Kyoto&Osaka– to Shodo Island~

We have now entered urban Japan– I was really excited because it’s the Japan that I remembered- with endless options for food, bright neon lights, and all young people dressed to impress out and about. From lake Biwa (Biwa-ko), we had an easy day entering Kyoto- not to mention that within 20km or so to Kyoto, they had bike lanes along the river– kinda reminds me of our Korea biking trip.

thumb_IMG_7677_1024Bike paths along the river into Kyoto….

We got to Kyoto rather early (it was a shortish 30mile ride from where we were staying) and hung out along the river with camembert cheese . It was Friday night so there were lots of people (dressed in suit) celebrating with beer picnic.

thumb_IMG_7683_1024

We were not feeling like checking out temples at Kyoto– so, we decided to just have some sushi and udon and call it a night.

thumb_IMG_7689_1024Further South in Japan (where we are- Osaka and Kyoto and South of Honshu), everybody bikes~ It is sooo impressive to see mamas or papas riding these “mamacharis”with kids both in the front and back, while balancing their umbrellas. These people are so much better at riding their bicycles than me.

thumb_IMG_7700_1024Please, people, please just kill a time.

thumb_IMG_7695_1024breakfast— 8 different types of pickles with rice and tea (to wash out the vinegary salty taste)

thumb_IMG_7699_1024Kyoto station- awesome building- they had a stage at the bottom of these stairs- I would love to have watched a concert here-the dome pictured, providing better sound resonance amphitheater style.

From Kyoto to Osaka- there’s bike paths along the river again (rejoice!). It was a Saturday so there were lots of activities along the river- kids playing baseball, parents teaching their kids to play tennis and roller skate– it was a hoot!

thumb_IMG_7701_1024Leaving Kyoto in the morning, meandered thru  a quiet alley- this is how Kyoto neighborhoods look like with no cars.

thumb_IMG_7703_1024More pretty awesome bike paths.

thumb_IMG_7705_1024More bike paths joy.

thumb_IMG_7709_1024Weekend festivities on the park near Osaka.

OSAKA! What a joy it was~ The last time we were in Osaka in February of 2015 (just 8 months ago!), we accidentally stumbled into a dingy, smoke-filled sushi joint where all the servers were old(er) Japanese men, the clients were all local and the sushi was out of this world. Brady declared that it was the best sushi he’s ever had in his life. Sooooo– this time around, we made the effort of taking a 30-minute train ride and what we thought was going to be a serious hunt for this place– We had nooo idea where this place was. I had a general idea of the neighborhood and I thought I would be able to find it if I was given a few hours….

 

thumb_IMG_7715_1024And we had to search through the mad crowd– it was a  Saturday night- so both tourists and Japanese alike flooded the are. It was gonna be so hard to find this place~

thumb_IMG_7831_1024After only 15 minutes of searching– WE FOUND THE PLACE~~ The place had just been redone probably a few months back– now they have a much better english menu, the inside is no longer dingy and dark.

thumb_IMG_7717_1024And still it was the best sushi EVER. We had maybe 40-50 pieces of sushi-sashimi that night. Under US$80!! Fantastic. We sat at the bar and just pointed at the very fresh fish.

thumb_IMG_7713_1024At the train station– Brady almost always hits his head.

thumb_IMG_7723_1024The next day- leaving Osaka– I thought this was absolutely insane~how many birds would it take to do such a damage? I would NEVER park here!

thumb_IMG_7688_1024These crazy elevated crossroad thingys for cyclists and pedestrians.

The riding from Osaka, through Kobe, to Akashi was joyless. Lots of sidewalk riding.

thumb_IMG_7722_1024Stopping at a grocery store– I love their bicycles parking lot.

thumb_IMG_7721_1024More bikers- doing their Sunday groceries.

thumb_IMG_7832_1024Sidewalk riding is the worst.

