Monday 27 March 2023

Part 10.Kesennuma to Fukushima.

 The last lap.

After three days and tens of hours of cycling covering over 600km from Sapporo city in Hokkaido to Kesennuma city in Miyaki. I now have a day and a little less than 170km more to cover before I reach home.

Last night I slept in Ochiai Naomungo Monument Park next to the beautiful Kesennuma bay and woke up early the following day. However, I hesitated to get out of my tent because it was raining cats and dogs. I took a peek outside by creaking open my tent's zipper, and my day could not get any better. I saw heavy raindrops splattering on the ground beside my tent. So, I stayed in the tent for a while before I emerged, undone my tent, and packed my stuff onto my bike.

Today, my journal starts from Kesennuma city to Hobara Town in Fukushima Prefecture. My today's cycling will take me through Matoyoshi, Minanisenriku, Ishinomaki, Matsushima, Shiogoma, Tagajo, Sendai, and Tsukinoki. I have a distance of 172km to cover. I have decided that once I reached Tsukinoki I will take the local Abukuma train to Hobara Town in Fukushima. With much satisfaction and pleased with myself,  I jumped on my bike and slowly made my way down Route 5 and 26 along the Kesunuma ports toward route 45.

After leaving Kesenuma city. I cycled for a few kilometers and reached Tome city. Located inland in the Miyaki area of Japan. The sign board over the road reads"Tome City".

The rain continued to fall when I reached Tsuyama. It is a roadside market in Tome city along route 45. I stopped there for a couple of minutes to take pictures but did not go in.

The Tsuyama was half open. Some sort of construction was going on there when I took this photo. For this reason, I did not go in there.

After leaving Kesunuma early around 6am and cycling for several hours over a distance of 75km. I finally reached Ishinomaki around 11am. The city is along the Pacific coast of the Miyagi area. The rain still continued to fall, but I was so excited.

In Ishinomaki, I cycled along the mighty Kitakami river. The river was flooding because of the continuous rainfall.
Along the Kitakami river, I passed by the Kitakami Great Wir. A huge bridge dame built across this fast following river. It was magnificent. I stood there for a while and watched the flooding water rushing through the open floodgates of the Kitakami Great Wir.

The rain finally stopped, but dark rain clouds still covered the skies as a reached Higashi Matsushima. It is a city in the Matsushima buy area next to Sendai city. Here I took a picture of a jet fighter aircraft. The fighter is next to Kasuma station. I have never seen one up close like this one. I have to admit. It was so dumn cool.

 I was cycling non-stop for 9 hours. I have 32 km more before reaching Sendai. 

I finally reached a famous area in Matsushima city. The Prefecture Natura Park of Matsushima. This place holds a lot of history. It is the home of the noble warrior, Date Masamune. During his rain, he built a lot of temples there.

This is where the people take ferries to go to the outer islands for sightseeing.

The Matsushima park sign. Before I moved to Fukushima I lived in Sendai, Tagajo city for 1 month. While staying there, I visited this place. Coming back here was beautiful.

The view of Matsushima bay from a small hilltop as I left the city and made my way along route 45 to Sendai.

I stood there for a while watching the ferries ferrying people to the small island within Matsushima bay. It was really beautiful, especially after raining the whole day.

Passing through Tagajo. A beautiful small town where I used to live in. I bought my bicycle here. At an Asahi cycling shop just around the corner. It is a nice place to live. It is next to the ocean.

I took a shortcut and did not cycle into Sendai city. I cycled all the way to Tsukinoki Station. This is where I took my final local train home to Hobara, Fukushima.

After 4 days of cycling, taking the ferry and train. I finally reached my home at 20:40pm on August 18th, 2022. It had been a beautiful and amazing life experience that I will never forget.

The best memory of my travel.
  • Taking the Silver ferry to Hachinohe was the best experience ever. I have a single room all to myself and I took a good rest.
  • I slept in parks next to the ocean and woke up early to see the beautiful sunrise.
  • I cycled through the rain and warm myself in the convenience stores and drank hot coffee.
  • I saw many beautiful places in Japan which I never imagined would see.

Sunday 19 February 2023

Part 9: Miyako to Kesennuma

 Miyako to Kesennuma

I woke at the first sunlight in Shiokaze Park. Then I packed my things. Folded my tent and sleeping bag.  Say goodbye to a traveler like me who was also sleeping at the park. He said he is traveling to Sendai. Last night he slept in his car while I slept in my tent. 

At 5:00am I said goodbye to  Shiokaze park and left following route 259 back to route 45. I found Route 45 just a few meters down the road and followed route 45 through Miyoka city. My destination for today is going to be the city of Kesenuma 130km southeast of Miyoka city.

Today's cycling is going to be tough. There are lots of mountains I have to climb but I was determined to complete the trip. I also checked the weather and it is going to be raining along the way.

