Sleepy Saga

Nagasaki – Tosu 96 miles Leaving Nagasaki, I cycled back on myself for a short time, as I headed north-easterly – returning to Isahaya momentarily before branching away toward the coast of the Ariake Sea. There, I meandered around the hazy foothills of Mt. Tara, passing through a number of laid back rural villages before…

The Warm Shower of Kochi

Tokushima – Ikumi 65 miles I slept well in Miguel’s air-conditioned apartment; recuperating handsomely from the previous night’s lost sleep. Having a late’ish lie in, I left Tokushima at around 8am. By 8:10am, the furnace of the sun had reduced me to nothing more than a fleshy puddle of sweat. An hour or so later,…

The Kingdom of the Peach Boy

Okayama – Naoshima 47 miles  The morning started slow; my solitary rear mud guard and brakes annoyingly chaffed my rear tyre as I headed west, out of Okayama. Love diminished fast for mud guards on this trip, yes they repelled a certain amount of water and random street guff, but at the same time when…

Here comes a new challenger…

17. Toyama  Takayama – Toyama 64 miles The ride north to Toyama City saw me leave the Japanese Alps behind; it had been an intense week and I had been feeling a longing for the coast again. Toyama means ‘many mountains’ and it would certainly live up to its name; a riotous cluster of alpine…

The Japanese Alps – Part 2

I wouldn’t be the first Englishman to tackle Mt. Norikura, and certainly wouldn’t be the last. In 1878, a: professor, mining engineer, mountaineer, foreign advisor, writer, archaeologist, better man and fellow Englishman, William Gowland, became the first to summit Mt. Norikura. He noted then how the beautiful, multi-pinnacle terrain was reminiscent of the French Alps,…

The Japanese Alps – Part 1

Ueda – Norikura Kougen 65 miles Judgement day pulled closer; apprehension and dread becoming a commonly frequent fixation of my latest dreams. All because of the Norikura Skyline, a road that scaled the roof of the Japanese Alps at some 2,715 metres, officially making it the highest road in Japan. But not the highest public…

Dawn of the Alps – Part I

Joetsu – Yudanaka 50 miles Nine of the twelve highest mountains in Japan can be found in Nagano; a fact alone that was enough to make me break out in a cold sweat, and this was before a hearty old man with the essence of doom paid me a visit whilst I was packing up…