Kawaguchiko to Izunagaoka
I am sat here drinking green tea again with a little cake just having been soaking in the Onsen. How decadent can you get? However, I think I have earned it having cycled 116km and climbed 1800 metres. We set off at 8.15 and finished at 4.30pm. We passed the smallest tea plantation ever today and caught a lady cutting the leaves with a machine and her husband following her shouting. I am sure he said ’come back you’ve missed a bit’. We set off this morning riding around Lake Kawaguchiko, complete with its own 'Big Dipper’
before a small climb into the hills. Small being a relative term, of course. We had a nice descent and then a long climb of maybe 7% before our morning tea stop. We are learning to cope with this gradient and not groan so much but the breathing still gets heavy. We have noticed some very elaborate manhole covers over the last few days and had photographed a few. Kathy did some research last night and it appears that there is a manhole cover appreciation society in Japan and there at about 9000 different patterns. The street lamps are often
also quite intricate with yesterday's sample looking like three flowers and today's looking like a person leaning forward holding the lamp.
The second lake we encountered today was busy with light craft and fishermen. There were pedalos looking like swans and there was even a large passenger boat shaped like a swan. Some local men had some models flying boats and other surface models which were whizzing along on the lakeside. We seem to have been circling Mt Fuji today since wherever we stopped for a break we had a magnificent view if it. We have taken pictures but sadly they may need a bit of touching up to bring out the true definition due to the haziness of the atmosphere of the Far East. Our lunch stop had to be modified since the restaurant chosen was not open so we bought supplies at a Family Store, where I bought some fish on a stick with memories of Kyushu last year. We then stopped at a Windmill Restaurant car park overlooking the volcano again. The area travelled through yesterday afternoon and today is very touristy so the roads tended to be busier. We had some of the best descents today
for miles on end, even though we had to pedal down some due to the strong wind. The town we have landed in is greenhouse and rice country and spread out along narrow roads. The Ryokan could be missed if you blinked and not even see it. It is basic but has a good Onsen with two pools and an outdoor one. The same for the ladies, of course. The lady here who is 75, and certainly does not look it, dressed all our ladies in Kimonos and they looked really good for a photograph. A night to remember. The meal was out of this world and they fussed over us incredibly. Japan the great destination.
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