Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cycle in Japan - part 1

After much deliberation about how to get to Cape Soya, we decided on the following route: 
cycle 145km from Tokyo to Oarai 17th and 18th August
take a 19 hr ferry ride from Oarai to Tomakomai 18th to 19th August
train from Tomakomai to Wakkanai via Sapporo 19th August
cycle 40km to Cape Soya 20th August

Kilometer 0!  Jewlz will join us for the first 2 weeks of our trip.  Tokyo to Sapporo.

 Energy/directions stop at a petrol station. It was 38 degrees and the attendants gave us some refreshments. Japanese people are very welcoming and generous.  During our first 2 weeks, we have been given tomatoes, corn, watermelon, dried squid, hairy crab, dried clam, deer anteler keychains, flags, tuna cans, a bottle of Polish vodka, mini limes, giant onigiris (rice wrapped in a seaweed), several cans of coffee, a de-greasing spray...

In front of the Sun Flower Sapporo which took us from Oarai to Tomakomai in a mere 19h.

Corsican pride

Jewlz enjoying a cold one in the "economy" room on the ferry to Tomakomai, Hokkaido.  A luxurious boat ride complete with a public bath overlooking the ocean.

After 170km cycling, a 20h ferry ride and a 7h train ride we finally arrive at Wakkanai, the Northernmost city in Japan.   11pm arrival so we slept in the train station.  Another 40km to go and we'll reach Cape Soya, our official start point!

Last check on the Road to Cape Soya.  Mapple Touring book is like our bible.

Somewhere just short of Cape Soya

Jewlz, Yumi and Thomas, standing proud at the northernmost point of Japan: Cape Soya

The endless road 238. Are we there yet?

 Eastern coast line

 Still smiling. It's only the beginning.

 Meet the locals at a small restaurant on the East coast

Our friendly neighbours 

After a long day's ride, even a bus stop shelter feels like paradise.

The observatory at Nichi no desaki campsite 

 Yumi and her neighbour Totoro 

We should have gone for a tamden bikes!

 Can we stay in your farm? it's cold outside, it's raining...and it's lunchtime!

 Entering bear territory. The one riding the pink bicycle was the scariest!

One of our numerous stops along the way. This was near Akanko in the mountains. "Energy" was much needed. 

When we said we set up camp in the disabled toilets of a "michi-no-eki" (a rest area), we were not kidding!

No comment... 

 26th August. Top of the pass. 13km of ascent in pouring rain and strong winds. Thomas swapped his Salomon (ex-) goretex trail shoes for Adda sandals. It worked!

A fantastic meal.  Pasta bolognese.  Free pizza from our neighbour. Polish vodka mixed with apple juice and mini limes. Great company. Beautiful views.  What more can you ask for?  

 That's what you see when you wake up at 5am

 Same place, 1h later

We had to stop to get Yumi's namesake melon.  Super yummy!

Bento box, a filling meal 

 The roads are fantastic and the drivers are very considerate.

Everything is "cute" in Japan, even the plastic bits that hold the road works security railings.

View from our campsite near Ashibetsu  

 Spiritual stop

 Ohhhh a bridge

Sapporo is getting closer!

 The freedom of having no panniers.

We arrived at Kenichi's place in eastern Sapporo on the afternoon of 29th August having cycled almost 1000km (974.33km) since leaving Tokyo.  We celebrated with a delicious homemade feast.  A big thank you to the Ikeda family for welcoming us into their home.


  1. Sounds like everything is going well with you. That 13 km ascent in the one picture is up to the Karikachi Pass. Did you happen to see the fox that kept me company on my night half way up the pass? Same weather conditions: rain and VERY strong gusting winds.
    It looks like you went for the luxury bus shelter. Did you ring for room service?

  2. The "Endless road Route 238" picture shows Cape Kamui in the background. That's about 74 km southeast of Cape Soya.

  3. no trace of the fox. or bear. phewww. we are very picky when it comes to bus shelters, you should have seen the ensuite, the onsen and the pachinko in the last one we stayed in :)