While this ride was half the distance of the last two rides, it was pretty much uphill the entire time, but surprisingly enjoyable. Even though I’m not a strong climber (yet), I was able to handle the mostly gentle gradients, then use the downhills to cool off. The mountains were fantastic to admire and during winter some of the spots are used for skiing too.
Most of my snacks for the day were chocolatey, rather than the sushi and fruit from previous days, but it seemed to still work out anyway.
Although the day was hard, it was definitely my favourite so far, I hardly came across any cars and the big winding descents made me feel like I was riding a motorcycle again. Honestly, if I could repeat the day I would, I was smiling the whole time and completely immersed in bliss.
Finding my accommodation was easy, the town is nestled in between the mountains and there are two main roads on either side of the river. I checked in an hour early and went exploring around Tsuwano, which is also nicknamed Little Kyoto. I checked out Takodani Shrine, which is one of Japan’s five greatest Inari Shrines. It’s at the top of the hill and the bright colours are so eye catching and bold against the colours of the sky and mountains.
Unfortunately, I missed the cable car to reach the Tsuwano Castle Ruins, but another traveller saw me starting to walk instead and lead the way to the top. It was so steep to the top, easily twice the height of where the shrine sat, but I was determined to get to the top. It took 15-20 minutes on the way up and we went to the first part of the ruins to check out the view.
When we safely made it back to the bottom, I said thank you and gave my fellow traveller friend one of my origami wheels and he was quite pleased.
We parted ways and as I went to the local restaurant, I sae him again and he showed me his bike. He was travelling by bike across Japan as well, but had a car too. Looking at his maps I’m pretty sure he started at the very bottom of Japan and is heading all the way to the top. He gave me a teddy key chain from Yakushima, an island near the bottom of Japan. I was really pleased and generally buzzing from the pleasant day, but had to convince myself to go to bed early, since the next day I would be cycling 140km to Hiroshima.