I took this photo around 5:30am when I was about to leave Shiokaze park in Miyako city.  Last night  I slept under a small shelter and listened to the sound of waves crashing on the port's concrete wall. In the morning a woke up to a beautiful sunrise and an amazing view of the sea.

After leaving Miyoko city and cycling for 25km I reached the city of Yamato. It is a small city surrounded by mountains to the west and a beautiful bay with small islands to the east. Overlooking where I stood and took this picture is the breathtaking sight of small islands scatted in the bay.

I took this photo standing at the  Yamada Bay Observation Deck, which is just a few meters next to route 45. I think this bay area is where they are doing some kind of seaweed farming.

500 m ahead is Fureal Park. A beautiful roadside market where travelers stop to buy food, and use the restrooms. I did not stop there. I rode passed it due to time.

I took this picture while riding up a small hill. The view of the ocean was dazzling.

I stopped my bike for a couple of minutes and stood admiring this stunning view. This is where a small creek meets the sea. The place where they meet looks like a long submerged fault. As I stood there watching the ocean  I saw the waves softly rushing onto the sand and calmly dying down as they retrieved slowly back into the open sea. This area is surrounded by beautiful cliffs on both sides. The feeling of calm washed over me just by standing there and watching the beautiful nature at work.

This is the Funakoshi Parking lot. On a beautiful sunny day like this one, the view from this parking lot overlooking Funakoshi bay is breathtaking.

Sign board for tourists at a small beach site location. The sign shows the local ancient Michinoku Coastal Trail and the old battles grounds for the locals who lived in this area a long time ago. It looks to me like a walking-around museum of natural history.

The beautiful Ryoishi bay in Kamaishi town. The reflection of the sun on the sea makes it glow beautifully under the morning sky.

At Odairacho stood a very tall statue of Buda. The statue reminded me of the statue of  Jesus Christ in Rio de Janaro. This one is a bit shorter,  I think. This magnificent work of art stood overlooking Kaimaishi Bay and beyond.

Kamasihi Dai-kannon Temple.The tall statue of Buda can be seen in this photo facing the ocean.

After passing the city of Ofunato. I climbed a very tall mountain. I was so exhausted from hours of climbing the mountain. But when  I  reached the top of my climb,  this beautiful view was waiting for me. The view quickly relieved my tiring and brought back energy.

After leaving Kamaishi city,  I cycled for about 2okm and started a long snail climbed up a mountain before going down to Ofunta city on ascending side of this mountain. The road runs through a lush green forested area. As I was climbing I can't help but stopped from time to time to look and listen to the amazing sounds of nature. It was so peaceful.

On top of my snail pace climb, I  reached the Shinsanriku tunnel which took me through the mountain top to the other side before I started my ascending into Ofunato city. I  stopped there for a while and took a couple of deep breaths before proceeding on.

Ofunato is a small town located within Ofunato bay. I took this picture while cycling through the town. It was still early so everyone was kind of still sleeping, I guess.

After Ofunato I cycled up Mt. Masusaki and arrived at a place called Masakicho. At the top of Mt.Masukai, there were several large buying that looked like kids' play areas and a building that looked like a hotel but I think it was a hot bath house.

The signboard overhead welcomed me to the city of Rikuzentakata.

In Rikuzuntakata I arrived at Iwate Tsunami Memorial park. At this site, you can still see the remnants of the 2011 Japan Great East Earthquake that generated huge tsunami waves that destroyed infrastructures and killed thousands of people. The picture you see here is the remains of a concrete structured roadside market. The tsunami generated by the 2011 earthquake was so powerful it destroyed almost everything in its path. The tsunami crushed houses and huge metal structures into deformed cans
Going straight from Rikuzuntakata is Kesenuma city. My final destination for the day.

Entrance  to the Inwate Tsunami Museum at Rikuzuntakata 

The remnant of a fire truck. The first responder used this truck to try and rescue people but the tsunami was too strong and crashed the truck. 

This is a remnant of an old bridge next to the museum. The huge metal was crushed and folded like a can. This showed how powerful the force of the tsunami was.

2011 Iwate tsunami artifacts that were collected after the disaster and donated to the museum.

I was able to find a staff who spoke in English and she helped me retell the story of that dreadful day. I just can't imagine the people at that time.

The kind staff took this photo of me standing next to a huge metal from a bridge that was crushed into a piece of a can during the tsunami.

Out-of-shape sight post in the Iwate Tsunami Museum

These trees have a very interesting story and they are called the miracle trees, that was what I heard. During the tsunami in 2011, these trees were not destroyed even though they were a few meters from the sea. These trees remained as they were. Today these trees stood as they are and the museum is built around them. People there now see them as a  sign of courage in the face of calamities.

When I finally left the Inwate Tsunami Museum. It was around 5pm. My destination was still 19km away. But at a cycling speed of 15km/hour,  I was able to reach it in less than 2 hours before nightfall.

