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  • After three years of teaching english in Japan, I finished in the summer of 2017 and decided

  • to get back on my bike and cycle the length of the country from north to south.

  • A quick google search told me that this would be at least 3500km, but I lived here, in Tottori,

  • so first I'd have to get up to the north point of Japan.

  • So I moved out of my apartment, packed what I needed onto my bike, and said goodbye to my friends.

  • I would then cycle 160km over two days in

  • the hot, humid weather, to take a ferry to the North Island, Hokkaido.

  • And the weather's perfect for the first day, so far. It might be too hot in a few hours.

  • But, we'll see.

  • So excited for this!

  • I don't know if you can even see. It a pretty nice evening though. You can see the

  • moon up there, clear sky, so hopefully this campsite's easy to find.

  • It's currently 5.30am. And I'll try and get a few hours in before if gets too hot again.

  • I reached the ferry port by sunset and waited with the crowd of other cyclists heading north

  • to escape the summer heat.

  • It was a 20 hour direct ferry and I had my own bed for it. There was even a public bath

  • and sauna on the ferry.

  • I was really excited about Hokkaido, especially because of the nature there. Of the 6 national

  • parks I hoped to see at least 5 of them.

  • When the ferry arrived, it was already dark, so I decided to camp in a park beside the port.

  • Another cyclist from the ferry had the same ideaand we ended up cycling together for the next 10 days.

  • The first part of the trip was 400km up the west coast, which we covered in 3 days

  • and arrived at Wakkanai, the northernmost city of Japan.

  • Before going to Soya Misaki, we decided to visit two small islands. Rishiri and Rebun,

  • which are part of the first national park I wanted to visit.

  • After the short ferry ride, we set off to climb the 1721m Mount Rishiri and explore the islands.

  • Kenta, is it dangerous?

  • I'll be careful.

  • Very delicious. So amazing!

  • We arrived back to the mainland on the last ferry, so stayed at the free campsite in Wakkanai.

  • We got a better view of the deer the next morning, then set off for the north point of Japan.

  • It was only 30km from Wakkanai, but we were against a ridiculous headwind all the way.

  • By noon we arrived at Cape Soya and waited our turn to get a photo at the monument.

  • From here we went down the east coast towards the second national park, Shiretoko.

  • Ok, it's now day 11 maybe? 10, 11. Day 11. And we've been up to the north point of Japan

  • and now we're heading down towards Shiretoko National Park. Which is famous for the biggest

  • population of brown bears in Hokkaido. In Japan. So I'll hopefully see a bear soon.

  • We didn't see the sun the sun for a week, but we continued camping through the rain,

  • and saw a lot of wildlife along the way.

  • We got to Shiretoko and stayed in the busy campsite,

  • then visited the national park hoping to finally see a brown bear.

  • We hadn't realised it was a long weekend and the park was packed with tourists.

  • After collecting our stuff from the campsite, we headed up Shiretoko Pass, a 740m high pass

  • through the mountains to reach the next town. On a clear day it's possible to see some

  • Russian islands from the top.

  • Ok, we're on day 13 maybe. And it was pretty exciting because we just saw a bear!

  • We were cycling up this Shiretoko pass

  • Which is a 700 and something metre climb up, and a car coming down starting shouting

  • "There's a bear, there's a bear!" So we sprinted up the mountain as fast as we could.

  • And we saw a bear.

  • We have to wait because there's a bear on the road.

  • Mission complete. Ah, and I've got about 5km up this pass to go.

  • And this is what I'm cycling into.

  • We made it to the top and were pretty happy despite the fact that were wet, freezing,

  • stuck in a storm, and couldn't actually see Russia

  • Kenta, how are you feeling?

  • Beautiful view! Really?

  • If you look really closely you can see Russia. Where?

  • (Maniacal laughter)

  • Safe to cross? Who knows.

  • Ok and it's the first day in Hokkaido that I'm off on my own. Today, I dunno where I'm going.

  • Hokkaido is so amazing that you can follow the road and stumble across a volcano by accident.

  • But the bad part is that I found myself in the clouds twice on this day

  • So I've just climbed up Lake Masshu and I'm in a cloud again.

  • And I'm in the fog again. No more views.

  • Pretty sure I'm at the top now. Dunno how high this is.

  • But I've just arrived at the climbing path for the mountain.

  • Entrance to Mokotoyama crimbing road.

  • Has to be the top, all down from here.

  • I'm heading towards the last national park that I'll visit on this trip. Daisetsuzan.

  • I thought I might go to the city that 130km. Now 120km more.

  • But another cyclist told me that was impossible. So there must be some climbing today.

  • And since the climb started I'm at the 4th point.

  • 822m.

  • Which is almost as high as Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland. So...

  • I've no idea how high this is.

  • Thankfully, this was the last mountain pass until Sapporo.

  • And it was all downhill through Daisetsuzan National Park.

  • I stopped at Sounkyo for a much needed onsen. In the town there was also a free campsite,

  • some famous waterfalls, and the ski lift to the nearby mountains.

  • So I climbed Kurodake the next day, took some pictures of chipmunks, and found myself in

  • a cloud again.

  • From here it was all downhill to Sapporo. Well kind of.

  • And, that was it. 3 weeks. 20 hours on a ferry, hundreds of hours on a bike, 18 nights in

  • a tent. I visited two islands, hiked two mountains, made some new friends, ate so much food and

  • was helped out by many people along the way.

  • An old man an the konbini yesterday gave me some free vegetables.

  • Hokkaido was better than I could have hoped. With its unspoiled nature, free campsites,

  • volcanoes, onsen, and wild animals, it's hard to imagine a better place for a bike trip.

  • The first part of my trip was over and it was time to go home to Ireland for 6 weeks

  • to climb some mountains and take pictures of sheep.

  • Then I'll come back to Japan, get my bike, and cycle it all the way down to Cape Sata,

  • the south point of Kyushu.

After three years of teaching english in Japan, I finished in the summer of 2017 and decided

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北海道を自転車で周るべき理由 - 日本自転車の旅 #1 (Why You Should Cycle Around Hokkaido - Japan Bike Trip #1)

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    Takaaki Inoue に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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