Japan 6 Days

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Edmond Dantès, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    772
    Location:
    Château d'If
    Living in congested, cramped Tokyo, I thought it would be in the best interests of mental health to ride up to the Tohoku (Northeast) region of Honshu the main island of Japan for 6 days and see what is going on up there.
    I hope to ride on roads best suited for my motorcycle as much as possible: The brilliant Honda Varadero XL1000V. That means avoiding tight twisting roads which Japan is famous for. Riding tight twisties for 8 hours a day on a heavy bike is not what I will be looking for on the trip.
    I will ride a loop from Tokyo up to Iwate Prefecture and back trying not to cover the same roads twice.
    I have never been up to the Tohoku Region before, so I am totally up for this.
    Here is a picture of what I will be escaping from:
    [​IMG]This is an intersection about 10 minutes from where I live. There are no less than 16 lanes of traffic passing through this intersection. It is apparently the busiest in the whole country.

    The gear that needs packing. I do not have a GPS system, so it's old school paper maps for me.
    [​IMG]
    The Vara and myself fully-loaded!
    [​IMG]
    Outside my apartment. The June rain is still lingering.
    [​IMG]
    My girlfriend, Mercédès seeing me off. Her family has a house in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. I will rendezvous with her at the house in 2 days time.
    As her name, Mercédès suggests, she will take the train. Sensible option.
    [​IMG]
    Sayonara!
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    772
    Location:
    Château d'If
    Friday morning up bright and early. I didn’t sleep well the night before, I was too excited, anxious, nervous, scared….. I wonder what it must be like for people actually embarking on a really epic journey around the world the night before?
    I live on the west side of Tokyo and need to ride up to the north side and pick up the Tohoku Express that runs out of Tokyo and right up to the northern regions of Honshu. I head to Sendai which is about 400 km and takes approximately 6 hours.
    A great run up the expressway with light traffic. I take the Vara up to speeds that would take a lot of charm and explaining to wangle my way out of a speeding ticket/ suspended license.

    Stop en route for some lunch. Only bike in the parking area. Haven't seen another bike on the freeway yet today which is very rare.

    [​IMG]

    Noodles for lunch.
    [​IMG]

    Nice bike parking sign Kanji thingy.
    [​IMG]

    Get up to Sendai at around 2 pm.
    http://<IFRAME height=350 marginHeight=0 src="http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Tokyo&daddr=Sendai&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&dirflg=d&sll=37.186579,140.361328&sspn=3.124295,4.779053&ie=UTF8&ll=37.169072,140.350342&spn=2.57991,1.30258&output=embed" frameBorder=0 width=425 marginWidth=0 scrolling=no></IFRAME>
    <SMALL>
    View Larger Map</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>Over 7 hours riding the Varadero and not a single ache or pain. Sublime machine. Thirsty though. It burnt its way through a full tank of 25 litres and then some. I forgive the bike's drinking problem because it's such a comfortable beast.</SMALL>
    <SMALL>The toll on the freeway from Tokyo to Sendai was about 5,000 yen ($50). </SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>Not a lot to see historically for the traveler in Sendai. The place was totally destroyed in WWII. About 50 km up the coast is Matsushima (Pine Island) though. This is a bay dotted with over 250 islands all covered with twisted pine trees. Matsushima is considered one the most beautiful places in Japan. I figured I'd go take a look and see what all the fuss is about before searching for my hotel in Sendai.</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>[​IMG]</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>[​IMG]</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>[​IMG]</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>Bridge to Godaido Hall of Worship. This is part of Zuigan-ji temple that I intend to visit tomorrow. </SMALL>
    <SMALL>There are some very beautifully carved animals under the eaves and on the supports for the roof. </SMALL>
    <SMALL>[​IMG]</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>[​IMG]</SMALL>
    <SMALL>The interior of the hall is said to be very beautiful housing 5 statues of Buddhist figures. You would have to wait around a while to see inside though because the hall is opened only once every 33 years!</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>[​IMG]</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>This looks like a nice crib. I was tempted to knock on the door and see if they would let me crash on the floor for the night.</SMALL>
    <SMALL>I like their style.</SMALL>
    <SMALL>[​IMG]</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>[​IMG]</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>

    After asking half the population of Sendai for directions, I finally find my hotel.
    The Japanese like to be vague.

    Me: Excuse me, do you know where this hotel is?
    Vague Dude: Oh, that one. Yeah, it's over that way.
    Me: Over there?
    Vague Dude: Yeah, pass some buildings and then turn right.
    Me: Very helpful.
    Vague Dude: Indeed.

    Very clean business hotel. 4,000 yen ($40) for the night.
    [​IMG]

    Treated myself to a nice soak in the bath after a long day's ride.
    [​IMG]

    Then outside, lo and behold a steak house materialized before my very eyes. I'm there!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And in a flash I was back at the hotel and before you could say boo to a goose, I was in the arms of Morpheus and sleeping like a new born.
    #2
  3. Natnewt

    Natnewt Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    487
    Location:
    Toronto Ontario
    This trip would be nothing less than complete if you don't wait the 33 yrs to enter that old temple!
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,699
    Nice! Love to see more of Japan, thanks for the glimpse :thumb

    :lurk
    #4
  5. hakpoh

    hakpoh n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4
    Location:
    sweden
    Extremly interesting to see Japan. Gods spee and safe riding! :norton
    #5
  6. emijah

    emijah Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Tsukuba, Japan
    Hi, I'm planning to go to Sendai around autumn. I live in Ibaraki, so I'm planning to go up the coast and come back on the highway. Looking forward to the rest of your trip. Cheers,
    #6
  7. dpouwel

    dpouwel Petualang

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    617
    Location:
    Jogjakarta, Indonesia
    :lurk
    #7
  8. Booker909

