The adventure begins...

Japan

Japan

Chitose, Hokkaido

Our entry to Japan, a two-day base that allowed us to get adjusted to jet lag, visit Sapporo and gather our wits for the trip ahead.

Japan

Lake Shikotsu

A brief stop at the lakeside with about 200 Japanese families, all seeking the views and solitude – amidst a sea of other people.

Japan

Noboribetsu Onsen Village

An incredible 75 km day of riding – our longest to date – that took us along the flats towards Tomakomai, along the coastline to Noboribetsu, and up into the mountains where an incredible matsuri and some killer onsens were waiting for us.

Japan

Toyako Hot Spring

A trip that involved 1,200 metres of climb in a single day and a descent into Sobetsu through a kilometre-long tunnel through the Orofure Pass.

Japan

Toyoura

Where we waited out the onslaught of Typhoon Lionrock on the porch of a michi-no-eki.

Japan

Yakumo

Rough-around-the-edges little dairy town that had an onsen – and the place where we slept in a cedar bus stop shelter.

Japan

Mori

A beautiful park we discovered behind the michi-no-eki on our way south to Hakodate. A day for laundry and camping out.

Japan

Shikabe

A quiet village on the seaside: idyllic, warm, full of onsen and some of the friendliest people we’ve met so far.

Japan

Natowa-Esan

After battling the headwind and traversing a long series of tunnels (one of which was 2.6 km long!), we arrived at our final camping spot for Hokkaido on our way to Hakodate City.

Japan

Hakodate

We return to the taste of urban Japan with our final stop in Hokkaido – filled with fortresses, people, and a ferry ride to Japan’s main island of Honshu.

Japan

Aomori City

Arriving from the ferry ride after dark, we needed to find a campsite to bed for the night. It ended up being riverside near what we thought was a Buddhist Temple under the watchful eye of a would-be neighbourhood watch lady with a flashlight.

Japan

Ikarigaseki

After a day of riding in a variety of weather and making a variety of stops (from Namioka’s Apple Hill stop to Hirosaki’s castle), we settled on Ikarigaseki’s michi-no-eki and the wonderful onsen bath it offered. They even let us sleep out back.

Japan

Gojome

A stop of necessity rather that choice, Gojome had us hunkered into the shelter of its sitting area after the skies opened up on us. We camped out back behind the station until dawn broke and we got out of there.

Japan

Iwaki

The wind turbines humming above, we stopped in Iwaki for a good soak and a nice sleep along the windswept shores of southern Akita prefecture.

Japan

Chokai

A big day of riding that found us in the Fukura region in Yamagata Prefecture. A stealth camp if we’ve ever had one.

Japan

Atsumi

A long day of riding – but we saw the Emperor of Japan twice today. Whoa. Beautiful seaside rest stop.

Japan

Niigata

A long day of pedalling and a camp out behind a rather sad spot.

Japan

Kugami

It was time for a rest day at this michi-no-eki. We had some good recharge and onsen time before setting back out.

Japan

Touji No Sato

A sad little michi-no-eki with not a whole lot going on

Japan

Shinano

A quick stop on our way towards our first WWOOFing stop.

Japan

Hijiri Highlands

Trapped on a mountain pass in the dark, we set up camp just before the rain set in.

Japan

Tsumara Farm in Azumino City

Our first WWOOFing stop together with our first hosts: Takao, Hisami, and Miho.

Japan

Suwa

A hotel stop was well-needed on this especially soggy day.

Japan

Kobuchizawa with Tatsuya

Tatsuya to the rescue. We didn’t make it this far; Tatsuya came and picked us up when we got trapped in the dark!

Japan

Minobu and Fujikawa Craft Park

We slept in a tree house. Sort of.

Japan

Miho no Matsubara

Camping on the beach in the presence of the great Mount Fuji.

Japan

Utsunoya Pass

Another epic day which had us camped out next to a Meiji-era tunnel from the 19th century.

Japan

Hamamatsu with Testu

Another wonderful Warmshowers host treated us to laundry, takoyaki, a rest day and a party!

Japan

Kosai Shoreline

A beachside campout where we met a couple of cool Canadians and prepared to exit Shizuoka prefecture.

Japan

Toba

Took the ferry across after eating some giant oysters in Irago to sleep outside of a tourist office in Toba. Not so pleasant.

Japan

Tsu

After a great soak in one of Tsu’s public baths, we resorted to sleeping in a marina park north of the city.

Japan

Iga-Ueno Castle

Yeah, we slept in the castle grounds. It was pretty cool.

Japan

Nara

You’re not allowed to camp anywhere in Nara Park, and you shouldn’t attempt it unless you want to be kicked out by a police officer.

Japan

Osaka

Finally – a familiar face! We stopped in to spend a few days with Timmy and Seiko in Osaka’s Sakai district and take in the city off of the bikes.

Japan

Kobe

A hotel stop and a catch-up with more old friends.

Japan

Himeji

A stop in Christian’s old stomping grounds and a visit with old friends. Ai and Naoto were extremely gracious hosts.

Japan

Shodo Island

A couple of nights on Shodo Island before heading on to Shikoku.

Japan

Takamatsu, Shikoku

After getting off the ferry, we cycled southwest to Kanonji in order to camp out in a creepy summer camp space.

Japan

Niihama (Minetopia)

Our last michinoeki stop of the trip was outside a theme park dedicated to the mining history of Niihama in Ehime prefecture.

Japan

Matsuyama

A couple of nights to relax in Matsuyama before our final ferry ride (and final stop) in Kyushu.

Japan

Fukuoka

An AirBNB stop where we could decompress and figure out how we would be getting our bicycles to the airport – and eventually to New Zealand.

Arrival in Japan: 11:55am on August 25, 2016.

Author: Christian

Middle school teacher on hiatus/budding permaculturalist currently cycling the world. Sometimes he acts in plays and film. Mostly he travels and blogs about it. Christian is one of the founders of onlyamazingdays.com

1 comment

  1. Comment by Kent MacWilliam

    Kent MacWilliam Reply August 24, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Have a great trip you guys! Looking forward to following!

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