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Thread: Tokyo Wakayama Shikoku Kyushu Chugoku Kinki Chubu Tokyo, 2 weeks

  1. #1

    Default Tokyo Wakayama Shikoku Kyushu Chugoku Kinki Chubu Tokyo, 2 weeks

    hey all, quick summary of November trip to all the above. Done on a 15yr old BMW RT.
    Somewhere over 3,500km, 13 days, 2 nights in hostel / hotel, 10 camping (Only paid for 1 camp, rest were free!):

    Day 1:
    I left Tokyo on the Tomei, to get past Hamamatsu, then turned off south to the Irago ferry near Tahara. Took the ferry to Toba in southern Mie, bypassing Nagoya. From the ferry i rode another 100km down the coast towards Nachi Falls, stopping after Owase and sleeping in a Tsunami Tower at the beach. Note: Suzuki and Yamaha museums are closed Mondays!

    Day 2:
    Nachi Falls, then very exciting back roads exiting at Kamitonda, heading on to Wakayama (went to see the castle), for another ferry to Tokushima, Shikoku. Short nap on the ferry, with free wifi (but slow). Slept on beach (campsite closed), should have used the tower. Rained. A lot.

    Day 3:
    Zentsuji temple and pagoda. Lots of old bikers signing hello. South into some beautiful ravines and Koboke Canyon. Lots of old bridges. Kawarazu rope bridge. I missed the Peeing Boy statue. Then out to the highway for a blast south to stop north of Kochi. Camped in Hokigamine Forest Park.

    TBC
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  2. #2

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    Day 4:
    Turns out campsite was over a dam.
    Off to Robot statues at Anpanman museum at Kami City. Cool! Then back to Shikoku Automobile museum for exotic cars. This is an amazing collection of beautiful cars and bikes. http://www.vistanet.co.jp/museum.htm
    Behind the museum, I saw an imposing western castle on the opposing hilltop, and it's on top of some cracking roads, wrapped on top of themselves. The views down over Kochi on the sparkling coast to the south are so clear. Turns out itís an abandoned theme park. Bad juju. Dropped my bike while turning, scratched up one side. More on that later.
    Then NW into the mountains. Awesome roads. Then did them again, as it turns out the road is closed due to typhoon damage! I missed the signs, or rather didnít really read them, dismissing them as more roadwork notices. I end up retracing an hour, to get to where I should have stopped, and itís the second backtracking today. So a couple of hours ďlostĒ, but Iím not upset as the rides were great crack. At one point i passed Riders Cafť (よさこい茶屋/rider'z cafe k40, closed).
    Later, i get to Ishizuchisan.jp, which is also closed, Backtrack again! But today has been great.
    Campsite - couldnít find it, itís now a construction staging area. So had to find a new one, about 15km on. Itís just below the road level, over the river. Free, has WC and simple services. French cycling couple there too.
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  3. #3

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    Day 4:
    Shikoku Karst. As itís on a ridge,-and I was above the cloud line, views were intermittent as the clouds blew up and over. It was a few minutes before I even saw the two giant wind turbines! Two bikers came buy, I chatted to one to see how the road ahead was. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, it was terrific. After climbing for over 90 minutes, now it was time to go down. As before, the road is schizophrenic. In the space of one minute, it can go from a wide two lane with all the features, to a single lane, nut cracking greater-than-u-turns with no barriers just a free drop. Thank god for the corner mirrors, where they still exist, to avoid the worst of scares at the wrong time. A couple of false alarms as I mistook sunlight on white fence for a coming kei car. Note: Coming off karst, some roads were closed. Tsunami damage has damaged and closed many roads.

    Shikoku is definitely the land of bridges (under construction, in use, there but closed, and not there but was) and dams. Lost count of how many I passed.

    Stopped at one of the Michi no Ekis. Shikoku is well set up for cycle tours. About half of Shikoku is perfect for cycling. The other half is uphill.

