CDs, which are about the only things that are cheap (when 2nd-hand) compared to Singapore.

The 'magic' 500km sign. And the many spiders hanging their webbing on it.

Temperature tonight is 11 degrees, which is not as cold as it sounds..until the wind starts blowing, then i start wishing i didn't come out on the streets. Going to rest for a 100km ride tomorrow.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

September 25th to 27th: Tokyo to Fukushima

September 25th: Tokyo -> Saitama City -> Koga (65km + 20km detour to and from Saitama)

Sign along Route 4.
Route 4 which will take me all the way to the the northern tip of Honshu is 739km long (and the longest of the National Roads) according to Wikipedia. I've set myself a 10 day target to reach Aomori so that would equate to 73.9km a day. Thanks to the detour to Saitama Stadium 2002 (home of Urawa Reds) i fell a little short of target but the temperature has fallen to very cooling 24-26 degrees in the afternoon now, perfect for cycling. And the stadium was a ghost town because there was no game today. Not a soul in sight or shop open (apparently the Reds are on an away AFC game)

September 26th: Koga -> Shirakawa (125km)

Out of neccesity i had to cycle over a 100km today because there were no vacancies in the 2 towns i passed through. Riding at night was no fun and the temperature was very cold at 16 degrees so i finally had a chance to put on the jacket i brought. Finally found a place to spend the night in Shirakawa (the 5th hotel i tried, the others were full as well).

Shirakawa has the best tasting ramen i've had so far in Japan. Just found out that the local variation of Ramen here is considered (by some) to be the best in Japan. The cook (who was also waiter and cashier) was stir-frying some onions and then he poured the ramen broth into it. The smell, heavenly, and the taste, fantastic. The set including some tori karaage and a bowl of soy-sauce rice was 850JPY, which was quite reasonable.

September 27th: Shirakawa -> Fukushima (85km)

Told myself before i set off this morning i didn't want a repeat of yesterday's night cycling so i pushed myself to cycle a little faster and reached Fukushima in record time (2:30pm; i always start off at 10am every morning). I'm 272km from Tokyo now and above my average distance to cover a day (~222km) so maybe i can save a day on my way to Aomori.

Lunch today was ramen again and a new style that i haven't tried before. It's cold ramen noodles that is supposed to be dipped into the soup (a little sweet/sour tasting), and at first i wasnt't sure if that was how it was supposed to be eaten so i just observed the guy beside me. And that black patch on the plate is chili! Wow, never though i would get to have chili in Japan! Unfortunately, it's more sweet than spicy. But the dish was very good.

I'm in the capital city of Fukushima, in Fukushima Prefecture tonight and heading to Sendai tomorrow; that would be the most populated city in the north. I'm expecting temperatures to drop soon and already i'm riding with track pants on to keep warm, but im really enjoying this ride up north. I have not seen any real cyclists on the roads so far though.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September 21st to 23rd: Yokohama to Tokyo and the TOKYO GAME SHOW!

September 21st to 23rd: Yokohama to Tokyo and the TOKYO GAME SHOW! (all photos combined here)
It's when i really get to such a big city like Tokyo that i look back and truly appreciate the kindness and friendliness of the other smaller cities and towns i've been true. Someone told me that the closer you get towards Tokyo the more people are unwilling to stop and lend a hand or give directions. I guess that's generally true. Anyway on the way to my Hotel (which i am very glad is outside town) at Toyo, i saw 5 ambulances, 1 police car and 1 fire truck go wailing by. And that's just within my first hour of cycling in town! Which, by the way, is incredibly difficult with all the people and traffic. There are however, courier cyclists swerving in and out of traffic very skilfully.

Passed Tokyo Tower on the way through town.

Outside the Imperial Palace Garden Park, which is offlimits to cyclists, especially the sweaty ones like me

I'm glad the Hotel is much better than what i'm used to staying in nowadays. Conveniently, the Tokyo Metro entrance is just outside the hotel and i'm 3 subway stops from the station to get to the Tokyo Game Show and Akihabara.

