Warren
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Continuing my ride in Tohoku Japan on day six I am making my way to a placed called Oga. Its an out of the way small cape in the Akita prefecture which I have always wondered about.

A little cool leaving Morioka with some showers around so I switch to textile pants but am clear of it by Tazawa lake.

Its good riding again west but I did not stop as today’s route length is a bit ambitious.

Arriving on the Oga cape I am greeted by these cultural god like characters known as Namahage.

It’s almost lunch by the time I arrive at the ocean and this tranquil spot beckons me to stop. Very peaceful here with a gentle breeze.

The cape scenery and riding is just superb.

It’s really a special place and I am so glad I finally came to explore here. A little cloud tried to crash the party but I had a nice ride the whole way.

There is nice riding on elevated roads north of the cape which is mostly farming.

I’m going up that road in distance (sorry for poor image). This stone is a old times poem about the mountain I found in grass by chance.

Nice view up top of the farm lands that lie ahead of me. In the right season the roads down there are lined with displays of flowering plants but nothing this month.

After all the detours I had in part one I stop and checked at this sign then to my right noticed an overgrown temple so went for a walk. I think I need to do more of this. Master the slow ride.

I’ve just strung together some back roads this afternoon but it’s turned out to be another fantastic ride before I jump onto the expressway to my hotel in Odate to outrun some rain.

Day 7 and my run of luck with the weather continues. It’s a little cloudy but not raining.

This morning I am riding up Mt Iwate with its 69 switchbacks.

Well that’s the end of the front tyre at about 5000km. Never been a fan of Dunlops and that sentiment continues as this is lousy mileage from a touring tyre.

You cannot photograph this road from the ground like you can Stelvio. I tried at several places but there is no view of it (above image is from commons) so a selfie instead.

Some nice roads on my ride north this morning but it was grey and cold. Good way to warm up is have some ramen at a convenience store. Lawson often has a small eating area perfect for the biker on a day like this.

As I reached the top of the cape the sun started to filter through and the clouds were pulled away.

Japan is an amazing place to ride a motorcycle. One of the great riding destinations of the world.

How lucky am I to have the weather clear to warm sun just as I arrive. Living a blessed life.

Never mind the distorted bike, that happens with panorama shots if bike moves even slightly

By chance I discovered there is a second road that sits above running parallel to the coast road with lovely views like this as I make my way south.

Looking back to the cape as I ride into Aomori I love how the land seems to float in the mist in some parts of Japan. It’s a lot of work turning the bike now with the V shaped front tyre but I have just short way to my hotel.

First thing next day I take bike to shop. The tyres to be fitted are Bridgestone T31 GT spec. Expensive but still I am glad to be able to get this done today. Looking at all the new bikes on the shop floor reminds me on this tour I have been weighing up should I change mine. On most days I have taken a moment to evaluate virtually how another model would have been on the morning or afternoon and took notes on my phone. I will put that together in a separate post after the tour.

Not much to see while bike is in shop except hostess bars of which every town in Japan has hundreds. By far the biggest sex industry of any country on earth but you would never know it is all very discreet and foreigners strictly banned from entering of course. These small signs are all bars and this goes for 3 * 2 city blocks.

Not that I care. Nor do I pay any attention to what the locals think of me. It’s sometimes lonely but also bliss to be in my own little bubble. Anyway back to bikes, will you look at that sky! It’s too perfect so I decide to skip having the afternoon off and ride to Lake Towada. Better I go now than leave it and tempt Murphy’s Law on my return.

There is a problem with bike. The rear axle safety retainer bolt snapped off inside the swing arm. Mechanic assures me I can ride as is, main axle retainer will not come loose and get it looked at back in Yokohama. Ok, I guess.

Fantastic roads in the mountains south of Aomori. The T31’s feel odd but their new so I’m taking it easy.

Road bridges in rural Japan often have some decorative element. Someone has placed a mask on the bridges mascot to protect her from the virus. Things like this here delight me.

Some clouds arrive as my ‘lockdown hair’ and I reach the northern rim of Lake Towada caldera. But still a sight to enjoy.

What an amazing day to be sailing to Hokkaido. Cannot help but feel my spirit soar so high this morning.

