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April 14th 2017
Published: April 14th 2017
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Day2. Kyoto to Nara. 52k

Sixteen on this popular tour with our top guide Ken and his helpers Saori and Shogu. It was great to be able to set off at 9.30, after setting our bikes up, in warm sunshine in shorts and shirt, with a light jacket for 2 Hrs only. Once out of the city on busy roads and pavements we hit the river and followed its course on cycleways for just about all of he say to Nara. The sky was blue with a slight headwind and we observed the small birds chirping merrily away and an egret standing in the river looking for a meal. The riverbank is quite fertile and was home to manny small farmers growing vegetables and loads of small tea plantations covered in black netting. There were also lots of small factories and businesses along the route and houses of all descriptions with flat and corrugated tin roofs to the elaborate black tiled roofs with magnificently manicured trees in the garden. We were surprised by how many road cyclists we saw on our way, until we realised it was Good Friday and many could be on holiday. We crossed many roads and bridges and had to wait often on busy roads which were controlled by traffic lights. It is not done to walk across a road on red and we had to wait with the locals and not dash across when the traffic cleared. Damn. For the first time in four visits to Japan we have hit the blossom season head on and passed hundreds of trees in full blossom looking absolutely glorious. We stopped at one area where there was a large. car park and hundreds of people all there to view and photograph the spectacle. An added bonus was a young bride in white having photos taken under the cherry blossom on a gentle slope.
The hotel was reached at 1.30pm and we left our bags until our rooms were ready after 3pm. Off we went for a lunch of soup and noodles for the princely sum of 611 Yen (£4.65) and then on to the Todai-JI Temple where we saw supposedly the largest Buddha in the whole world. It needed a good dusting down, I think the highlight was trying to crawl throughout s square hole cut into the bass of a large wooden pillar holding up the building. Unfortunately I was just too large to get through without serous injury so had to be dragged out backwards way with a promise to cut back on the carbos. Result a plate full of noodles for our evening meal. I need an early night now after lacking sleep last night, which was far too short after following a long day flying from Manchester with virtually no sleep. We are told it will be a long day tomorrow with a long hair pin hill climb to over 1000 metres. Bedtime calls.

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