Last Day in Exile

Sado Island – Joetsu

39 miles


The rain would return as I cycled the southern half of Sado. Yet perhaps on this day it was a good thing as I’d long since forgotten the last time I’d actually taken a shower – or a bath. I’m not normally a stinky person, but when you can smell yourself you’ve got a problem – and I smelt like a wide selection of vomits.

The southern coast of Sado was less challenging than its north; its rollercoaster-esque terrain being less formidable. The dreary inland mountains were obscured by heavy lashings of rain and thus the view out to sea was equally impregnable. My sole focus for the day was to get to the town of Ogi, in order to take a ferry back to the mainland.


I arrived in Ogi during early afternoon but wouldn’t set sail for a few more hours. The spare time enabled me to catch up on some reading and get some much needed wall-staring time in, before taking the ferry to the city of Joetsu.

It was nightfall upon my arrival and the rain eventually ceased, as a steady flow of beating drums carried across the night; the city being in the midst of a summer festival. The beating drums drew me in, taking me to a park alongside the Seki River, where I found a group of youths – all dressed in white garb – donning navy blue head banners. They were taking it in turn to beat the booming taiko drums to a chorus of excitable chanting. The British youth culture I encountered growing up, could have learned a lesson or nine here from its Japanese counterparts, replacing a 3-litre bottle of Strongbow with drums would’ve no doubt remedied a whole number of hangovers, blackened eyes and disastrous teen pregnancies!


Towards the coast, I found a thick hedgerow running along a large section of beach which would act as a windbreak. There I settled down for the night, the distant drums suddenly dying at midnight, leaving me to the sound of the ocean’s lapping and swilling. It was then that the Japanese Alps began to play prominently upon my mind. Was I ready for some of the highest roads in Japan? Were the highest roads in Japan ready for me? I farted a little, and slept nervously.



Dates: 4/07/2014 – 7/07/2014

Total miles traversed: 3,123 miles

Total time in the saddle: 316 hours and 10 minutes


‘Tokyo to Tokyo – A Cycling Adventure around Japan.’

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Enjoy the ride.


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