I was happily listening to a really good podcasts (shoutout to RADIOLAB!) when we were riding through Kobe, when I heard this really loud tire screeching sound, followed by a very heavy object flying through the air and thumping on the ground. I turned just in time to see Brady’s bicycle flew thru the air before violently hitting the sidewalk on its side.—

thumb_IMG_7725_1024The aftermath– Brady was OK– he didn’t see one of those short car-detractor-thingy in the back. Saw it at the last minute, brake really hard, swerved and flew thru the air

thumb_IMG_7726_1024Body check- everything was OK, except for his pedal that broke in half (almost) from all the impact on landing on it.

Good thing we were in downtown Kobe– we were 5 minutes away from a very nice bike store (I REALLY wanted to buy a light road bike there).

thumb_IMG_7728_1024So Brady got this blingy new pedal. All is good. May need new crank pretty darn soon, though.

thumb_IMG_7743_1024Passed thru the longest suspension bridge in the world, completed in 1998 after 10 years of construction. The distance between the main towers is almost 2000m. So swag. Akashi-Kaikyo bridge is the bomb.

thumb_IMG_7735_1024Entering Akashi town- it was almost sunset.

thumb_IMG_7739_1024The moon~

The next day, we biked a super short distance to Himeji castle- arriving there pretty early to be able to walk through the castle ground and be tourists.

thumb_IMG_7747_1024On the way out of Akashi- the weather is so much warmer here–

thumb_IMG_7754_1024Delicious ice cold noodles with pickles, chawan mushi and fried rice.

thumb_IMG_7755_1024

thumb_IMG_7767_1024

thumb_IMG_7762_1024

thumb_IMG_7777_1024It’s the most famous castle in Japan– it just completed with a 5 year long renovation earlier this year. Before this, you can’t really see the castle. Everything inside and outside seemed to be really refurbished. It was a gorgeous day.

thumb_IMG_7826_1024

thumb_IMG_7771_1024

thumb_IMG_7774_1024

thumb_IMG_7766_1024I was mostly fascinated with these people, painstakingly, artfully and very carefully trimming these large bonsais.

thumb_IMG_7759_1024There were lots of these gardener guys.

thumb_IMG_7824_1024The castle was very impressive- it has a moat all the way around it and very thick doors and tiny windows where you (way back when) can shoot people with bows and arrows

From Himeji, we took a ferry to Shodo Island– a tiny island (20 km across) to bike through Shodo to the other side of the island where we could take the ferry to Shikoku Island (Japan’s smallest and least populous of its four main islands).

thumb_IMG_7783_1024Breakfast- Brady’s obsession with Natto continues– look at that goo!

thumb_IMG_7781_1024Ugh.

thumb_IMG_7788_1024Morning ferry ride- it was really warm.

thumb_IMG_7795_1024Can you see meee?

thumb_IMG_7799_1024On the island- the roads were really empty and the views gorgeous. We are in the area called the “Inland Sea”– an area with chains of islands along the straits between Honshu and Shikoku.

thumb_IMG_7802_1024smooth beautiful road-

thumb_IMG_7801_1024beginning of our climb to 2200′

thumb_IMG_7805_1024High-speed-on-bike selfie

thumb_IMG_7829_1024

thumb_IMG_7827_1024

thumb_IMG_7808_1024For this view at the top- and an amazing descent.

thumb_IMG_7813_1024A little snack at the top. After hunting for over a month in Korea and Japan, Brady finally found skippy. This is a picture of an epic reunion- complete with leatherman to again emphasize Brady’s mountain man wannabe look.

 

thumb_IMG_7817_1024

thumb_IMG_7815_1024

thumb_IMG_7819_1024Giant statue on the way down.

Another ferry and we are in Shikoku!

 

PS:

thumb_IMG_7693_1024Brady (and his beard) says hi~

 

 

2 responses to “Kyoto&Osaka– to Shodo Island~

  1. More sushi, gooey breakfast, gorgeous decents, close calls, and the best smiling selfie yet! Love the fushia top among the grays.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s