The ship is almost empty. Last time I was on this journey the kitchen area was always busy. I have a carpeted room to myself so I take a nap.

First time to land Hokkaido and not be poor weather! The main highway north is quite scenic but no real spots to stop and take a photo.

This statue has some significance to me. I visited this small park off the main road by chance on my first ride to Hokkaido not long after leaving my career. At the time I was pondering many things having just received a generous job offer. I came back today and found the statue and this amazing view. So pleased I made the decision back then to stay on my new path, especially so now the virus will steal a couple of years from the time I have to do things.

In my eyes this statue is expressing the feeling of joy I get being on my motorcycle traveling somewhere new.

Japan is a young country like Iceland and still very volcanic. I start the day with a look at some evidence of that.

I am making my way east, I have a fair bit of ground to cover this tenth day of the tour. I normally would not set high daily mileage but I want to push a little and hopefully avoid the rains on my return.

But that doesn’t mean skipping any good roads. I stop for lunch below on route 274 which is an absolute cracker of a ride.

I find myself really enjoying the open countryside and free flowing roads of Hokkaido this trip.

Yet despite the blue skies here another hour I am in rain but I manage to ride though it and out the other side quickly on the expressway and arrive at my hotel dry.

I have twice before tried to visit the most easterly point of Japan and terrible weather forced me to abandon things. I fully expected the rule of threes to be invoked this trip, but it looks like I might get a go.

I am riding a road called the North Pacific Line and it is very scenic even in cloudy conditions.

Must get some waves here, that is smashed shell the white you can see on side of road.

The weather clears and today is turning into the highlight of this ride, its like a different country up here.

I have many photos at Cape Kiritappu (above) on my Canon and every one is out of focus (I cannot tell until I transfer them to a computer, my eyesight now weak). I’m done with that camera. It’s just a dead weight I am carrying around.

Wide smooth roads with no cars but cannot go too fast as there are deer a plenty. That’s ok I don’t want to rush any of this, the new spring leaves are a vivid green among the still dull winter foliage of the cedars.

And here I am. Most easterly point of Japan. I have been to the other three points, well at least on the main islands not the disputed regions. Speaking of which you can see the first of the four islands held by Russia since WW2 from here quite easy (below). Japan dreams to get them back but it will never happen.

Its a nice ride along the coast north to Shiretoko, another place that I have tried to see twice before and just when I think this will be it a huge cloud envelopes Mt Rausu and I am plunged into some very challenging conditions as the temperature falls to 4 degrees and visibility is a few metres.

Weather is highly variable up here and from sunshine on the east coast I emerge into dizzle and low rain clouds on the west of the range. Well I cannot complain as it had been a wonderful day.

Its raining and nothing much within walking distance so no dinner out tonight to mark the turn around point on this ride. Instead I opt for some instant ramen, pickles, Japanese fake cheddar and cheap (but good) Portuguese wine. That’s how I roll. I can have an extra glass and enjoy a late start tomorrow since heavy fog besets this region. Then it’s time to start back south, but still a lot more to see.

4 Comments

  1. Warren Sir,
    Amazing Article, Next week (18th july) i will be on 10 days tour to Tohoku + Hokkaido (But southern part only)
    This travel log is going to help me alot to plan my journey, i am entering to Hakkodate through Oma then return from Otaru to Niigata.

    Hope weather god clear my way.

    • That will be great ride Sanjeev, I hope the weather is favourable for you and look forward to seeing your photos.

      I am planning for August, focus on Shikoku and the inland sea, not sure if it will be too hot but shorter days I think it is possible I hope.

  2. Hi Warren. Great stuff as usual. I am riding to the tip of Honshu and back next week–10 day trip. I used your first few days as the basis–I’m starting of from Atami. Question: If I use Ride with GPS it doesn’t overlay on Google Maps does it? Seems like it will just give me text directions. Have you tried to follow before?

    Thanks
    John

    • Hi John,

      I’ve never tried to export to Google maps from Ride with GPS. I export to my Garmin GPS.

      You could try using Ride with GPS’s built in navigation app. That gives turn by turn navigation with map.

      Google maps has a 10 waypoint limit. To use long routes in it they would need to be cut into smaller segments. It might be easier to make these small routes directly in Google maps to ensure each remains under 10 waypoints.

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