I’ve been watching the weather looking for a couple of mild days to go riding so when I saw 10° ☀️ forecast I packed my bag.
The evening before it rained with a minimum 1° and seeing ice on my railing I gingerly rode down to the port.
The sea was covered in a low layer of steam but it’s going to be a glorious day.
Very quiet sailing thanks to the covid situation. I counted no more than 12 people travelling and five were young guys on dirt bikes. Those nobby tyres would be slippery.
More steam on the ocean when docking. Caused by cold air over warmer water as far as I know.
Just south of the ferry is a small hill called Daikokuyama which I read had a view deck although no info how to access it. I saw there was a temple at base so figured that would be a logical start.
A small but steep hike was bit of workout wearing motorcycle gear, then I was rewarded with this superb view.
Inland from here rises a small mountain called Tomiyama that I read also has a viewpoint but again no info how to access.
I approached initially from the west and came to a road closed sign but ignored and carried but found the sign was not lying.
I explored some farm roads looking for another way and by sheer luck stumbled upon the access road. Well it began as a road, then deteriorated into two overgrown wheel tracks with a steep gradient. No further photos – trying to get a heavy tourer with road tyres up a slippery forest track was scariest riding I have done since the Sani pass in South Africa.
There was a nice picnic table at the end of road with this view then a hike to the very top.
I was totally surprised to be able to view Mt Fuji. I’ve never read anyone report this possible from Chiba. Just below Fuji you can see a small hill – that is Diakokuyama where I first visited today.
Before leaving the mountain I rang the bell lightly at a tiny shrine and asked for a little good fortune for my descent and it went well.
I perhaps could do with a ADV bike to explore Japan more. Yet something with all the trimmings like the Africa Twin or GS literally dwarfs my FJR, which is not small to begin with. I was thinking on the descent this morning if I was on something that massive it might have been even harder than on my tourer.
Just using the iPhone 12 again this trip to see if it could replace my camera. Yes and no.
I skipped my usual picnic lunch rest today and had quick bite at the 7/11 to try make up some time but later regretted that decision. The journey is the destination and tranquil lunch break someplace is my favorite part of any day touring. Lots of nice parks in Chiba too.
I’ve been further evaluating the Macna pants and will write that up soon. Lots of salt had been applied on the roads to melt or stop ice so I was riding in salty slush at times but the pants conceal any road grim very well.
Skipping a long lunch gave me time to visit Kururi castle on my ride which was a long hike. It turned out to be quite modest but look at that winter sky – wow!
However a pleasant outlook from the grounds made it worth the climb.
There are temples everywhere in Japan and I don’t stop at many but this one caught my eye so I turned around for a look.
From the old to the new. I made a detour to see this striking building. A museum of modern art with viewings by invitation, so it’s basically someone’s private art gallery, someone very wealthy.
A short route yet I still ran out of time and arrived my hotel at sunset.
Returning the next day it is sunny after a another cold night. I hope roads are dry as I will be on backroads which I doubt will have salt applied.
I revisited a park from my last ride but the landscape is in full winter mode. Leaving here I experience my first minor ice of the ride. I was going very slow already as it was still damp in full shadow of trees then one section looked suspect so I was slowly rolling downhill using only rear brake and things got very slippery but I managed to roll clear. I think if I had touched front brake it would have been bad.
I spent much of today exploring. I went to look at another lesser known viewpoint and this time the road up was no challenge.
The view was nothing special but there was a nice picnic area and I enjoyed lunch there before making my way down where I had another ice encounter.
This time I had plenty of warning, puddles on side of road were frozen. I was pointing them out to myself saying ice… ice… then of course the song by 90’s singer Vanilla Ice popped into my head😅. Did you know he won three motocross championships prior to his music career? Anyway when I came upon water across road I assumed the worse and lucky I stopped as it was frozen. I could get around it and continued on with that song in my head.
More minor roads to another view area but this one was closed. Testing another oddball lens only onboard camera I picked up cheap and it’s good except for lens flare in direct sunlight.
If I cannot travel in 2021 I might look at a small trail bike. Riding my luxo-liner I was glad to get back on some good roads and made my way down to the coast.
I had one more place to visit, a temple near the ferry port. I was not expecting much but was surprised to find a sprawling complex that dates back 1300 years!
There was a huge stone carving and many caves then a 1500 step climb to the top of the mountain to a panoramic view. I started to hike up but soon realised it would take ages and I would not make the ferry so I parked that one for next time.
Another fantastic overnight ride in Chiba, an area that does not seem to rate well with Japanese or get a mention as a domestic tourist destination. Normally the skies above are full of noisy jet planes with it being close to Narita and Haneda airports but now it’s quiet and feels much further away than just across Tokyo bay.