Japan. Honshu

May 21st 2016
Published: May 21st 2016
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With the odd transfer.
Japan Honshu Summary
I am on the long flight home as I write this. 11 1/2 hrs on Lufthansa Airlines eating good food for an airline. We had three train journeys this morning including a 30 min journey on the Shinkansen ( bullet train). We were amazed how many there were travelling from the south to and from Tokyo they were passing through at 5 minute intervals at amazing speeds. Japan continues to be an amazing country for a cycle journey and this year the island of Honshu has lived up to the expectation. The landscape is dramatic with hills, mountains and plains with lush countryside provided by its abundant rainfall. Yes, it rains in Japan - every month and maybe every week. As a consequence the hills can be shrouded in mist, but that is a common feature of the Far East. The people are extremely polite and helpful and we were waved off on many occasions when leaving our Ryokans. Ryokans are the traditional Japanese hostels with the straw tatami mats on the floor in your room. Everyone is provided with a Katami, which you can put on straight away and go to the Onsen for a shower and
hot bath in the natural spring. You can keep this on all evening for the evening meal, which traditionally is taken sat cross legged on the mat floor. However, they seem to offer us stiff legged westerners low chairs, or pits under the table to allow us to sit comfortably. The food is vastly different to our normal diet, consisting of a high protein and low carb diet. Lots of fish with rice and noodles, a good range of vegetables and fruit. Green tea with no milk, of course. Most Japanese people are short and very slim and busy people. The cars are generally quite new and small utility van/box types. There are many larger cars but not many Chelsea Tractors. Most are Japanese built with just a few German and American cars. The farms are very small with small tractors and machinery for cultivating the soil including rotovators. The hills are covered in trees of all species, including bamboo and loads of softwoods and are not fenced and not harvested much. The towns all look to be quite recent builds of concrete with tile or tin roofs. The countryside seems to have a few derelict buildings in places. The roads are generally in good condition and traffic is generally not fast and courteous to cyclists. There are quite a lot of traffic lights on built up areas but they give a good time for each direction of travel so you tend not to race to beat the lights, which is good. Overall it is a great place to visit and is very sophisticated and safe with a rich history. Go there.

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