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Izu Hanto cycling road trip

I picked up my new bike on Friday night, and then immediately took it for a cycle touring weekend with Phil and two of his friends, Will and Chrissie.  Phil and I set off on an early shinkansen from Shinagawa, and were met in Numazu by Will and Chrissie, who live there as English teachers and cycling enthusiasts.  So we set off south through the Numazu traffic jam – everyone was keen to get out of town for the long weekend – and followed the coastline.

There are meant to be good views of Fuji-san from the first stretch of coastline, but the humidity and haze put a stop to that.  The ride along to our lunch point, Ozeki-misaki, was quite straightforward.  I was trying to take photos along the road, but since my camera was dangling from my neck, it was a bit hit and miss as to how focused or straight the shots would be.  Some came out ok.

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We had lunch and took a swim among all the divers at Ozeki-misaki, and saw a frenzy of carp feeding in a lake at the Shinto jinja there – see the video below.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

After lunch was where the hills started, and the coast became more rugged.  The first hill was a long slog with a few switchbacks, but there was worse to come.  I was pleased I managed to keep up the pace reasonably well.  All the uphill meant there were some fantastic downhill stretches, although with all the hairpin bends, it required some care.

More care was required in the tunnels.  I never quite got used to them – although Japanese drivers seem quite considerate of cyclists on the roads, I feel quite uneasy riding through a relatively dark tunnel with no verge to head to for safety.  Our longest tunnel on the trip was over 900 metres long.

The first night’s stop was the Ashitaba Minshuku, a few kilometres south of Toi.  I’d been led to believe that the minshuku was in the town, but it was up a mongrel of a hill that seemed to have no end.  But the climb was worth the effort, because the minshuku had some character, some great views over the ocean, and nice hosts who also use the minshuku as their art studio and gallery.  One of the other guests was a female Buddhist monk from Kyushu, and she kept us entertained with some songs before dinner.  Dinner was fresh seafood on a grill that was built into the table.  The minshuku had a rotemburo (outdoor bath) which, if the weather had been good enough, would have provided a view of Fuji-san.

Sunday saw us ride up and down a few more hills down to the town of Matsuzaki, through the 900 metre tunnel, then follow the inland road towards Shimoda.  This was a steep climb up to Habara Pass, but the run down the other side was fun.  We were in Shimoda for a curry for lunch before we knew it, and then found our next minshuku, Minshuku Haji, by the beach.  Phil’s family and another friend joined us there, together with kids, and we spent the afternoon and this morning at the beach.  We should have brought a bat and ball for some beach cricket…

There was a short ride back to Shimoda Station, the bikes were put back in their bags, and we had a straight run back to Tokyo.  The ride was around 115km.

Numazu to Shimoda by bicycle

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