Japan. Onsen Explorer. Day 6. Matsumae. Hokkaido.

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June 21st 2019
Published: June 21st 2019
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Onsen Explorer. Day 7. Hokkaido.

Well, my washing was dry after a broken sleep caused by a bony pillow and a nameless person who chose to go bar chasing in the night and coming back flicking switches to make our room resemble a lighthouse on the Outer Hebrides.
Away at 9am for a 20 minute walk to the station for our train to Aomori and the connection to the Shinkansen train to Kikonai in Hokkaido. What a sleek machine this is, and so smoothly gliding along in luxurious splendour.
The weather is favouring us again, setting out at 8am in 19 degrees and getting hotter. Ken was waiting for us at Kikonai Station, where we donned our cycling clothes for another day in the saddle. The weather was significantly cooler on Hokkaido so jackets on for a steady ride through rice and onion/garlic country. Ken told us a little about the Shinto religion and showed us how to ring the bell and pray etc at the Shiriuchi Shrine. Along the valley a while before a climb and nice descent before lunch at Fukushima. I ordered curried noodles, well Ken did actually as the lady could not understand my Lancashire twang.
Whoa! My lips were clinically damaged for the rest of the day. Did they put the whole packet in?
A group of ten of us headed south to the south easterly tip of Hokkaido with a tail wind which made us whizz along very easily and by draughting the stronger ones. We know how to save energy. The point was rather cool when we stopped for photos so off we went quickly for the last 8 km with the wind mostly against us. I was third man behind Paul and eventually I became second all the way to the Ryokan in Matsumae, just losing 10 bike lengths at the end. Nearly had him - in my dreams. A great onsen at Matsumae, which is 1km from the most southerly point of Hokkaido, which has indoor and outdoor pools and a nice big room, for Paul and I, of 18 tatami mats. What more is there left to want? No rain for a start.

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