Hokkaido Japan (In Search of Space)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Edmond Dantès, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Château d'If
    Dropping down from Lake Mashu the road passes by the active volcano, Mt Iou.
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    In the parking lot are some bikes with British made Watsonian Sidecars.

    Beemer with GP MANX ?
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    Kawasaki Vulcan? (aptly named considering the location) with Grand Prix 700 sidecar
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    Grand Prix 700
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    I hung around a while hoping the owners would return, fascinated to know how they got on riding these bikes with sidecars around the world.

    Tired of waiting, I scuffle off to look at the mountain, and once I'm a ways off the riders seem to materialize out of nowhere, jump on the bikes and trundle out of the lot. Oh well.
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    We all need a good vent from time to time:
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    Scoot round to Lake Kussharo and find a place to camp on the water's edge.
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    Kussharo Lake Wakoto Peninsula Campsite 450yen ($4 and change).
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    There are two hot springs on the peninsula. Both are free. Both are mixed bathing. Well, gonna have to put away any inhibitions regarding my shortcomings for the bath tonight.
    Both the baths look right onto the lake.
    I had an early bath one day and it was so cool to be sitting in the hot water overlooking the lake as the sun was rising.
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    Going to camp here two nights. I want to have a day trip to Lake Akanko and the Ainu Village tomorrow, and the thought of not having to pack everything up in the morning is very welcoming.

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    #41
  2. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Château d'If
    Dr. Greg wrote:
    You're very welcome Doc!
    #42
  3. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Château d'If
    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Lake+Kussharo,+Teshikaga,+Hokkaido+Prefecture,+Japan&daddr=%E3%81%BE%E3%82%8A%E3%82%82%E5%9B%BD%E9%81%93%2F%E5%9B%BD%E9%81%93240%E5%8F%B7%E7%B7%9A&hl=en&geocode=FR0OmQId3nSZCCERym_UsvugGClTPMFwpWRtXzERym_UsvugGA%3BFSC-lgIdeOWWCA&aq=1&oq=Akan&sll=43.408041,144.364471&sspn=0.39308,0.795135&dirflg=d&doflg=ptm&mra=dme&mrsp=1&sz=10&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=43.457903,144.337006&spn=0.478485,0.878906&z=10&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="480" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>
    <small>View Larger Map

    Lake Akan.</small><small> It must look beautiful here in the summer. Hold on, it is summer.
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    On the east shore is an area of bubbling mud known as 'bokke', an onomatopoetic word describing the sound of the mud bubbles bursting.
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    <small><small>The lake also contains a weed which rises to the surface and then sinks again. This Marimo is supposed to be protected and it is forbidden to tamper with it. None to been seen in the waters. I did however see lots of it for sale in the souvenir shops of Akan-kohan town. </small> [​IMG]

    Within the town of Akan-kohan is the Ainu Kotan.
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    On the whole a bit of a tourist trap, but there was an Ainu Theatre Musuem type place, and some examples of tradition Ainu houses.
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    </small><small><small>There are Ainu also living on Shakhalin Island. </small>Not much however is known about the Ainu people or their origins. They have a form of worship based on the cult of the bear, and a language with no known relatives anywhere else where in the world. Unfortunately most surviving Ainu can now only speak a few words of the language.
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    Wood carvings over a shop front.
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    Most of the shops were selling the usual tourist nonsense.
    It did afford me the opportunity to get up close and personal with some taxidermy wildlife though, which is always riveting:
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    No, it is fine. Really. You can keep those sunnies, I was going to buy a new pair anyway.
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    On the way back to the campsite I run into a more animated animal:
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    Sitting right there in the road as if he is waiting to hail a cab.
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    I tell him he has more chance of catching the bus that runs along route 391. He slinks off doing, yes, of course, the foxtrot.
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    I decide that there is no way I can return to the campsite only half drenched, so I find a nice field to go and stand around in for a good while to get proper soaked:
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    All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey. I've been for a ride on such a.....
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    Today your love, tomorrow Daisestuzan National Park
    #43
  4. TwoUpTourer

    TwoUpTourer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    135
    Great trip! This is all just 6 days? Doesn't seem like you are riding 24x7, but you are still packing the miles in. I guess that's the difference with Hokkaido. When I rode Kyushu, being so densely populated, a 100km ride took us through two cities, umpteen towns, and endless farm land, and it was enough for the day. Interesting how Pacific Islander/Maori like the Ainu culture looks. We are back in Tokyo 7 weeks from now, but no riding this time :(

    Thanks for taking the time to put this RR together, its lot of effort at the end of a day.
    cheers
    john
    #44
  5. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Château d'If
    John,
    this Hokkaido trip was 15 days. Only two hotel nights and the rest at campsites. I still can't get over how nice and comfy my futon is each night after the ground mats!

    My 6 day Tohoku trip can be found on the RR links at the end of my posts.

    Yes, the Ainu culture is fascinating. I would have liked to have spent more time in around the Ainu village. Perhaps next time.

