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Japan

Onsens in Unzen, Kyushu

Our final night in Japan, and I am very reluctant to leave.  We flew south to Kyushu to save time ( also it’s easier to package bikes for a flight, and cheaper than on the Shinkansen train – but we have seen it, several times, fast and sleek, it is beautiful). There’s a relaxed rural … Continue reading »

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Urban madness!

Riding through the centre of Osaka last week was a blast: cycle paths everywhere. Today we visited the excellent aquarium, from NE Osaka to the far west and busy docks, again on cycle paths but so many bridges on such an amazing scale. Never seen anything like it before and in an earthquake prone country. … Continue reading »

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A final hurrah for Kyoto’s gardens.

You must be tired of garden pictures. This place makes me want to own a better camera. It’s not just the gardens, Japanese culture is interesting, fascinating, and the people so varied, cute children, trendy youth and so many aged (50% pop over 55, 25% over 65). Children as young as 5 cross major intersections … Continue reading »

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Around Lake Biwa on a bike.

Lake Biwa is the 3rd oldest lake on earth, formed along a fault line along its west coast. Being old and isolated (with protected endemic species) we expected a rural idyl, but this is Japan, with 128million people to cram onto the flat rim of volcanic islands. So it was a shock to reach the … Continue reading »

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West of Kyoto

  Yesterday we cycled away from the city to the Takao hills ( we are staying mostly in a youth hostel: hotels in central Kyoto start at $200 night but this YHA is like a Swedish spa hotel, lots of wood, open space and glass, we even have our own room most nights. And $60 … Continue reading »

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Temples, gardens and kimonoes

             

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Kyoto’s temples

Kyoto is a massive city of 1.5 million, yet it is still reasonably easy to cycle through ( mostly along the rivers) and the ( 1,600) temples and (400) shrines are beautiful and serene.     I suffered a crisis of confidence about our journey north. The forecast is for strong headwinds and some steep … Continue reading »

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Arriving in Kyoto

  Hotels in Kyoto are expensive, so this seemed relatively cheap, I now know why! There’s a Las Vegas style hotel area south of the city, casino style love hotels, pine clad rooms, karaoke, projector, massage chair, everything automated, breakfast (incl vegetable bread and a fried egg is delivered to your door 3 mins after … Continue reading »

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Osaka City

  Japan is an incredible country. Yes it satisfies the stereotypes I teach to year 9, some fashionable young girls dressed in impossible wedged heels with knee high socks topped in white lace, puff ball skirts, very short, and a colourful medley of layered tee shirts and waistcoats, and always a hat… but it works, … Continue reading »

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Japan

We land in Osaka Kansai Airport on time, and are met by an assistant guarding our two boxed bikes already collected and placed on trolleys. The train service is efficiently simple and we arrive at our ryokan hotel un flustered.  So simple.  Izumiotsu is a commuter suburb for Osaka, close to the airport so an … Continue reading »

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