It was late November, and there were still autumn colours to be found. I cycled across Tokyo to Akihabara, and met Steve and his bike on the Tsukuba Express to Tsukuba. After a second breakfast of fast food, it was on the bikes up the road to Tsukuba-san (Mt Tsukuba). The sun was shining, the roads were quiet, the autumn colours were magnificent.
We rode up the steep hill to the shrine on the lower slopes of Tsukuba-san. There was a traffic jam heading uphill, as people were going to see the bright red Japanese maples at the shrine – as part of the annual Tsukuba-san Momiji Matsuri (Maple Festival). Although riding up that hill took some huffing and puffing, we were relatively cruising past all the drivers. It was a bit dicey riding up the wrong side of the road, and then pulling in behind a stopped car every time a car came around the bend down the hill, but there was no room to ride up the left hand side of the traffic jam on the narrow road.
After a wander around the shrine, we headed down to the old railway line, now a rare Japanese rail trail, and headed in to Tsuchiura to catch a different train back to Tokyo. All up, an easy ride and a cruisy day out in the sun (albeit with ear warmers on).