Thomas made a friend on the ferry to Shikoku
Baseball is huge in Japan. This game was in Tokushima, the biggest city in Shikoku (263,000 people) and our arrival port on this island
There are plenty of signs and statues on the road to keep us smiling.
Apparently this is a raccoon (on the left, of course). Thomas thinks it is a fat Ewok with a Vietnamese hat.
We have met many ohenro-sans during our ride along the southern coast. These pilgrims walk 1,200km stopping at each of the 88 Sacred Temples around Shikoku. They are hardcore!
1.2 km ride up to Temple 24. Too busy cursing and sweating to enjoy the view on the way up and going way too fast to enjoy it on the way down.
Offerings left on the steps of the temple (5 yen coins).
Although the clouds often hung around the horizon, the sunsets were still beautiful.
Sometimes you find hidden treasures during pee breaks.
It's not only people who stop and look at us. 3 of them decided to cross the road in front of us.
Shikoku's coastline is absolutely gorgeous. We don't mind hill climbs with views like this.
Up until Shikoku, we had been averaging about 85km a day. With all its interesting people, fantastic food and amazing scenery, our average has dropped down to 60km.
Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan. Shinto shrines can be found everywhere: in between houses, on a tiny island, in a park, on the road in the middle of nowhere. The main entrance to a Shinto shrine is a torii (gate), which is often painted a bright vermilion.
You also come across many natural shrines: waterfalls, trees and rocks decorated with Shimenawa (sacred rope).
There are rest areas with clean, free toilets everywhere in Japan.
Having some fun at the beach. Seeing nobody on the beach for miles gave us a good clue. The current was too strong to go for a swim and being taken offshore was not part of our plans.
A charming "gaijin" (foreign) couple on a deserted beach.
Thomas's makeshift tripod/artwork.
After only 47km of riding, we ran into Hagimori san (aka serious monk) who invited us to stay in his purpose built pilgrim rest area (zenkon yado). We couldn't resist his charm and a free roof over our heads next to the beach. After commenting that his "rest room" sign could be misinterpreted by Americans, he quickly put us to work to make new signs.
29th September, 3000km completed and we still have big smiles on our faces.
We stopped in the cute little town of Tosakure to try Kochi prefecture's famous Katsuo no tataki (lightly charcoal braised bonito) -the bottom right plate that is-. Delicious!