Akihabara, well i don't have much to say about it except how disappointed i am that i couldn't find the 2 games i was looking for in any of the shops. The electronics portion is like a hyper version of Sim Lim Square, except most stores have salespersons with loudhailers advertising outside. If you are an anime/manga or toy (as in collectible figures and specialty toy) fan than you will enjoy it more. But seriously, 1 anime DVD (which contains like 2-3 episodes) cost 5000JPY upwards while a regular movie costs around 3990JPY. And those toys figures, which admittedly look fantastic aren't cheap as well. I don't know how the prices are justifiable. Personally, i prefer Osaka's Den-den town better. It seems much more organised and chocked with just as much things.

I came with an empty bagpack and left with it full and 2 more (1 bag is in the white bag) on hand

On to the main event: The Tokyo Game Show! Seriously it does not pay to arrive just on time. Just look at the crowds! (another pic)! Either you come very early or come after lunch, like i did on the 2nd day, to avoid getting crowded out. Queue time was 1 hour+ just to enter the hall. To make it worse, it was a hot day and everyone was literally melting under the sun while waiting. They herded us in lanes of about 200 people and lane by lane we were allowed entry. At least i was wrong, Japanese do sweat (a lot) on closer inspection. Some people just squatted on the ground and played their PSP/DS while waiting.

Capcom girls saying farewell at the end of TGS 2007.

Snake look like he lost a lot of weight..

Once you make it through the TGS sign, you're free to wander around the 8 halls of events and booths. TGS was fun, well i say that because i'm estastic that i managed to get the autograph i was looking for. Caught and called out to Hideo Kojima as he was leaving the hall. His security guards told me to go away (politely of course) but Hideo-san came up to me and took my box and marker and signed. My hands were full so i didn't get to take a picture or shake his hand though.

Crowd leaving the building.

If you love games and don't mind wading through huge crowds then you'll love the show. If you want to try game demos, be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait. Queues range from 30 minutes to 4 hours (Metal Gear Solid 4) to try the games. That said, i queued 4 times to play Guitar Hero 3 on the PS3. I even went head to head with one of the members of Activision's GH3 production team. I lost though. The 8 halls are divided into 3 main lanes so i just spent my time walking back and forth each lane and catching whatever's on stage at the time. Stayed right till the end on the 2nd day, that's when every company's show girls go up on stage and take a bow before the show truly closes. Overall a really great experience for me and if i had the chance, i'll come back and do it again next year.

After i get away from Tokyo, i really have no other places (maybe Saitama and Takasaki City, maybe..) along the way that i am planning to stop over at all in Northern Honshu. The region is described as 'backwater' in Lonely Planet. LP also adds that the people are friendlier than people from Central Honshu, so i'm looking forward to that. A little kindness really goes a long way to brightening up someone's (ie, me) day.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

September 19th to 20th: Numazu to Yokohama and Map of my Travel Route

Edit: Yokohama is not 50km away from Numazu as i was so wrongly misinformed by a guy on the street. It's actually ~80km away.

As suggested by Kenneth, here is a rough map of the places i've cycled through up till tomorrow. Please bear with the kindergarten-like scribbles, i just squiggled it out on in MSPAINT on the first map i could find. (Map taken from

September 19th: Numazu -> Hakone -> Hiratsuka (pics here and here)

The name 'Hakone' has always been on the back of my mind since i met a fellow cycle-tourer back in Miharu. He told me he almost thought of giving up and going back home to Yokohama midway while pushing his bike up Hakone-pass. It took him 5 hours to go up Hakone (till nightfall no less) and down again (by my estimation that would be 30km total). I just laughed it off as a joke back then but after yesterday's trip, i have to conclude that pushing up this hill is no shame at all, especially if your bike is loaded with luggage.

