Lake Shikotsu – Oshamanbe
A multitude of mountains paved the way for the 60-mile stretch between Lake Shikotsu and Lake Toya. With the comfort of clear skies, I made exceptional progress, my only concerns being the weekend drivers who drove by as if they had just been given a day pass to behave like absolute mentalists. Any regard for the Highway Code was completely shelved at the weekend, it seemed.
Arriving at Lake Toya, in just about one piece, I stopped for some late-afternoon fried chicken treats from Seicomart.
Lake Toya, like Shikotsu is a caldera lake, but its shape is more circular; with a circumference of just over 26 miles. In the middle lies four small forested islands, observantly called Nakajima, Middle Islands. As I perused the lake’s perimeter, it appeared that I had arrived during a mass cosplay pilgrimage.
For those not in know, cosplay is an abbreviation of ‘costume play’. Fans or nerds – as they are often known – dress up in the clothes of their favourite fictionalised characters: from cartoon shows, comic books or video games. The concept has been doing the rounds now in Japan since the early 90’s, but in recent years it has begun to surface overseas as a popular, if not slightly gimmicky attraction, to other like-minded nerds.
The costumes are dramatic, the hairstyles funky, the flesh revealing, and if one had no concept of the idea and happened across such an event completely at random, one would no doubt have to question one’s sanity.
The shores of the lake were completely awash with cosplayers and I weaved in and out of the excitable hoards, alongside the more serene natural wonders. However, when Jigglypuff came over and asked if he/she could take a photograph with me… I knew it was time to bail.
With gusto I would traverse the treacherous Route 37 south to the quiet town of Oshamanbe. On the outskirts lay a desolate country park, perfectly ripe for a quiet night’s camping… tomorrow I would arrive in Hakodate, my last port of call in Hokkaidō.
20°C – Sunny, clear.
11:00 – 17:00
Today’s RT – 8 hrs Total RT – 232 hrs
Today’s Mileage: 82 miles ODO –2300.8miles
AV/s – 9.7mph