I found a port-side park called Ochiai Naofumi Monument park in Kesenuma city. There I set up my tent for the night under a small shelter next to the sea. Tomorrow I have to cycle to Sendai city and then onto Fukushima. I still have 210km more to bike the next day.

Sunday 22 January 2023

Part 8. Hachinohe to Miyako

 Getting off Silver Ferry.

At around 6 am the Silver Ferry sailed into Hachinohe port. I packed my things and went down to Silver ferry's top loading bay. My bike was parked on the top deck of the loading bay. I waited a few minutes before the main door opened and was given the green light to ride off. I as rode off I looked up into the skies and lots of rain clouds were gathering above. It might be raining, I thought.

The cycling from Hachinohe to Sendai is going to be different. I am going to take route 45. Route 45 starts from Hachinohe and follows the Eastern Pacific of Japan to Sendai city. The route is around 400km and runs through small coastal towns and cities.

My cycling goal for today is to reach Miyako city at nightfall. Mayako city is located 120km south of Hachinoa and should take me 10-20 hours to cycle due to the mountains along the route.

I left Hachinohe around 7 am and headed to Miyako city through route 45. I reached my destination Around 12pm.

7:45 am I left Hachinohe ferry port and followed the port road towards Hachinohe line 

On my route, to Miyako, I stopped by the Tanesashi Kaigan Campsite site and took this photo. Tanesashi Kaigan Campsite is located next to the ocean and it is an open green space area. At the time of the photo taken, there were few people there walking their dogs.

Crossing into Iwate prefecture from Aomori.100m  ahead is the small town of Hironori.

A beautiful beach along the Hamakaze road in Dai village.

The picture was taken at Hirono city hall. Behind the signboard are the car park and the city hall office building.

Destination Miyako 114km .Took this picture after a left Hirono city.

This is Tofuguara Park located on the coastline of Noda city. Tofuguara Park covers a pretty large area of the city along its coastline. It has small shelters, benches, and a few sculptures. An amazing breathtaking spot.

The rocky coastline of  Tamagawa in Nida city along route 45. I took this photo as I passed through Noda, heading toward Fudai city.

Heading out of  Fudai city I came onto Sanriku Railway Osawa Bridge. The view is so mesmerizing, it made me stop to take this photo. In the background are a small fishing harbor and steep cliffs 

After Fudai I cycled for 40 km and I reached the town of Ichinowateri. This signpost let me know this is Ichinowateri territory.

At Tanohata in Iwate prefecture, I climbed one of the longest slopes in my journal so far. At that time, the set was slowing setting as I made my way up.  Few places along the track I have to push my bike and walk. When I took this photo I was exhausted and wanted to take a rest.

After reaching the outskate of Tanohata town and stopping to take a breather I took this beautiful photo at the Shituiohashi Parking lot just before crossing the  Shii Bridge.

What a marvel of Japanese Engineering. The Shianzakao Bridge was built in 1995 to replace the old one. It is at least 120m  high and 105 m in length. It is one of Iwate's prefecture's main tourist attractions. I'm so glad to have visited this bridge.

Destination:  Miyako city 37km more to go. 300m ahead is the famous Unosu Cliff. I tried to cycle there but it was too far and I don't enough have time because it was getting dark.

On road to Miyako 

Route 45 is smaller than route 4 and runs from Hachinohe to Sendai through the eastern seaboard of Japan. Route 4 is the one I took to Hokkaido. There are fewer cars on route 45 and it passes through beautiful coastal towns, amazing mountains, and stunning ocean views. 

Along the way, I passed through many small villages and climbed many mountains. This route was much more difficult than route 4 because  I spend a lot of hours climbing the mountains. I was so tired. I have to walk up mountains. I tried to travel light, but my backpack and tool bag still added an extra 10kg onto my bike.

From Hachinohe to Miyako it took me almost 18 hours of cycling over a distance of 150km. I left Hachinohe at 7am and reached Miyako at around 12pm. I planned to find a camping ground for my overnight stay at Miyako but could not. So, after arriving there I just went to a park and set up my tent. People were walking around but I was so tired I just lay on the bench and soon fell asleep.

After passing through the small town of Omota. I stopped at this beautiful lookout along route 45 to relax my feet. By now my destination is less than 20km ahead.

6:45 pm the day finally coming to the end. I am now in Miyoka nearing my destination. I took this photo in a place called Taro. The setting sun was so beautiful as I cycled up the slope. It was a sight I will never forget.

I took the opportunity of the night to crash at Michi park. The park is located next to a harbor and away from the main city of Miyako.

4:58am at Michi park. The first sunlight of a new day of my cycling to my next destination Kesenuma City in Miyaki prefecture. The morning sunset was so beautiful I took a few minutes to observe it.

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