After Kanazawa, we cycled along the Sea of Japan to reach Jeotsu-Myoko and start our journey into the mountains.
We spent two nights in Kanazawa, walking around, visiting the local sights and several ramen shops.
Finally some countryside cycling again! We really enjoyed the sunny days at Lake Biwa and the beautiful coastal roads.
The next big city, Kyoto! The city has a very calm atmosphere, considering how many tourists come here every day. We had a great time, waiting for the rain to pass!
After a brief visit to Kobe, we cycled to Osaka. Honshu has so many big cities that we ended up with less cycling and more walking around in cities. Besides, more rain and thunderstorms were on their way. Not the worst time to chill out a bit in Osaka.
Next stop: Kobe. Kobe is the third largest harbor city in Japan. In 1868 the port was opened to foreign trade and foreign settlements began. Some of the buildings and districts still exist or were rebuilt.
In the late afternoon we arrived in Himeji and stayed there for two nights.
After saying goodbye to Elena, we took the ferry to Shodoshima island. Shodoshima is famous for cultivating mediterranean plants, especially olive trees.
In Takamatsu we met up with Elena again. We had a great time celebrating her birthday!
From Imabari we cycled along the coast to Takamatsu. On the first day, we followed a national cycle route again. It was a bit stressful with a lot of traffic through small industrial cities. On the next day, followed our own routing, with smaller roads and nice views!
In Imabari we ended our little cycling trip with Elena. We explored the city together, including Imabari castle. It has a sea water moat with a canal, so the water level changes with the tide. Due to the salt water from sea and freshwater wells from the bottom, a unique environment is created where creatures from the sea and the river coexist. While Elena headed back to Onomichi, we stayed for one more day in the city.
From Mihara we cycled to Onomichi to meet up with Elena again. Together we cycled the Shimanami Kaido, a prestigious national cycle route. We crossed the Seto Inland Sea from Onomichi to Imabari with six islands in between.
After a long stay in Hiroshima we finally got back on the road! Thanks to Michas recommendations, we had a nice trip exploring small islands between Hiroshima and Mihara.
We stayed in Hiroshima for more than a week. While waiting for Elena to join us, we enjoyed relaxing in the Onsen, strolling around the city and eating different ramen and sushi! It was a nice coincidence, that the Tōkasan Yukata Festival was held in Hiroshima while we were there. We had a great time seeing food stalls, traditional dancing and many beautiful Yukatas. In between we visited the Peace Memorial Park including the museum as well as many other memorial places of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Back on Honshu, we made our way along the coast and through the mountains, to reach Hiroshima.
From Beppu we cycled the final part of Kyushu along the coast. We took the same tunnel back to Honshu, from which we entered Kyushu almost one month ago!
From Oita we cycled just a few kilometers north to visit Beppu, the famous onsen town. Before arriving in the city center we took the chance to see the Japanese Macaques in the Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden. The mountain is inhabited by over 1200 monkeys who roam around the area freely. In Beppu we visited one of the eight hells of Beppu: The Chinoike Jigoku aka Blood Pond Hell.
We stayed three nights in Oita. It is a nice small city with a good vibe. We celebrated Philipps birthday with good food, cozy local craft beer bars and relaxing in the onsen.
Along the east coast of Kyushu we enjoyed great coastal roads and beautiful villages all the time. We also stayed at some really nice campsites.
On our way to the east coast of Kyushu, we cycled through mountainous jungle roads and along beautiful coasts.
In the evening, we arrived in Kagoshima. We had some great ramen and briefly walked through the city. The next day, we started cycling east. First, we cycled around Sakurajima volcano, the most active volcano in Japan. Afterwards we found some nice cycle routes along an old railway line and some canals.
On our way to Kagoshima we followed old and narrow mountain roads which are not often used anymore. We had a super nice day. The rainy days before gave the forest a mystical atmosphere. We saw a lot of wild animals including one snake, nine deer, one tanuki and one japanese badger!
After Nagasaki, we went south. We cycled around Mount Unzen and along the coastline of the beautiful Amakusa islands.