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.
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.
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.
Further 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.
breakfast— 8 different types of pickles with rice and tea (to wash out the vinegary salty taste)
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!
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….
The riding from Osaka, through Kobe, to Akashi was joyless. Lots of sidewalk riding.
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.—
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).
Passed 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.
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.
It’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.
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).
A 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.
Another ferry and we are in Shikoku!