    Booker909 Basketcase

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    36
    After hearing so much how expensive Japan is it's nice to see you can get a room for $40. Keep the pics and commentary coming!
    #8
  9. Fustercluck

    Fustercluck Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    339
    Location:
    Asheville, NC/ Muntinlupa City, Philippines
    Fantastic, thats one place I have always wanted to ride and even live in. More pics pls!
    #9
  10. TouringDave

    TouringDave Tri Moto Veritas

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,199
    Location:
    Frankston, Vic, Aust.
    NipponDero touring! Love it! :clap
    #10
  11. mcc66

    mcc66 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    forrestfield, western australia
    Good to read ride reports from Japan. Look forward to reading more and seeing LOTS of pictures. Thanks
    mcc66
    #11
  12. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,757
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    I am dying to go to Japan myself....more pics please!!!!
    #12
  13. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    772
    Location:
    Château d'If
    Emijah, I hear ya. Riding in Autumn is just brilliant. October is defintely one of the best months to be on a bike here. Look into the Rikuchu Kaigan run. Route 45 that runs north out of Sendai.

    Thanks for your encouraging comments and interest everyone.
    #13
  14. Roughshod

    Roughshod weld proud

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    101
    Location:
    Calgary, and backroads of Alberta and BC.
    Brilliant! A Honshu roadtrip in progress! And on a Varadero. And some Bashu moments. Love to hear about the bike, handling, etc; and photos! Are you hopping up to Hokaido? Perhaps some Haiku for ADVing? Drive safe and have a great trip man!
    #14
  15. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    772
    Location:
    Château d'If
    I woke up feeling a little discombobulated and groggy. Best I find a convenience store and load up on caffeine!
    The plan today is to return to Matsushima, check out the grounds of the Zuigan-ji Temple, then up to Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu-koen Park which is supposed to offer good views of the bay, and head up the coast to the town of Kamaishi.

    Looks like a 200km run from Sendai to Kamaishi taking about 5 hours.

    http://<IFRAME height=350 marginHeight=0 src="http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=sendai&daddr=38.702659,141.503906+to:Kamaishi+Iwate+Prefecture,+Japan&hl=en&geocode=&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=8&via=1&dirflg=d&sll=38.76683,141.346535&sspn=1.528975,2.389526&ie=UTF8&ll=38.76683,141.346535&spn=1.528975,2.389526&output=embed" frameBorder=0 width=425 marginWidth=0 scrolling=no></IFRAME>
    <SMALL>
    View Larger Map</SMALL>
    <SMALL></SMALL>
    <SMALL>The grounds of the Zuigan-ji Temple.
    This is a Zen temple established over 700 years ago.
    These were rooms and living quarters for monks carved out of the solid rock. Impressive. I really liked the karma in these grounds. Very good aura.

    [​IMG]
    Looks a bit dank.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Tall trees line the way.
    [​IMG]

    A tea room.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then I stumbled across this little gem of a shrine! Divine!
    [​IMG]

    And there was no way I was gonna mess with the little fella hanging around outside it !

    [​IMG]

    Dude, you da man !
    [​IMG]
    </SMALL>
    #15
  16. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,294
    Location:
    Western Piedmont, NC
    Keep it comping! I lived in Sendai in 1981. The Matsushima shots take me down memory lane.
    #16
  17. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    772
    Location:
    Château d'If
    Roughshod, not this time, but it's on the cards.

    I just put some Anakee 2 tyres on the Vara and it handles much better than the original Bridgestones. She's hard work in the tight stuff for real, but eats up straight roads and long curves.
    #17
  18. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    772
    Location:
    Château d'If
    Up to Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu-keon Park. Man, there has to be a shorter name for it !
    Some very good views, unfortunately my camera didn't think so.

    Here's the best shot from the park:
    [​IMG]
    Perhaps a tad too early in the day for it. Need the sun to clear some of the mist away.

    Right Mr. Varadero, you thought you were a big tough guy until you met this gate. Not so tough now are ya? The gate has brought you down a peg or two has it?
    [​IMG]
    Found the gate laying around in the middle of nowhere. God knows what it is doing here. I can only assume there is a shrine or temple down the road. The writing on the top of the gate is someone's afterlife name. When you die in Japan the priest issues you a new afterlife name.

    Someone's afterlife name is written on the gate and on the stone to the right of the gate. Also you can see two flood lights, one either side the gate on the ground there. It must look well cool lit up at night. Had to have been a pretty important person to warrant such a gate and all. It's ruling the area!

    I crank up the mp3 player now for the 200 km ride up the coast. The Allman Brothers Band are singing about being a rambling man and Jessica. I wonder who she was? What is Jessica doing now. If she is anything like the song, she must be a goddess.

    The roads are well maintained and clean and empty, I have the whole day ahead of me to ride. I am on a stellar bike. I'm stoked!

    [​IMG]

    A penny for your thoughts Dero San ?
    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. AadmanZ

    AadmanZ Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    126
    Location:
    The Nether Countries
    Cool pics.. Wish I was back in Japan.. I miss the food, the nice roads, and the lovely people.
    #19
  20. damoace

    damoace PinderBilt

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    917
    Location:
    Hertford UK.
    An Englishman in Japan?

    Subscribed.
    #20