Here’s the map for this stretch– Again, the Norikura section is not right (see previous post)
Nagano is my favorite city so far– we stayed at this amazing hostel/ guesthouse right in front of the main attraction of the Nagano town – the Zenkoji Temple. The guesthouse has been managed by the same family for six generation. In front of the hotel is actually a statue marking where the plaza of the Zenkoji temple was a hundred years ago before it was moved further uphill because of the fire.
Fantastic breakfast served at the Ryokan. So worth the 10 bucks. There were 3 different types of mushroom dishes. It’s mushroom season here, so the markets are teemed with so many different types of mushroom. We have tried most of them and they are fantastic
Side temple next to the Zenkoji the following morning. It was so nice to be able to take a five minute stroll outside of our guesthouse to check out the temple again the following day- it looks quite different in the morning.
Camped next to Matsumoto the next day- here’s Brady, cooking some mushroom. He’s been doing so well cooking one-pot-meals. This time, I spilled all the cooked udon into the stream when I was draining the pot…… 😦
The next day, we climbed Norikura Kogen- the highest road in Japan at 2700m. We started at 600m with a bit of ups and downs at the beginning for a total of 2400m ascend that day. To preserve our knees, we sent our camping gears into Takayama and only brought whatever was necessary for a hotel stay that night. It was nice!
Before a long tunnel– I sent my back panniers off and kept both of my front ones. It was so much more stable going uphill because of the even-load distribution. Brady was back heavy the whole entire time.
Finally, the top, 4 hours later. There were a few other cyclists who have driven with their cars to the halfway point (where cars were not allowed to go up anymore) and topped up. They were cheering us on.
And then the wonderful descent began– we didn’t have to pedal at all for 25~km or so. It was glorious. I had everything I own (down jacket, wind breaker, rain pants, mountaineering gloves) on. It was freezing cold up top and got really hot as we got to the lowlands.
We arrived to Takayama almost in the dark. We were starving!
Takayama was the first day off since we got to Honshu 14 days before.
Surprisingly, there were lots of tourists, which was surprising since I have never heard of Takayama before and was not expecting any sort of tourism/ attractions! The town is famous for the authentic Japanese style buildings that have survived since before the WWs.
We also went sake tasting at two places– it was aight. They all taste the same to me.
We are now 40km from Kyoto– where we will be staying for Friday night. From Kyoto – Osaka there’s a designated bike paths all the way through. I’m quite through with biking on busy busy highways with lots of truck traffics.