Finding Dreamland

Nara  As an ancient capital, the city of Nara is far from an intimidating place; with a population of little over 360,000, the city is relatively small by Japanese standards. It was designed in a similar fashion to many a Chinese city; in a grid layout making it easily navigable by foot or bicycle. Naturally,…

Kyoto: The Return

Miyazu – Kyoto 80 miles I‘d spend the night in an official and free camping ground alongside Miyazu Bay. I slept well, which was important as I knew from looking at the map that the journey south towards Osaka was going to be a mountainous trudge. In fact, my day began vertically, as no sooner…

The Dunes of Tottori

Yonago – Iwai 81 miles A cackle of crows woke me from my slumber. It was barely light outside as I exited my tent to see an old man doing some stretches,  just five metres away from me. We acknowledged one another with a mutual nod. Once I’d packed up, he came over to me…

Welcome to Shimane, 47th Most famous Prefecture

Yunotsu – Yonago 82 miles The temperature was dropping now, little by little, on a nightly basis, yet at 12°C it was still more than comfortable. Rising at 05:30am, I was packed up and ready to go by 05:45am, I had this tour cycling lark down to a T now… The other cyclist was still…

Stinkymon Goes to Onsen Town

As nightfall approached, any preconceptions about being stuck in the mountains after dark, were countered by finding the remote, backwater onsen town of Yunotsu. Up until the 17th Century, Yunotsu was used as a port to transfer silver, harvested from one of the country’s biggest mines, the Iwami Ginzan. The tradies used the town as…

The Monkey Rock of Yamaguchi

Hagi – Yunotsu 92 miles I don’t know what to do about my stupidity sometimes; it is hard to shake off. Heading north out of Hagi along the cracked asphalt road – that was sufficiently spurned by vegetation – spiders floated weightlessly on the breeze, annoyingly entwining themselves across my face and handlebars. As I…

A Japanese Underworld

Shimonseki – Hagi 67 miles I’d spent the night on a promenade overlooking the Kanmon Strait. Over a convenience store breakfast, I watched a selection of ships sail its busy waters. It is a strait that has seen hundreds of vessels ply its waters on a daily basis, for many hundreds of years. From the…