Japan day 9
Japan day 9
Where do I start describing a day whose route would probably feature amongst my top 5 favourites of all time? I’ll cut the superlatives by simply saying: if you ever come to Japan with a bike, make this day’s route a priority.
But first, as I was making my way to the first of 7 suspension bridges, a smart X-Trail pulled over and the driver flagged me down. His name was Eduardo, of Brazilian Japanese heritage,
and all he wanted to do was……well, chat about his enthusiasm for cycling! And we did…..and he enthused even more about the route I was about to take, the Shimanami Kaido cycle route.
So what of this route, you might be asking. Well, I was hot-footing it back to Shikoku Island, but not by ferry this time, but via a cycle route that crossed six islands and seven major suspension bridges, the longest being 6.4km. To say that the scenery was stunning is a grave under-statement. Not only did the cycling take my breath away (and each bridge did include a 2-3 km climb just to get on the bridge) but so did the panoramas. They were unremittingly breath-taking the whole day. And being Sunday, half the Japanese nation were out on bikes enjoying the same. So, instead of rabbiting on, I’ll let the photos do the talking.
But first the route:
I also chanced by groups of primary aged children practising what looked like sword skills,
only to discover from one of the parents that it was a Kendo competition, a martial art that has been inherited from the Samurai days. These kids were as keen as mustard, and everyone of them meant business with their lunges and their strikes. I was invited in to watch with the eager crowd.
What I was watching was a bit of Japanese history being acted out.
When I got to Imabari, a very special Japanese welcome was waiting for me. But more of that in another post……..just to whet your appetite, it included a bit of this: