Warren
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Continuing my tour day seven from Saijo I am riding one of my favourite roads in Shikoku the New Hamako Mountain Line.

Blast past a couple of couple slow cars then a circle bridge marks the beginning of the ascent.

Above is just a small portion. A very long tunnel then beautifully surveyed road follows the river.

It is truly a wonderful morning with the light still not harsh filtered over the impossibly green landscape.

I turn off to look for a view point I found using Street View. A series of switch backs brings me to another view area that I did not know about looking down where I came from.

Riding on a little more to the top I can there see the view in opposite direction out to the ocean.

The park grounds seem to have been mowed recently but the road up here is all but abandoned. Impressive view despite the haze. Would be great spot to lunch another time.

I ride on to the Shonai peninsular and revisit Mt Shiude. Quite a hike from the car park but a fantastic place for a rest. A slight breeze cools me but does not shift the considerable haze below.

On a bike you know when it is about to rain even without looking at the sky. The temperature drop, the wind picks up. I rode into a small storm this afternoon but it was welcome in the 35 degree sticky heat. Besides putting my phone and wallet to cover I never bothered with any rain gear.

This is Yuki. We met on the ferry to Shodoshima. Despite neither of us having a good grasp of the others language love of motorcycling can bridge any barrier. This chance meeting restored some of my natural good faith in people.

Last thing today I went looking for a somewhat unknown viewpoint. I pack some water as it is still crazy hot and set off. I could not reach the top as the path has collapsed but pretty impressive spot all the same.

Very fortunate the haze cleared and I have some golden light illuminating this view. This spot is fair way from my hotel so I climb down before it gets too late.

The luxury on tour knows no bounds. Actually after a big day I just want to relax in room and plan tomorrow so dinner from 7/11 across street is perfect. You will always find a microwave in any Japanese hotel in the vending machine area.

I decided to take the ‘Blue Line’ in morning instead of the equally tempting Shodoshima Skyline and was not disappointed. Fantastic roads every direction here.

I am drawn back a place I have visited before for some quiet contemplation. This view never gets old. I have no chance to do my planned rides overseas this year but there is a lot I have enjoyed this trip.

From this platform is 360 view across the sea to mainland or Shikoku.

Rather than rush I just enjoyed a couple of spots at leisure and left plenty for another visit.

As I master the slow ride more I turn around after passing a view. The photos don’t always capture things as the eye sees them but it is better to have tried then not then be thinking I wish I had. I think that applies to much in life. My ferry leaves from that small town below the switchbacks.

So long Shodshima, you were great and I will visit you again. Lunch is on the high seas, ha-ha actually the water is dead calm just wanted to say that. The ferry network in Japan is superb and it is always interesting to arrive somewhere by water when moto touring here.

One last look back at Shodoshima from a small viewing place on Kakui island in Okayama prefecture then it’s time to get moving.

I originally was going to revisit the Wakasa railway this afternoon but there was heavy rain that direction so I turn towards the blue sky and my hotel via some easy riding roads.

I planned to have a Indian dinner (run buy couple of guys from the Ladahk region I rode previous) but day off for that shop so a fantastic Hokkaido style soup curry for dinner from the Hotto Motto takeaway obento chain tonight.

Entering Kyoto prefecture I ride some back roads in very pretty valley. Here I stop at the value priced 100Y vending machine next to a community market stall, bus stop and post box. Gotta love countryside Japan.

Slightly cooler day nine before the sun reaches higher in the sky. Route 162 is popular rider road. If you look carefully can just make out a old grass roof house in right of frame. These remain in use in countryside Japan.

It has become very hot and very green by the time I reach Obama but what a day.

Photography note: In this image the summer rice actually was super green but still appears saturated since the background has been darkened. The tiny sensors do this as they lack dynamic range and harsh midday sun is poor for photography. Images on the blog are a compromise. Almost 60% of visitors are now using a phone and anyone familiar with Instagram will know dark images look less attractive as thumbnails so recently I lift the shadows more than in the past which on desktop screens if set for gaming or multimedia can appear saturated – no one fix suits all.

Last two times I tried to ride the Angel Scenic Line it was closed but today I am in luck.

It is such a nice spot I decide to have a long break from the searing heat. Thank you Mr Shady Tree.

Interlude: Beginning of this ride I mentioned foreign residents not being able to renter Japan (*see below) and might have seemed bitter. However I realised on this ride the majority of Japanese people don’t reflect their government policies. I’m mostly treated with respect and still have freedoms many people will never know. Sensible handling of Covid here has allowed life to carry on whilst heavy handed actions have crippled other countries.

As for overseas travel some of EU and Turkey are open and I would love to ride them next month. However borders are in a state of flux and I could easy end up being forced back to Australia which the government has made very difficult and expensive for it’s citizens. It’s probably best I wait a bit longer, although time lost can never be recovered… Ok time to ride again.

I try to only look forward in life but when riding occasionally the best view is over my shoulder. Fukui sure is a pretty region.

From Obama I made my way to the Okubiwako Parkway. A scenic road that runs along the shore of Biwa Lake.

They call New Zealand the ‘land of the long white cloud’ but that description also suits Japan. The ‘big skies’ like Australia (and Philippines) has are rare here.

Still it is a pretty place in it own right as I try to capture in my photography although still fall short of real views.

What a fantastic day. I think it would be even nicer here once the sun dips and this strong light softens but it is incredibly hot this afternoon hitting 39 so I elect to call it a day and get to my hotel nearby.

Homeward bound day ten. Mostly highway today. But I detour a little in Aichi prefecture to break it up.

My intended route is closed, this area had very heavy rains end of monsoon. I ride an impromptu route which turns out pretty good. Difficult to ride bad roads in Japanese countryside.

Regular readers might recognise this spot. I have stopped here every Autumn with my bike on other side of road. A nice window on the Japanese countryside from an otherwise tree enshrouded forest road.

Another good Autumn photo spot. Happy my engine stall problem has finally been fixed. This ride was so much better for it and I can park my idea of changing bikes for awhile. If I can travel then I’ll choose to use money to do that rather than a new bike so I did not play any road games this tour but did realise if my screen was not adjustable this ride would have been miserable so that is something I make a note of for future.

Just highway for last few hours. It’s been 33-39 degrees riding for ten days I am feeling fatigue creep in so this is good time to take advantage of the FJR’s mile munching ability. It’s been a great tour, as always when I ride Japan everything ‘just works’.

4 Comments

  1. Another successful tour by this account, even though it was a scorcher. Love your photos again Warren, especially the second last one, absolutely brilliant. I wouldn’t be too concerned about getting overseas to tour other places, looks like you’ve got something pretty special right where you are now. I’m simply amazed by the infrastructure that Japan has put in place in remote areas. That doesn’t happen here in Australia.

    Nice jorgay cap by the way.

    • Thanks Steve,

      The amount of infrastructure here, particularly the roads is impossible to grasp. Where I would ride the same roads over and over in Australia I am yet to ride everything here and when I do revisit the best roads it might only be for 2nd time and perhaps in reverse. Every ride still feels fresh.

  2. Nice RR and great pictures. I was going to say, ‘sorry for the xenophobia” but then you commented that most everyday folk are not that way and are hospitable. I was glad to read that.
    Thanks for the nice story!

    • Hi Kenneth, thank you for the feedback 🙂

      On this ride I was emotionally working through many things that unfolded with covid19. First I was angry with Japan then after with my own countries government and the xenophobia in the population. I’m still angry today but have slowly come to accept.

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