    Heading to the Ferry from Misaki, west Shikoku 3hrs to Saganoseki, near Oita (just south of Beppu on east coast of Kyushu). Takes 70mins
    Www.koku94.jp
    That ride up here (Misaki) was hopping from one side of the ridge to the other. Up much higher than I thought, overlooking stunning seascapes and big drops, although better protected than the small roads yesterday. Looking back along the coast, there are so many wind turbines, facing the south to the pacific.
    On the ferry with the Minion trucks. Fast in and empty, fast load and go.
    In the ferry lounge ĒwatchingĒ figure skating. Why does one of the coaches have a Sean The Sheep bag in the scoring closeups? Subtly criticizing the judges decisions?
    The ferryís got free wifi too. Do you remember the early days of the Internet, when youíd watch a page load line by line? And Iíd try and guess the picture before it finished. Yup.
    Off the ferry. Original campsite is closed, so i head on to the hills over Beppu. its about Y500. Overlooks the swan boats.
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  4. #4

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    Day 5: Kyushu
    So the rain stopped and the tent has dried out fully. Yay! But. Dropped bike while loading, on same side (right). The center stand just pivoted in the dirt. Iím a moron. My crap wasnít quite everywhere, but my language was. Iíve broken the right bag latch. So I had to use two straps to hold it on. For the rest of the trip.
    Anyway. On to Yufuin, where i spend most of the day in Retrocar Museum and then the Iwashita Collection. Both, while different, have amazing collections of classic cars and motorbikes (and more). Great people to talk to too.
    The village itself is cool, a lot of Chinese and Korean tourists. a nice vibe to the place, with the mountains behind.
    Then on south to Daikanbo, overlooking Aso volcano ring. On the way i pass this huge pedestrian bridge, a major tourist draw. Afterwards, it's dark as i get into Aso and the Michi No Eki gives me the latest road closings. The 111 road south from Aso is open, as this night I stay in Aso Hostel, to keep the ride for tomorrow.

    A big thanks to Gaijin Riders for these suggestions on these sites and also road closures. And ADVRider where a journo who wrote about Iwashita collection and his private tour by the owner of the offsite storage areas.
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  5. #5

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    Day 6 Kyushu: Aso thru Kumamoto to Shimabara
    Start the day with the ride up to Aso Caldera, although the cable car is still closed. Lots of bikers to chat with!
    Then south, lunch at Strong Boss Saloon and on to Kenny Road. The weather is terrific, and i'm grinning most of the day.
    From here i head to see Tsujun Hyo (funky bridge), where i meet three ancient guys on Harleys, two being trikes, which are popular in Kyushu it seems. Lots of road around here are closed with detour signs everywhere.
    Arriving at Kumamoto Black Caste, the earthquake damage is still very raw.
    Then ferry to Shimabara, with a quick visit to the White Castle and the Samurai Quarter, before a cautious night ride into Unzen Hell to camp, watching for animals.
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  6. #6
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    Default Tokyo Wakayama Shikoku Kyushu Chugoku Kinki Chubu Tokyo, 2 weeks

    Quote Originally Posted by BansheeBiker View Post
    Day 5: Kyushu
    So the rain stopped and the tent has dried out fully. Yay! But. Dropped bike while loading, on same side (right). The center stand just pivoted in the dirt. Iím a moron. My crap wasnít quite everywhere, but my language was. Iíve broken the right bag latch. So I had to use two straps to hold it on. For the rest of the trip.
    Anyway. On to Yufuin, where i spend most of the day in Retrocar Museum and then the Iwashita Collection. Both, while different, have amazing collections of classic cars and motorbikes (and more). Great people to talk to too.
    The village itself is cool, a lot of Chinese and Korean tourists. a nice vibe to the place, with the mountains behind.
    Then on south to Daikanbo, overlooking Aso volcano ring. On the way i pass this huge pedestrian bridge, a major tourist draw. Afterwards, it's dark as i get into Aso and the Michi No Eki gives me the latest road closings. The 111 road south from Aso is open, as this night I stay in Aso Hostel, to keep the ride for tomorrow.

    A big thanks to Gaijin Riders for these suggestions on these sites and also road closures. And ADVRider where a journo who wrote about Iwashita collection and his private tour by the owner of the offsite storage areas.
    Sounds like a good trip, apart from a little hiccup here and there.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87)]Best to enter a corner slow and exit fast, than enter fast and exit [/COLOR]dead[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87)][/COLOR]