    Best wishes John, and let me know if there anything I can do for you during your Tokyo trip.
    #45
  6. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Château d'If
    Up early for the ride up over the pass above Lake Kussharo and along route 39 into the Daisetuzan National Park area, then up into the mountains to the campsite at Lake Shikaribetsu.

    <small><iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Lake+Kussharo&daddr=43.7913888,143.7013931+to:43.7380529,143.4446418+to:%E3%83%91%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AB%E3%82%B9%E3%82%AB%E3%82%A4%E3%83%A9%E3%82%A4%E3%83%B3%2F%E9%81%93%E9%81%9385%E5%8F%B7%E7%B7%9A&hl=en&geocode=FYJXmQIdHjuaCClX2F63ZGVtXzHePPinrM3C9w%3BFRw0nAIdkbWQCClRmSUx3atyXzHnc8knghOhXw%3BFcRjmwIdocqMCCn5CLPIfLNyXzHTw5ijKuHLpg%3BFcZOlAIdg52HCA&aq=0&oq=Daisetuzan&sll=43.280205,143.106537&sspn=0.196955,0.397568&dirflg=d&doflg=ptm&mra=dme&mrsp=3&sz=11&via=1,2&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=43.484812,143.684692&spn=0.956544,1.757812&z=9&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="480" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>
    <small>View Larger Map</small>

    The mountain pass with Lake Kussharo below.
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    The clouds! The clouds!
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    Nice plateau cows. I like what you have done with the place!
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    The obligatory barn shot:
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    Routes 39/273 cuts through the canyon of Daisetsuzan.
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    Didn't expect this when I requested a well ventilated room with an unrestricted view!
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    Some fun trails around the Daisetsuzan area:
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    The climb up to Lake Shikaribetsu was the most intense of the trip.
    Twisties for miles with thick cloud cover and very poor visibility.
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    A very remote campsite. 250 yen ($2.50). I woke in the night and couldn't see a thing. I thought I had died. I opened the tent flap and still couldn't see a thing. I can't recall ever experiencing absolute darkness like this before. I reckon it was a combination of no lights for miles around, the very low cloud cover, and being under the pine trees.
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    Some the footage I took of the riding around Daisestuzan:
    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ajkCpLRypI8?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>
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    #46
  7. c-zulu

    c-zulu Resident Dirt Burner

    Joined:
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    Location:
    North shore of Gitchigumi
    Very Kool.. Nice
    #47
  8. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Château d'If
    Today: Lake Shikaribetsu to Tomakomai
    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=%E3%83%91%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AB%E3%82%B9%E3%82%AB%E3%82%A4%E3%83%A9%E3%82%A4%E3%83%B3%2F%E9%81%93%E9%81%9385%E5%8F%B7%E7%B7%9A&daddr=42.8917639,142.5370371+to:42.7037476,142.2352225+to:Tomakomai,+Hokkaido+Prefecture,+Japan&hl=en&geocode=FV11lAIdGbaHCA%3BFfN5jgIdTfF-CCm9SBmB_4R0XzF9eqRYXsBtmg%3BFYObiwIdVlZ6CCk7sWh77_Z0XzFp7XRQxtSf8g%3BFT6MigId_LlwCCmJIrPF1Rl1XzENW6WmGA5gbg&aq=0&oq=Tomako&sll=42.898101,142.34436&sspn=0.792747,1.590271&dirflg=d&doflg=ptm&mra=dpe&mrsp=2&sz=9&via=1,2&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=42.898101,142.34436&spn=0.965783,1.757813&z=9&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="480" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>
    <small>View Larger Map

    Rolling up and stowing away a wet tent feels just plain wrong. Need to get off this mountain range. Get to low land.
    The road around Lake Shikaribetsu is barely a car's width, right by the water's edge; strewn with rotting leaves, pine needles and moss. The camber in the road is trying push the bike into the lake. The hills have eyes.
    I slowly descend. Passing ski slopes reveal hanging chairs suspended in the mist. The road and the swirling cloud cover is playing tricks with my sense of perception. I can't find the right gear on the bike. It's all gone Pete Tong! I keep feeling the need to stop and check that my luggage is tied on correctly. Riding into corners too quickly. Red eyes in the undergrowth. Do I have enough gasoline? Pear-shaped! Aunt Em!
    The road straightens, then zooms out away from me, like the corridor in The Shining. A river. The Styx! The fifth circle of Hell.
    No! By the belt of St. Christopher, it's the Saru River. It flows down to the coast and the town of Tomikawa. Go with the flow....
    Charon the ferryman... wait it's a smiling gasoline pump attendant... Full tank. Hoto Coffee. Equilibrium! The attendant tells me to come back in the winter, it's -30 then. The reply, "It'll be a cold day in..." Oh well...

