Page 3 of Pennyfarthing Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Japan » Hokkaido » Otaru June 11th 2019

Onsen Explorer. Day 11. Tuesday Yoichi. Hokkaido. Short climb to start the day after visiting the source of the hot spring 200m above the Ryokan, which was running into a stream at a very nice warm temperature. As usual, the descent was very fast with some great bends. Half way down there was a good unobstructed view of the 1900 metre Mount Yotei, which is a mini version of Mt.Fuji. Stopping for a morning snack in the town below we had another great view of the peak and also the winter ski runs on another hillside. The valley was very fertile and intensively farmed with big tractors, quite a few were American John Deere’s, which is a rarity where very few vehicles are non Japanese. I have only seen three such cars, one old mini, one ... read more
Whisky museum

Asia June 10th 2019

Onsen Explorer. Day 10 Rankoshi. 100km. 1030m ascent. We love the sun and are getting plenty of it. Japanese breakfast at our Ryokan at Shimomaki on Sea and, as usual, a very nutritious affair. As I waited for breakfast I sauntered down to the docks and watched the locals gutting fish from the overnight catch with some black birds, maybe ravens, waiting for their breakfast. The wind was very strong and against us for 40km but it did not detract from the spectacular coastline of ruggedness and the many fishing villages and ports, despite many being run down and bedraggled. The owner of the Ryokan had her son and husband out at sea fishing and she said they were doing ok. I saw five herons fishing in the shallow water along the way and one even ... read more

Asia » Japan June 9th 2019

Onsen Explorer Day 9. Sunday. 100km. 750m ascent. Breakfast Was very good again with sausage, scrambled egg, salad and potato wedges. Rice etc plus croissants and strawberry jam. The day was bright and dry again as we crawled up the hill from the Ryokan in preparation for our descent to the coast. Heading north we encountered the nasty headwind again and I had to put on my long sleeved top for a while until I warmed with effort. The coastline was similar to yesterday with volcanic rock, sometimes as flat as a pancake where it must have rolled on the flat sea bed before solidifying and then tall rocky outcrops of various shapes. Did I ever say that there were tunnels in Japan? Well today was proof that there are, with several short ones in the ... read more
Telephone box
Bear country.
Tsunami evacuation point?

Asia » Japan June 9th 2019

Onsen Explorer Day 8. Saturday Shimamaki Another dry sunny day. We could get used to this. Heading north up the coast again with an east wind which helped occasionally. The scenery was very pleasant as it nearly always is on the coast. Rugged rocky outcrops and small islands out at sea where there must have been many shipwrecks in the past as indicated by the small lighthouses everywhere. Lunch was had at a small fishing village called Esashi. It is famous for a 17th century 3 masted Dutch steam ship which once ran aground here in a storm. After salvaging many items 40 years ago a 30 yr old replica was built and it is moored alongside the dock, a mighty beast painted black with the masts reaching up to the sky. It is now used ... read more
Original Canon
Fishing nets

Asia » Japan June 7th 2019

Onsen Explorer Day 7. June 7 2019 Today was a short train ride to Aomori where we caught the Shinkansen to Kikonai, Hokkaido under the Tsugaru Straight. A pleasant journey on a sleek and quiet train. After getting changed into our cycling clothes we headed south and around the coast up to Matsumae. The first stop was at a Shinto Temple where we were told about how they operate and how to pray. Ring the bell, bow twice, clap twice, pray and bow once before the final ring. About 25km further on we saw our van and trailer nosed into a deep ditch and Ken looking on in puzzlement. Apparently he had stopped to take photographs and failed to apply the handbrake whereupon it chose the path of least resistance- vertically downwards. Ken rang for assistance ... read more
Shinto Temple
Nose dive.
Matsumae Castle.

Asia » Japan June 6th 2019

Onsen Explorer. Day 6 6th June. Apologies. We were at Henashi yesterday not the Hirosaki Grand hotel. The start today was back up the hill onto the main road to follow the coast northwards alongside rocky outcrops and between many more rice fields. The weather was overcast for part of the day with some sun and cooler at 19 degrees, opposed to the mid 20’s of previous days. Lunch was at a supermarket in a small fishing town before we went to see a famous dog called Waseo. Apparently, it was found abandoned in the supermarket car park and a local shopkeeper took it in and it is now famous all over Japan. It is a breed of Japanese fighting dog which is put into competitions where gambling takes place. Say no more. We were promised ... read more
The dog and its wife.
Hirosaki Castle

Asia » Japan June 5th 2019

Onsen Explorer Day 5. 5th June 2019 Awake at 4am and could not sleep so up at 5 to see the waterfall 100 metres above our Ryokan. Quite impressive. The owner is up tending to his animals hens, ducks and dogs etc. At 7 his wife is up sweeping the floor. Heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast for lunchtime until well through the night. I need to pack my cape and overshoes plus goose grease instead of sun cream. I can’t wait. Great breakfast at hotel 300m away with usual Japanese fare plus scrambled egg,bacon, sausage and buns with jam. After setting off at 8am the sun came out and it was soon 25 degrees as we travelled along the valley for ever through big rice country. A rice planting machine was in action plus some people ... read more
Outside Onsen. Hirosaki.

Asia » Japan June 4th 2019

Onsen Explorer Day 4 Another great sunny day started off with a nice Japanese breakfast with rice, miso soup, tofu, fish, fish plus some fish. We cycled together for most of the day and I mean together in a rather loose way but this helped the traffic pass us safely. As yesterday afternoon we saw a lot of Japanese knotweed along the roadside. We also entered serious rice production with vast expanses of planted crops but in the early stages of growth. Tractors were cultivating the submerged soil and others were planting mechanically. It is a shame we are a little early to see the small rice combine harvesters in action. The cicadas were out in force again, especially in the large forested areas we passed. Needless to say I have been photographing manhole covers (well ... read more
Clitheroe Kids.
Woodpecker road.

Asia » Japan » Hokkaido June 3rd 2019

Onsen Explorer day 3 A great day of continuous sunshine started with a 5km climb just to get our lungs working on this 52 mile ride to Yukisawa with a total climb of 1000m. Much of the ride was undulating accompanied by a few million Cicadas chirping in the background wearing their hind legs out. What amazed us was the volume of unmelted, and unmelting snow on the hillsides in temperatures in the mid 20’s, which was perfect for cycling. Our first tea break was by a river running quite fast and falling down several spectacular waterfalls, one of which was called Kumoi. Lunch was at a small town by lake Towadako where I had delicious eggs noodles st 1026JPY. This was followed by a climb of 5 miles which felt like 10 miles to several ... read more
One Km tunnel.
Ryokan bedroom. .
waiting for dinner

Asia » Japan » Aomori June 1st 2019

Day 1&2 Arrival at Sakura Onsen Early rise today with taxi to Manchester Airport at 4am. to start a 4 week stay in Japan going on an 11 1/2 hr flight to Tokyo airport. The next flight was to Aomori and a shuttle bus to Sakura Onsen, our resting place for the night. We arrived at the Sakura Onsen at 1530. That is 28 hrs, 3 flights and 2 bus journeys after leaving home in Clitheroe. We met Kenichi and Daisuke upon arrival and set out on fixing our hire bikes up for the days ahead. The smell of sulphur is pretty strong and some would say offensive to the olfactory organs others may say, ’What a pong’. Excited to get closer to the source of this stink made us get ready for a soak in ... read more
Sakura Onsen reception.

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