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,…

Osaka: The Nation’s Kitchen

Kyoto – Osaka 38 miles I awoke with the map book on my face and half a can of muggy beer by my side. I sat up and cracked my head-on the ceiling, forgetting that I was in a capsule bunk. Capsule hotels are commonplace in Japan, especially in the bigger cities where during the…

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…

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…

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…

Leaving Kyushu

Fukuoka –  Shimonoseki 75 miles Leaving central Fukuoka,  was slow and tedious. Traffic lights, busy three lane highways, clustered and bumpy sidewalks and of course a cutthroat contingent of guileless mamachari. The weather was overcast, yet extremely humid, the vast throngs of heavy traffic and exhaust fumes only adding fuel to the surrounding stickiness. Eventually,…

Into the Neon

Tosu – Fukuoka 30 miles With a population of close to 1.5 million people, Fukuoka City is some 5 times larger than Saga City, making it not only the biggest city in Kyūshū but the 6th largest in the country. From Tosu it would take me just over an hour to reach downtown Fukuoka. The…