    The river runs through it. In search of dace...[​IMG]

    Follow follow follow follow...
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    </small><small>Look for the bare necessities
    The simple bare necessities
    Forget about your worries and your strife
    I mean the bare necessities
    Old Mother Nature's recipes
    That brings the bare necessities of life
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    There will be a Rider House
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    You what center?:lol3:lol3:lol3
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    After sleeping alone for the last 2 weeks in a tent this sign is a welcoming sight indeed. Let's hope it's the trim of, 'off with your top', and not 'a little off the top'!
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    Sapporo Beer! Beer, beer, we want more beer, all the lads are cheering: 'Get the f#cking beer in.'
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    Out here in the fields...
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    Sally, take my hand, travel south crossland...
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    Walter Mitty moments like these...
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    Welcome to the Hotel Tomakomai. A bed! A real bed! Ecstasy!
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    Fantazia Smiley Face. Happy People. Rave on.
    What a trip that day was for real...unreal. :) :) :)
    #48
  9. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
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    Château d'If
    In the morning I head up to Lake Shikotsu to ride the right bank again. This time I really must remember to turn the GoPro camera on:
    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Tomakomai,+Hokkaido+Prefecture,+Japan&daddr=Lake+Shikotsu,+Chitose,+Hokkaido+Prefecture,+Japan&hl=en&geocode=FT6MigId_LlwCCmJIrPF1Rl1XzENW6WmGA5gbg%3BFZ9rjAIdG3FsCCm7cl8hEzl1XzHQAqJ2l-zYew&aq=0&oq=Tomak&sll=42.757096,141.324692&sspn=0.19864,0.397568&dirflg=d&doflg=ptm&mra=ls&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=42.698586,141.415329&spn=0.242226,0.439453&z=11&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="480" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>
    <small>View Larger Map

    Aye, the right lake, the right side, the ride camera (although positioned a little low), just the wrong day. The port town of Tomakomai rain free. All the clouds had gathered between Mt Fuppushi and Mt Eniwa:

    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WA2zPo7X99M?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe>
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    #49
  10. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    617
    Location:
    Château d'If
    The original plan was to ride home from Hokkaido along the Sea of Japan coastline. Unfortunately the four days waiting for the replacement regulator short-circuited that plan.

    I elect to take the 19 hour ferry from Tomakomai down to Oarai in Ibraki Precture, departing at 6:45 in the p.m. This way I didn't have to ride the 8 hours from Tomakomai to Hakodate, thus freeing up the day to head up to Lake Shikotsu once again.

    Tomakomai Ferry Terminal
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    Label me 'Oarai Bound'
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    Hokkaido Tested the metal of British Steel
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    Suzy Busa. Tourer? Tourer? Tourer?
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    Do they spray these bikes with dirt proof paint in Milwaukee? It has been lashing it down for the past week and this bike looks as if it has just come on a showroom floor. Actually, come to think of it, I did see a Starbucks in town with an undercover parking section...hmm....
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    I asked the owner of this Suzuki Djebel if he was carrying a kitchen sink. Lost in translation, my humor went down the plug hole.
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    All aboard The Sunflower for a skylark
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    Great stuff Nao (my wife) for booking me into a private cabin. They were up for grabs at half the usual price 15,000 yen axed to 7,500 yen ($75).
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    I pull all the mattresses down and make a king-sized bed on the floor.
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    Everything looking shipshape and Bristol fashion above decks.
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    Looking for my sea legs in the morning
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    Roll off Ibaraki
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    Welcome to Oarai.

    Party in the city where the heat is on
    All night on the beach till the break of dawn
    Welcome to Oarai (bienvenido a Oarai)
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    Ibaraki has the blue skies
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    South Mito Intersection and home. Mito? Natto? Such a great trip that I am tempted to give 'natto' another try. It's been 5 years since the last attempt.... well, maybe another time.
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    Thank you to all the wonderful people I met during the trip.
    #50
  11. pzs

    pzs Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    210
    Location:
    Central Australia, desert dweller
    Thankyou, great report.

    Paul
    Central Australia
    #51
  12. panhead_pete

    panhead_pete Gone riding

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,196
    Location:
    Hakuba Japan
    Having been to Japan 6 or 7 times now snowboarding in Hokkaido and Honshu and falling in love with the place and the people you have inspired me to spend some summer time there touring. THANKS.
    #52
  13. TwoUpTourer

    TwoUpTourer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    135
    Great RR!

    The video clip was so reminiscent of a ride we did around the Tango Peninsular north of Kyoto, and when it wasn't raining, it was 5 degrees C. We know this because they kindly have periodic Temperature signs in the towns, and when it got to 10 it was almost tropical. In a word, M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E!

    I think you have to be born to it to want to live in a place like that when this is what summer throws up.
    We will be in Tokyo for 3 days early November, but apart from taking my daughter to Harajuku on the Sunday morning, no specific plans yet, though various ideas developing. It is her first time, hence Harajuku:yum
    Many thanks for your offer! Perhaps take her for a short scoot :)
    cheers
    John
    #53
  14. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,181
    Location:
    VA
    Natto's definitely an acquired taste. I've eaten some interesting things in my life, but could never understand the love for natto. Especially, when served at breakfast...

    I really enjoyed the RR. Looking forward to the next one.
    #54
  15. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,201
    Great RR! Thanks very much for putting this together. You have a great sense of humor....loved the way you tied in the song lyrics! Have a great Autumn!
    #55