  7. #7

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    Day 8: Unzen Hell, Nita Pass, Nagasaki, Yūtoku Inari Shrine
    Stayed in a closed camp just outside Unzen Hell, then rode up to Nita Toge. Weather is cloudy, can just see the top of the new volcano-made mountain in between gusts. Wow. I came for the road, but this was worth it anyway.
    After I went back to Unzen Hell to use the visitor center bathroom and free wifi, a deadly combination. Except when they only have squat style!
    Onwards to Nagasaki. Trams! Gotta watch for those blasted rails. Did Megane (Spectacles) Bridge and Peak Park, arriving behind the main statue as some school kids were singing. Nagasaki seems like a pedestrian friendly city, I pass a lot of shopping malls - the classical style, actual streets.
    On to Yūtoku Inari Shrine. I get there about 4pm, itís very quiet. I drive up the shopping arcade in front, the remaining stores are shutting down anyway. The temple and grounds are in great condition. The main attraction is the corridors of red Tori gates. Well, theyíre not that red anymore, as most of these are quite faded, in contrast to the main temple. After, and during, I curse myself for not removing more clothing before hiking up and down all this steps.
    Then, as dark thuds down, itís a blast across country fields to past Saga. Between Ukiha and Hita, i stop at the riverside city camp park. Turns out I have to cross the river on one of those low single lane bridges with no sides other than a minimal curb.
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  8. #8

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    Day 9: Finishing Kyushu today, via the USA!
    Headed to the coast north of Oita to visit Showa no Machi Museum in Bungotakada City, which is basically a time snap of 1950s japan.
    After I head back west for a while, until I enter USA!
    A bit further west, I turn Southwest up into the mountains again, until I get to Aonodōmon, where a Buddhist monk carved tunnels for safer travels.
    From here, I continue southwest before picking a route north. This road had been recommended in Gaijin Rider forum by a member based in KitaKyushu. And he was right! If rain was heavy, some of these roads are supposed to be closed, as shown on the blue signs. But itís a blast today, after a good dry spell, despite the wet start today. By now I'm only 20km from where i started the day!
    Suddenly I see a group of scarecrows arranged in a diorama. Ha ha! Even in Samurai clothing. It's a sign for Scarecrow World (Kakashi World). Turns out it's a regional festival after the harvest. Starts cool, but after riding for half an hour with only scarecrows, it gets spooky.
    I eventually come out where they are finishing a new dam. Itís messed up Googles suggestions, but Iím going the best way, as some of the other roads are hijacked for construction traffic. A brief break at Mojiko station before Kitakyushu. Itís got a beautiful dockland with stores and bars, even a Hungry Tiger curry restaurant on a ship. Itís pretty, more like a European seafront.
    Then ride thru tunnel from KitaKyushu into Honshu, for a big garlic steak dinner at Gusto in Shimonoseki. Then 40 mins up to the north west for Hijukaisuiyokujo Auto Camping Ground, a free site close to Tsunoshima for tomorrow. Itís right behind the sand dunes overlooking the beach. As I came in I spooked a deer and it took off. No need for facilities tonight!
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  9. #9

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    Day 10: Honshu:
    Start the day with Tsunoshima Bridge, then a fun hill run into and out of Motonosumi Inari Shrine. For some reason they have signs at the bathroom about terrorists. Odd. I see a lot of mobile toilets on this trip, should i report them?
    Then through the beautiful Akiyoshidai Karst on the way to Iwakuni Bridge shortly before dusk.
    Then i hit (oops wrong word) Hiroshima. Here i face an issue as my bike oil lamp is on, hidden behind my phone GPS, and I've got a lot of isolated miles ahead. it's after 6pm. As i'd planned a service when i got back, I get into the local BMW dealer and am out in 30 minutes. Yay!
    Time to stay in to a hotel near Okayama, i think. But nope, about 20 I call are all booked. So on to next campsite near Soga, down a gravel track. i pick a nice quiet spot under the only tree.
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  10. #10

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    Day 11: Mt Daisen, Boy Detective Club, Tottori, Castle in The Sky
    Woken at 6 exactly by the Pro Drone Racing Team. I'm in their track. Please move.
    On for a cold blast into the mountains to cross the country and coasts to the base of Daisen, for breakfast. Then a late season overtaking the Road Repair Truck and passing the Safety Pole installers, getting ready for Ski season. Dark skies but dry, wonderful scenery.
    Down to the cast proper, into the Manga Factory to see the Conan Boy Detective museum, then past the Sand dunes. Wrong time to visit here, no camels or sandsurfers today.
    Eventually i head inland, as i want to get to Takeda Castle ruins (The Castle In The Sky) before sunset. I don't quite make it, but i still find other amateur photographers here. i take the opposite valley for the view, turns out the road is in major repair and is dangerously Crap!
    Then a long run up to Tsuruga in Fukui. Got cheap Hotel. I'm eating in tonight!
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  11. #11

