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158ml. Done over 4days.

Day 1 32ml to Wakayama. Raining hard this morning and got an hrs break from the rain and managed to dry the tent. Only got 3ml and had to shelter under a bridge. Then again had to shelter in a Lawson’s after a few more miles. I followed the R1 cycle route along the river and decided to go to an onsen in Wakayama then look for camp spot as it would have been dark getting off the ferry. Ended up sleeping on the floor under a garage canopy, rained all night

Following the R1 river cycle path to Wakayama

 

 

 

 

Day 2 42ml to Higashimayoshi. After a restless night sleeping on the floor I’m up at 4.30am for the ferry to Tokushima. Chose some quiet roads as best I could and got to a free campsite but it was full of mosquitos so I went back about 6ml to a nice place I passed earlier on the river.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 42ml to Niihama. Nice weather today so I decide to do some bike maintenance. I change front and rear tyres round, as the back is worn down now after 5,000ml, replace the front and rear brake pads and adjust. Clean all the grime and shit from all the cogs, including jockey wheels, and fit a new chain. When I finish all this I set off about 10.30am along R192. Not many alternatives today so a lot of pavement riding. I find a camp spot on a small park next to a hard court football court.

Day 4 42ml to Hiroshima. I’m up at 5.30am but at 6am lots of children turn up for football practice, this happens all the time. Hard to get your head round when you think of back home ha. Bad  day on R11 Today. No alternative but to take this highway. Was busy, heavy with traffic and hated it. I contacted Alan, who I met a few months ago who has lived here 20yrs and I arrange to meet for a beer. I just make the 15.20 ferry from Matsuyama and arrive at Hiroshima port at 18.00. I’m just setting the tent up and Alan talks me into taking a hotel room and pays ¥3000 towards it. Over half the cost. Buys me some beers and I do all my much needed laundry at a coin laundry room then go to a park near the port and have a good chin wag over the beers. Was really great to talk and speak English to someone lol. I haven’t done that in a while. Cheers Andy.

R11 on route to Matsuyama port

 

 

 

 

 

 

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71ml. Fantastic day on the bike. Followed a very scenic river on routes, R368 R166 then onto R16 to Yoshino. From here it was R39 to Gojo. Quite a big climb after approx 30ml but the roads were all quiet and beautiful views all the way. After Yoshino it got a little busy and then after Gojo I picked up the cycle path and camped on the river with a toilet and water next to a sportsground as always.

My scenic quiet roads today

On route today

Scenic quiet roads today

 

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224ml. This was done over 4 days.

Lake Shoji

 

 

 

Day 1 58ml to Fujinomiya. Great day to start with. Kept to the highway R20 to Kofu. Was quiet and down in elevation all the way. By 12.30 I’d done 40ml. Then onto R113 and R358 to lake Shoji and lake Motosu. The climb was approx 11ml and the rain came. On the downhill just past a Michi no Eki the rain came really heavy so I sheltered in a bus stop and helped a Japanese cyclist change his rear inner tube. By the time this was done it was dark so I slept in the bus shelter for the night.

Day 2 53ml to Okabe.

Fuji prefecture manhole cover

Shiraito no taki waterfall on the way.

Mt Fuji

 

 

 

After a restless night in the shelter with the spiders I set off hoping for a break in the cloud to try and get a picture of Mt Fuji. I visit some waterfalls on the way and luckily a photo, not the best because of the cloudy conditions but it’s forecast cloudy for the week so can’t be too disappointed. The rest of today is what I call urban hell. A mixture of pavement and me trying to find quiet river paths and quiet parallel roads. After a good cycle path to the outskirts of Shizuoka, I manage to find a very small park to camp in a small town before Fujieda. Bad sleep though with the humid conditions.

Day 3 53ml. To Kosai.

Nice shrine on route.

 

 

More of the same urban hell today, so not much to report here. Found a small camp spot near a Yamaha factory in a small park.

Day 4 60ml to Taki. Not a bad day to Tahara then onto the short ferry crossing to Toba. I pushed on a quiet road onto R37 and couldn’t find a camp spot so I slept in a doorway near a Lawson’s near Taki. Just before the turning onto R368.

 

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47ml. Woken by the heat from the early morning sun. 1,100m to the top of the pass then all down to Matsumoto. I’m already at 500m so away I go. It’s hot and quite busy with traffic but beautiful scenery. I drop down to Matsumoto and look around the castle grounds. 40min wait to go inside so I just walk around taking pictures.

Matsumoto castle

Visited a nice shrine on the way

 

 

 

 

 

After leaving Matsumoto I change route and decide to head to Fuji, it seems such a shame to be so close and not at least try to photo the iconic mountain. Another big climb 1,050m over to Lake Suwa. Some steep bits and raining again on the way but got to Chino and found a school sportsground to camp. Was dark when I got there and not ideal but it will do for the night.

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136ml. Done over 3 days,

Start of R121 and beautiful redwoods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day1 51ml to Gyoda. Take the R121 which is quiet and lined with beautiful redwoods. Gets busy after about 5ml out of Nikko but there’s a good pavement to ride on. All day it’s shelter from rain and riding on pavement, I eventually get to a river path at Meiwa and find a nice camp spot for the night. Was surprised to do so many miles with all the stops and starts.

Day 2- 50ml to Yokokawa.

