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Kenji, Ramen and Disney

When we arrived in Hiroshima we had some sights we wanted to see but we knew we had to spend some time getting our bikes packed up and shipped beforehand.  The whole process went so smooth thanks primarily to the manager of our hostel, Kenji. Honestly he embodied the Japanese hospitality and thoughtfulness that we had experienced throughout our trip. He helped us with everything from printing labels to tape and even double checking our measurements and restrictions.  During the rest of our stay we spent a lot of time chatting with him, overall he really made a difference in our stay in Hiroshima. 
While in Hiroshima we continued our "food tour" by trying the local specialties including
Okonomiyaki and oysters. We also took in the two main sites, peace park and Miyajima. Both were very interesting and worth checking out. The peace museum was especially well laid out and displayed. In Miyajima we took in the shrine at high and low tide. We also walked around the island where the…
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Final stretch

Before we cover the last leg we need to complete an addendum to the last post. It was written, as mentioned, in a coffee shop in Beppu whilst waiting to check into our accomodation. After the completion,  we struck up conversation with the shop owner, Mickey. After almost 2 hours of talking we ended up planning to meet up with her and some of her friends who had dinner plans that night. What a great experience! We joined them at a Japanese BBQ place where you use a grill in your table to cook. We shared all kinds of foods we would have never ordered but are quite common like intestine and liver. The best part by far was just spending the evening with a group of people we would have never met at a local restaurant. We have a picture of the group we took afterwards that we will include below.

The next morning we woke up to complete the last leg of our biking journey. We left Beppu by ferry and entered the same port we left Shikoku on at Yawatahama. The purpose of going back to Shikoku w…

Arigato to Highway 11

Kyushu has presented us with so many highlights including an active volcano, a city thriving in a crater, a quaint onsen town and a geothermal park. Above all that though, highway 11 has taken first place as our number one ride in Japan so far. Here is a breakdown of our time on Kyushu.

Day 1 : Usuki towards Aso We woke up early and took the ferry at 5:40 a.m. to Kyushu arriving at the port city of Usuki where we started our climb towards Aso. We covered about half the distance before staying at a cute little (and another legitimately free) campsite just after Harajiri falls. The riding was not super interesting and the wind was demoralizing so we took a long midday lunch break.
Day 2 : Aso City Completing the push up, over and into Aso city after an early morning start. Aso city is a city built inside a crater that was once a lake. It is incredible to have a city surrounded 360 degrees by a huge crater wall! We entered the national park and saw Mount Aso, a collection of five volcano…

Shikoku Tour

The post below was written last night. We made it this morning at 4:30 a.m. to the ferry and are currently on our way to Kyushu!!! 

The drive for many of our travels to date have included incorporating multi-day hikes. We love them because it means multiple days are booked, we get to be active and we see amazing scenery. Shikoku turned out to be our parallel for a multi-day trek but nestled into our bike trip. There were no big sights to see. We primarily went to towns we had never heard of or planned on visiting and the vistas were amazing every single day. Something else of note is that Shikoku,  although one of Japan's four main islands, is much less populated and therefore has a much different pace than the main island of Honshu.  I will break it down in terms of days to try to cover some of the details. 
Day 1: Tokushima to Izari We arrived on Shikoku and stayed in the port town of Tokushima to allow an early start the next morning. We headed out to catch route 26 along the Ea…

Kyoto to Shikoku Route

The way out of cities is often filled with stops and starts and can be a little frustrating on a bike,  but the way out of Kyoto was a biker's paradise. Less than a few kilometers from our accomodation we hopped on a river side trail that took us all the way to our planned lunch stop in Nara. We actually planned to go to Nara because it was about 50km from Kyoto and we knew there was a big park, apparently with loads of deer roaming around. We figured it would be perfect for a picnic lunch. What we found was indeed a park filled with deer but also a huge temple complex featuring the world's largest wooden structure enclosing a massive buddha. The translation came out as the "Buddha's Den" and it was really quite impressive. The kind of thing that makes you wonder if your eyes are tricking you because the scale is so enormous and the likelihood that this was actually constructed seems impossible.  
After leaving our awestruck experience in Nara, we headed onwards …


After pushing hard to get to Kyoto we were excited for a few days off the bikes again, but also to tour around Kyoto with many sights that were high on our "must see" list. We hit the ground running our first day. After arriving midday we located our accommodations,  a really cute apartment style complex, and headed out on foot. We figured that even though we had already rode about 100km that day we then walked nearly 10km that afternoon and evening! 
I am going to break down Kyoto into the three days we have been here to ensure I get all the details in.
Day 1: Arrival and checked out Nishiki market, had another amazing sushi meal at Kikyo Sushi and meandered through the Ponto-cho district. It was so different being back in a big city where things were bustling, many of the smaller towns we have been to seem to shut down around 8 p.m. Even on our first day we grabbed a hold of the inexplicable energy that Kyoto offered that drew us in immediately.

Day 2: This was a big touri…

Kyoto via Kiso Valley

When I wrote the post below we were still about 100km away from our guesthouse in Kyoto. We had planned to stay at a campsite beside Lake Biwa but when we arrived after 9 hours of cycling,  it was closed. Apparently,  "free camping " is allowed in this country but we are trying to avoid it as to not offend anyone but in circumstances like last night we had no other option. We set up in a gazebo/bench area beside the lake and slept in the open air. We woke early to get on the road and ensure we were out of the way before anyone turned up. After another long day we arrived in Kyoto...we are excited to explore! See below for what we have been up to the past few days (written last night). 
There is always a point when doing long trips where one decision serendipitously leads to another. When we decided to stow our bikes and complete a section of the alps via bus it opened up the opportunity to explore another region that Chad had read about but was not going to be on route if w…