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    Day 12 of what should be 13. Komatsu, Shirakawa, Takeda, Kurobe.
    Started with Motorcar Museum of Japan, a fantastic and large collection. On the way here (near Komatsu), i pass road works excavating archeological artifacts. Thanks to new road building as the Shinkansen is coming to town. ??
    After hours here (I'm a car & bike buff), I head inland to Shirakawa.
    Bugger. Mountain pass is already closed for the season. I've got to stop doing this!
    Back out, breathtaking scenes, came across a troop of monkeys stealing veggies!
    Then out through Kanazawa to the northern coast at Toyama and up to Kurobe for tonight. Had to drop Takeda. Weather forecast at the Service Area predicted a major chill from tomorrow.
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  12. #12

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    Day 13, the last I swear, Kurobe Alpen Railway, Snow Monkeys. Matsumoto Castle and home.
    I had camped last night at Hakanoki campsite near Kurobe. Itís free, got toilets, water and sinks and picnic tables. No wifi. Today i am wearing everything, including Rainsuit for extra warmth.
    I head up valley to the road end, the last bit being up steep mountain road and tunnels right at the end, the kind with the hot in-road sprinklers, heading up from the valley floor to the mountain-hugging road to follow the railway. The Alpen Route railway starts here in Unazuki, immediately entering a curved tunnel to emerge onto the well photographed red bridge across the river. Snap! Outta here, heading towards Tokyo.
    But first: Snow Monkeys, the ones with old menís faces and no-oneís red arses. i'm at Jigokudani. Most go to the Snow Monkeys Resort, with a 1.6 km hiking trail. However, the other way in is still open until December 1st. Itís tight and steep, but should be okay by motorbike. Itíll get me much closer. Once inside the entrance, itís monkeys monkeys monkeys. Theyíre everywhere. And theyíre immune to humans, unless itís to grab anyway suspected food.

    I had planned to head through Kusatsu and Karuizawa, but after checking the local weather, Kusatsu is looking like best left for a summer visit. So instead I head straight for Matsumoto to see the castle again. A nice break on the way back to Tokyo, although the rush hour nearly convinces me to give it up. It's now heading into evening, so a long blast of highway back into Tokyo.
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  13. #13

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    Aftermath:
    I need to fix my saddle bag. Argh!

    That silver car from day 12 Museum, say it today (2 days later) in classic car event in Daiba, Tokyo Bay. They recognized me!

    I had a blast, and hit most of my Musts and Want-tos.
    Google maps was my only Navi, worked great, used Google's MyMaps for planning.

    And thanks to GaijinForums for ideas and road closure details, especially for Kyushu.

    If anyone needs info, i've got the GPX files too.
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  14. #14

    Default Tokyo Wakayama Shikoku Kyushu Chugoku Kinki Chubu Tokyo, 2 weeks

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshire View Post
    Sounds like a good trip, apart from a little hiccup here and there.
    Yeah, I had fun, no major issues. The small ones I can deal with!

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Default Tokyo Wakayama Shikoku Kyushu Chugoku Kinki Chubu Tokyo, 2 weeks

    Quote Originally Posted by BansheeBiker View Post
    Yeah, I had fun, no major issues. The small ones I can deal with!
    Did you do it alone? Well written article. What would you say we're the real highlights when it comes to roads?

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87)]Best to enter a corner slow and exit fast, than enter fast and exit [/COLOR]dead[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87)][/COLOR]

  16. #16

    Default Tokyo Wakayama Shikoku Kyushu Chugoku Kinki Chubu Tokyo, 2 weeks

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshire View Post
    Did you do it alone? Well written article. What would you say we're the real highlights when it comes to roads?

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    Yes, solo. Easier to arrange, and I can stop or go when I want.

    Best place for rides? Wakayama was a hoot, followed by Shikoku. But I had fun riding everyday.

  17. #17
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    Default Tokyo Wakayama Shikoku Kyushu Chugoku Kinki Chubu Tokyo, 2 weeks

    What a great write up thanks! 2 weeks very nice longest I've put together is 8 days! I love the trips and some spots looked familiar to me.
    I think there's a route depository on the site you could a put the GPX files I think.
    Getting to the Summit is Optional, Returning home is mandatory
    Life begins at 155mph

  18. #18
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    Default

    Yeah great write up. Thanks for sharing!

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