Road snaking up to Hakone. That's Mt Fuji slope in the background, hiding again in the clouds.

Within the first kilometre of the climb i already passed a female cycle-tourer conceding defeat and pushing her bicycle up. I told myself that no matter what, i would not be doing the same. I passed a couple more cyclists going up and saw them struggling as well. Seriously, i felt their pain. Countless times while going up, my legs and heart kept telling me to stop and just surrender. Fortunately, pride won out in the end and it took me a grand total of 2 1/2 hours to go up and over Hakone...and i thought i was at the top when i saw this sign but after a 2km descend, i had to climb up somemore to the true highest point on Route 1....

The mist at the top felt like rain.

..and then from there it was a sweet descent to Odawara. And with a combination of late braking and just plain madness, i was surely the fastest idiot on wheels speeding down the mountain.

Fittingly, my Lonely Planet guide describes Hakone as a 'tourist mecca'. Truly a beautiful place. I also tried to spy Mt Fuji while cycling up, but it's more of the same ol' same ol'. The view from the top of Hakone pass of Lake Ashi would make a fabulous picture, if my camera could focus through the mist and capture the moment, which unfortunately it couldn't.

Found a bicycle shop on the way to Hiratsuka and changed my tyres and brake pads which were badly worn out. And on a personal note, i think my new tyres makes my bicycle look even better than it did before.

September 20th: Hiratsuka -> Yokohama

I'm spending the night with Robert Quek and family in Yokohama. Their house is fantastically luxurious and cosy and they were kind enough to invite me to base myself here for the next couple of days while i attend the Tokyo Game Show. But for fear of getting too comfortable (and already i'm reminded of home; they even have a Xbox360..) i think i will move on to Tokyo tomorrow.

Did a quick night sight-seeing trip around Yokohama bay, really pretty place even at night but it would be more ideal for romantic dates and such. So as the lone cyclist shining his LED headlight into the many embracing couples there, i didn't care to hang around too long.

Landmark Tower, tallest building in Japan.
Street performer who juggled fire sticks and extinguished them in his mouth.
Big ferris wheel at the bay.

Honestly, I'm just looking forward to the Tokyo Game Show. I bought the Metal Gear Solid 20th Anniversary collection in hopes that I can get Hideo Kojima to autograph it for me. Just so you know, the game that got me into gaming was Metal Gear Solid for the PS1, so besides being a big fan of Kojima and the series, there's a lot of 'sentimental' value for me. I just pray that i will be able to get a ticket to the biggest game show on Earth (Sat/Sun 10am-5pm; open to public).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September 17th - 18th: Toyohashi to Numazu

September 17th: Toyohashi -> Shimada (~80km)

The highlight of today was me getting my first puncture of my journey! And contary to popular (family) belief, i do know how to fix a puncture, even though this is probably only the 2nd time in my life i had to do so. Quite quickly too, by my low standards, it only took 15 minutes inclusive of unloading and reloading my bags. Well anyway, this is a load of my mind. Now at least i know i can handle flats.

If you like quiet towns, then Shimada is probably a good choice. The streets were so quiet and deserted at 8pm it felt like a ghost town. And dark too; without my front light on my bike i couldn't make out the pavements. Anyway i had Japanese curry rice for the first time. Better than i expected, and compared to regular curry back in Singapore, more my taste cause its less spicy.

September 18th: Shimada -> Numazu (~80km)

3 days after leaving Nagoya, i found myself once again in the Fuji region. And once again Mt Fuji is hiding amidst the clouds:

Mt Fuji from Kawaguchiko city, Sept 14th. At least i can make out its shape.

Mt Fuji from Fuji city, today. I can just make out its slope before it disappears into the clouds.

Frankly i don't think i want to hang around and wait for Fuji-san to show itself. So instead of going up to Fujinomiya as i planned yesterday, i went ahead and am staying Numazu for today. Had a delicious meal in Fuji for 1050JPY. And the shop lady was kind enough to give me 2 photographs (not postcards) taken off her shop wall of Mt Fuji in all its glory. And as has been the case for my entire trip, whenever i mention Singapore, the first thing that comes to everyone's mind is 'Ah, Merlion!' I never knew the Merlion was so famous.

