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Old 09-03-2013, 04:23 AM   #1
Edmond Dantès OP
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Hokkaido Japan (In Search of Space)



My last ride up to Tohoku took me up as far as the Ryusendo caves, Iwate Prefecture. (See my: Japan 6 Days link below)

This time I hope to explore the area north of Ryusendo on Honshu and also the prefecture of Hokkaido.

A 7 hour run up the Tohoku Expressway gets me up to the city of Morioka and over to the coastal town of Kuji for the first night's camp. Before the events of March 11th 2011 I could have bedded down for the night at my wife's family home in Kamaishi, but all that remains of it now is a flat piece of ground. The good thing was that no one was staying in the house when the sea came in at the time.

The camp site at Kuji. 200 yen ($2) for the night. It was a bit of a bitch to find, but the location, right on the coast was awesome.

Kuji is famous for the Ama female skin divers. These ladies drive down to 10 meters without breathing equipment to catch shellfish.
Sorry, no pic of any Ama, but here is one of a soggy tent and dripping Varadero:


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Old 09-03-2013, 06:34 AM   #2
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In! I toured around Japan for 3 weeks by Shinkansen but never made it to Hokkaido, so looking forward to your pictures :)
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:39 AM   #3
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IN! Just nipped back and read your first Japan report---great stuff! I've been an inmate for just a while, but it seemed to me that reports on Japan were under represented. I think sometimes we in the States have a conception that Japan is just Edo end to end, but that is not the case at all. I'd love to ride there sometime.....absolutely on the list. That Nikko shrine complex in your earlier report blew me away.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:28 AM   #4
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The Hook of Honshu

Thanks for the interest guys.


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Follow the coast road out of Iwate Prefecture and into Aomori. Many is the person who will jump on the ferry at Hachinohe for Hokkaido, but I reckon the Shimokita Peninsula has much to offer and is worth a look around. As you can see, the Shimokita peninsula is shaped like a hook. I call it the Hook of Honshu, but I am sure it has already been called that in the past.

The morning's ride is to Cape Shiriyazaki, the most north eastern part of Honshu. The road leading up to the cape was simply awesome, very long straights cutting through forests of pine.




The Cape Crusader






Wild wild horses


Some video footage:


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Old 09-04-2013, 06:22 AM   #5
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I'm a big fan of Hokkaido landscape photographer Shinzo Maeda and have always wanted to check out the beauty of the island in person. It seems like motorcycling would be an ideal way to do so. I'm looking forward to your pics and write-up.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
I'm a big fan of Hokkaido landscape photographer Shinzo Maeda
Unfamiliar with this photographer, but will definitely check out his work.

From the Shiriyazaki cape I head to the coastal town of Ohata and then down to Mutsu to pick up supplies before heading into the remote Yagen Valley to camp for the evening. The paved road leading into the valley soon turns to flat rindo (unpaved forest road) after the hotel.
There are 3 onsens, all of which are free. Wiki Travel calls the Yagen Valley one of the most beautiful mountain valleys in Jp. I have to agree, it's a pretty fine valley.



Pitch the tent in the campground 500 yen ($5) for the night and then jump a nice hot bath at the Kappa-no-yu (かっぱの湯), The water was hot as hell!

The Eponymous Hot as Hell Kappa

The next morning I jump another bath. The water was still incredibly hot..


Then I take the opportunity to ride the valley without carrying that weight, Boy you don't have to carry that weight, carry that weight a long time:






Footage of riding the Yagen Valley:
Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Caine: No.
Po: Do you hear the grasshopper which is on your front tire?
Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?


Break the camp and head to the port of Oma to find a ferry.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:32 AM   #7
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Hey! Here's something different!

I have always been intrigued by Japan, its great to have a chance to look at it from a bike, thanks.

Looking forward to the wilds of Hokkaido.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
I have always been intrigued by Japan, its great to have a chance to look at it from a bike, thanks.


Reach the port of Oma in good time.


Roll on


Tied down

Sayonara Honshu


Hakodate Yama from sea


90 minutes plain sailing from Oma, we roll off at Hakodate


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Old 09-05-2013, 09:27 PM   #9
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As seen on this cheese cake map of Hokkaido, Hakodate is located at the southwestern part of the island.

On the subject of maps, those cheese cake maps are OK after a fashion, but tend to get a bit stale after a while.
Anyone coming to Japan to tour by motorcycle or bicycle would do well to get a MAPPLE Touring map. (1,600 yen $16)

The Mapple maps are availbale according to region, and are the dog's dangly bits.

Even though it is all in Japanese, any friendly Japanese person will be happy to stencil in the English over a beer in a bar.
The icons for Rider's Stations (the motorcycle helmet icon), Spas (the hiragana 'yu' mark), gas stations, campsites and scenic spots, etc are simply indispensable.

Check into a hotel 3,000 yen ($30) with a simple breakfast, and then head to the cable car and up to the top of Mt. Hakodate to see what this celebrated view of Hakodate at night is all about..



Lucky to have a full moon this evening:




The Russian Orthodox Church a short distance from Mt. Hakodate





Right, I can hear the Hakodate Beer Hall calling to me!

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Old 09-06-2013, 03:19 AM   #10
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Nice place.. I'm in!
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Old 09-06-2013, 03:26 AM   #11
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Nice pics... A couple friends and I will be heading up there later this month on the same ferry. Two GSs and a Super Tenere, will be riding tarmac and unsealed roads. Where in Kanto are you? Should get together for a ride sometime.
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Old 09-06-2013, 09:35 AM   #12
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Great Memories!

Spent 4 years in Misawa in the Air Force back in the early 90's. Absolutely loved it.

Visited most of northern Japan from Sendai to Hokkaido. Awesome place with fantastic people, thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinrider View Post
Nice pics... A couple friends and I will be heading up there later this month on the same ferry. Two GSs and a Super Tenere, will be riding tarmac and unsealed roads. Where in Kanto are you? Should get together for a ride sometime.
Twinrider,
living in Setagaya, 5 minutes from the Tomei Entrance.
The offer to join a ride out is much appreciated.

Would love to be able to tour Hokkaido again this month with you guys. Two GSs and the Super Ten, definitely the right tools for the job

Please let me know about any future trips you may have planned. It would be great to tag along.

Best of luck for your upcoming Hokkaido run. I do hope the weather is kind to you.

Paul
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:16 PM   #14
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View Larger Map

Today's ride will take us up through the Onuma National Park, around the Uchiura Bay, on to Touya Lake, and finally to Shikotsu Lake campsite.

Onuma National Park has three main lakes,
Lake Onuma, Lake Konuma and Lake Junsai.

Was very impressed with Onuma National Park. It's located only 30 kilometers outside of Hakodate. Made a note to spend more time here in the future.


Lake Onuma with Mt. Komagatake






Around the bend - Uchiura Bay


Touya Lake






Venting
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Old 09-06-2013, 06:00 PM   #15
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Beginning to realize why Hokkaido is a riding mecca in Japan



Some nice trail around Lake Shikotsu




Camp set up at Lake Shikotsu. 1,000 yen($10) for the night! I asked the park attendant if that price included a pole dancing show and a young maiden pouring milk over my shoulders. He said something about a big storm causing damage to the area a while back and the need to raise funds for repair work. Furry muff.



Lake Shikotsu












Some video of the day's events:
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