20ml to start on a quiet river path through peach orchards. I had a few, I must admit they were delicious. Got to Honjo just before a massive thunderstorm and sheltered at a Lawson’s. A mixture of river paths and road from here to Annaka before I start climbing up to Usui pass. I’m stopped on the way up with the police who give me reflective stickers for my shoes and warn me to try and find shelter as a typhoon is forecast to hit the area tonight. I get to a rail station and museum at Usui and 3 ladies shout me over as they speak English and help me by getting permission for me to camp and shelter under a restaurant canopy for the night.

My sheltered camp spot before I pack up early in the morning at Yokokawa

 

 

 

 

Day 3- 35ml. To Maruko.

After a restless night under the canopy being bitten with mosquitos, I set off early but it’s raining again. 9.5ml climb and again it turns to sunshine once over the pass. Very hot day and the Garmin reads 42°. I can’t make Matsumoto as intended because I have another big climb to come so I find a nice camp spot on a river again next to a sportsground.

 

 

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52ml. Not a bad day cycling, had to take R4 for a while but the pavement was good and also found some quiet stretches alongside the highway. Just as I pulled into Nikko the rain started so I managed to find a pitch under the river bridge for shelter. At midnight the rain came hard and started to flood under the bridge, so I had to move the tent. Managed to dry the tent in the morning before setting off during a break in the rain.

Heavy rain

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36ml. Was going to have a day off at the Lake but by 8am I already had 3 family tents around me. More people turning up and I found out that it was a national holiday. It was like cowboys and Indians lol. So the alarm bells rang in my head, partying, noise and no sleep which I was in desperate need of so I packed up at 10am and set off. On the old road and a fair bit of climbing to start with and very hot. I followed the lake for a while and they seemed to be hundreds going to the lake. I dropped down to Shirakawa and found a camp spot on the river. Made some pasta for tea and then try to sleep in the very humid conditions.

Quiet cycle path on the way

View from Inawashiro campsite

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54ml. Woken at 5am with locals starting a baseball game ha. But that was good as it gave me an early start. 5ml on the river path to start with and then a 1,300m climb on the old road over the pass. 3.5hrs in the pouring rain to the pass but on a very quiet road away from the national highway. When I started the decent, the rain stopped and I managed to make it to a free campsite on the Lake Inawashiro just before dark. It was also windy here which was great for a cool night in the tent without the USB fan lol.

Lake Inawashiro

Top of the pass

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38ml. Cloudy with light drizzle to start the day. I followed a river path and was able to keep to rivers most of the day in my direction, alongside peach orchards. I had to help myself to a few of the juicy, big peaches. They were delicious. I got to a 7/11 and camped on a sports ground nearby.

Quiet river roads

Along rivers most of the day

 

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64ml. Quiet roads today until Matsushima then had to follow the R45 again. At Shiogama I took R10 to bypass Sendai and made it to a baseball ground on the river with toilet and water.

Matsushima

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52ml. Back on Honshu now and the humidity is extreme. Glad I got my USB fan for the tent at night ha. Today I go inland slightly to keep me away from the busy R45. At Kesennuma I take R65 then the R456/346. Lot quieter but a thunderstorm appears and I have to shelter in a new Michi no Eki. I find a quiet spot to camp on a river again once the rain has stopped at a small place called Maiya.

Colourful building on the road inland

Goats trying to keep cool in the extreme heat

Damaged building left standing

R45 so busy with construction traffic

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56ml. Off the ferry onto R45. This was ok at first but got busy. Came off when I could on small roads but always had to rejoin the 45. Lots of tunnels and very lumpy. Was a hard day and it was dark by the time I found a small park to camp in at Ofunato. One of the reasons the R45 is so busy is due to the construction traffic rebuilding tsunami/earthquake defence’s as this coast was hit quite bad with the epicenter near Sendai.

Lots of concrete defenses being built to protect against future tsunami.

Off the ferry

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40ml. Rode with Ken this morning after breakfast and we went to Norboribetsu and Hell valley. Nice climb up there in the heat and then a small walk to the viewing area. Smelt like Rotoroa and the rotten eggs ha. Well after the ride back down to Norboribetsu, I said goodbye to Ken and tried to find a camping spot on a river but no luck. I stop at 7/11, get WiFi and discover there’s a campsite 400m above Muroran. So I head up there and it was worth the climb as it’s nice and cool. I take a day off and hike up Mt Washibetsu which had great views vrom the top. Tomorrow I’ll go the last 10ml. to the port for the ferry back to Honshu, so it’s goodbye to beautiful Hokkaido.

Ken the inspirational cyclist. Top man

View down to Muroran from summit

Top of Mt washibetsu

Hell valley

Hell valley

Road up to hell valley

Geyser in Norboribetsu

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74ml. This was done over 3 days just following the coast road. 1st day was to Hidaka with Dan and Ell, 20ml and wild camped on a river. 2nd day 32ml. Another short day due to the heat and did shopping in Tomakomai for a USB fan, which works great, and a groundsheet for the tent. Then found a wild camp spot near a baseball ground in tomakomai. 3rd day, 22ml, short one again to Shiraoi, bought a dry bag and ditched the saddlebag and changed my whole luggage around so this took all morning ha. Wild camp on the side of a lake and met a cyclist called Ken who cycled for 2.5 years in SE Asia, Mexico to Argentina and Morocco and Europe at 65years old. What an inspiration and a great guy.

Wild camp at the lakeside at Shiraoi