Tomorrow: Should be a short trip to Yokohama and i'm going to look up a friend of my Uncle.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

September 16th: Nagoya to Toyohashi

Thanks to fickle, soggy weather, today i'm spending the night in Toyohashi, which is about 45km from where i had intended to arrive at (Hamamatsu). Not the best of restarts to my cycling journey but it feels great to be back cycling.

I might be behind schedule to arrive in Tokyo (was expecting to arrive in 3-4 days), but thankfully the silver lining is that if i delay my arrival till about Friday, i can be in Tokyo in time for the Tokyo Game Show 2007 (Sept 22-23)!

This is a once in a lifetime chance to catch arguably the biggest game show on Earth without really seriously hindering any of my plans and i'm not going to waste it. So barring a natural disaster, i will be taking it slow for the next 5 days to reach Tokyo on Friday and spend 3 nights there to catch TGS 2007.

Friday, September 14, 2007

September 9th to 14th: The Route this past week

This is the route around Chubu that the 3 of us have been driving around in our rented Tokyota Probox up to today:
(map image taken from
September 9th: Nagoya
September 10th: Nagoya -> Takayama
September 11th: Takayama -> Toyama
September 12th: Toyama -> Tokyo
September 13th: Tokyo
September 14th: Tokyo -> Mt Fuji
(Tomorrow) September 15th: Mt Fuji -> Nagoya

At least driving around Japan in the car is a different experience from what i'm used to so far. I got to see the Japanese expressways which are off-limit to bicycles and towns that were not on my itinerary so i'm satisfied at least despite losing a week of my own travelling time. Probably by Wednesday i'll reach Tokyo(again) on my own. But it's going to be a real challenge cycling through Tokyo from my preview of it. I'm really looking forward to hitting the saddle again this Sunday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Appendix to Previous Post; Pictures for September 5th to 8th

Sorry for the lack of updates this week but if you had read the previous post i've been forced to take a 1-week detour off my plan because my dad and younger brother Brandon are here to tour Japan. It (unfortunately) feels like i've been unofficially appointed as tour guide and program planner for their holiday so i've still been busy (and quite tired frankly) despite the fact that most of the travelling has been in a rented car. As for photos from the 9th to this point, well both of them don't want me putting their pictures online but i'll sort through the photo pile (and there are alot of pics because Brandon is real shutter-happy) eventually and pull out the nice ones that do not feature either of them.

September 5 pictures: Osaka -> Kyoto

Tourists flocking to the top of Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto.

Kiyomizu temple steps and gate.

September 6th pictures: Kyoto -> Suzuka

Behind me is Lake Biwako, biggest lake in Japan. Unfortunately the area i chose to detour to the lake was decidedly un-scenic.

Instead of room numbers, the rooms in Suzuka are named. Very comfortable tatami rooms w/ futons and a very accomodating host made Suzuka one of my favourite stops so far.

September 7th and 8th pictures: Suzuka -> Nagoya

Sharing a dorm room with 2 others in a Youth Hostel.

Japanese metal band playing at Sakae street; unexpectedly entertaining!

Top left is a no-bicycle parking sign but... This seems to be the situation all over Japan (i myself have blatantly ignored it) and thankfully i have not encountered any enforcement of this no-parking law.

Oasis 21 shopping complex and Nagoya TV Tower in the background.

September 9th - 12th: Nagoya -> Takayama -> Toyama -> Nagano -> Tokyo

TO BE UPDATED IN THE NEXT POST. I think it's really true that a picture paints a thousand words so i'll let the pictures of these places do the talking. Thanks to Brandon for taking most of the pictures for these past few days and some of the scenery up in the mountains was simply spectacular!