Packing up our camp in Shodoshima I came across a new friend..
Nicknamed Eric, he sadly jumped ship before we left 😉
The days idea was to cycle to the ferry port and go to Takamatsu to get a ferry to Naoshima, so not much cycling involved and plenty of sitting on ferries drinking 😉
On the first ferry to Takamatsu a Japanese bloke asked where we’d come from and what we were doing, his name was Satora Kusaka or Steve as he prefers, we ended up having coffee with him on the ferry across to Takamatsu, he speaks good English and works as a rigger, interesting guy…
Satora Kusaka, aka Steve, like I said, nice guy !!
Landing in Takamatsu we were instantly drawn to the place, it had a lovely feel about it, little did we know that we’d see more of it than we thought !!
We had time to waste before the ferry to Naoshima so went for a quick beer, very picturesque spot by the water, Kylie ( my bike ) thoroughly enjoyed the view, while we enjoyed the beer..
Lovely view, and I don’t mean Kylie 😉
Next stop back on a ferry, this time for Naoshima…
Good views of the island as we arrived !
Our intention was to visit the Local Hot Spring Baths, very famous they are and to also cycle some of the island and visit the Artist Houses, houses that have been saved, preserved or just renovated by artists but with a very unique theme. There are six of them in total, all very different but all interesting in there own right.
We started at the Tourist info shop where we quickly learnt that accommodation on Naoshima is limited at best and there was no campsite either, we soon realised that we’d have to go back to Takamatsu and needed a hotel there for the night, thanks to the tourist info shop for free Wi Fi and Naomi’s quick thinking, hotel booked and time to see Naoshima !
Next problem, the last ferry back was at 5.00 pm, very early really so we had less time to see the island than we thought, we cycled round the island and only managed to see one artist house before having to go back on the ferry, the plan being to come back on the first ferry the following day 😉
The only artist house we saw that day !!
Outside the famous Naoshima baths !!
Back on dry land and in search of our hotel in Takamatsu, “Chateau Est” conjured up a lovely image but sadly that’s all it conjured up, although the views weren’t to bad…
See not all bad !!
Having found are hotel, lugged all 14 items of luggage to our room, locked the bikes, showered, washed our cycled kit and changed we set of in search of a restaurant that the guide book recommends, specialising in fish, it’s called Tenkatsu and was only about 20 mins walk from the hotel, interesting place…
See what I mean, you can sit at the counter and watch your next meal swim around !!
Needless to say that Naomi was very happy with her fish and I was quite happy to…
Thats a happy man 😉
Seriously the food was very good and as I said an interesting place 😉
Up early to catch the first ferry back to Naoshima, just made it !! Back to the Tourist info shop to get a map of all the artist houses and to get info on the baths, more bad luck, the baths don’t open until three and the ferry leaves at five, not very long to enjoy the baths so the decision was made to enjoy the island and artist houses and go back the Takamatsu to see the Ritsurin Gardens, reputed to be some of the best gardens in Japan !!
Map in hand we went in search of the artist houses, they are all quite close so once we’d found one we locked up the bikes and walked from one to the other, sadly they won’t let you take photos of the insides and from the outside it’s difficult to convey there purpose so I’ll spare you at this point !!
We did however enjoy them and there were one or two surprises, again difficult to explain unless you can see them !
More cycling around this beautiful island then lunch at…
Sadly neither of us can remember the name suffice to say the food was good although not plentiful by any means !!
Back on the ferry again and heading to Takamatsu, straight of the boat we went in search of the Ritsurin Gardens, not hard to find and only a couple of kilometres away. Now at his point I could post at least 50 photos but again I’ll spare you although I would urge you to look at the album on facebook !!
I think you’ll agree that they are stunning but there even better in real life !!
Back to the hotel to shower and change then of in search of food, Naomi had found details of an Indian Restaurant and we decided to go there…
Great food, just what we needed after a long day, and washed down with a few bottles of Kingfisher 😉
Walking of dinner we came across a shop called Fuzz, Naomi was straight in, she reckons its one of the best vintage clothes shops she’s ever been in, I must admit it did have some funky stuff…
Naomi says shed have bought something had she not been on a bike 😉
After a long day we headed back to the hotel to make sure we were packed and ready for the cycle to Tokashima in the morning, only about 75k but with a few hills for good measure !!
Away early, about 7.00 I think and straight at the hills…
We must be getting fitter as we seemed to climb this easily, can’t remember how high it was but it would have hurt a month ago 😉
After that the road levelled out and mainly followed the coast, a few tunnels saved us from more hills..
And a “Costa” coffee and breakfast at about 10 am set us us up for the rest of the ride…
Costa coffe, good breakfast and coffee and reasonable prices 😉
Now one of things the Japanese are obsessed with is vending machines, there everywhere, in every little alcove, nook and cranny, outside just about every workplace and business, but this shop in the middle of nowhere caught my eye…..
Count them, twenty machines I think, made us both smile when we saw it !!
The rest of the ride passed without incident and spew arrived at our Hotel “Sun Route” at about 1.00pm, to early to check in, we left the bags in reception and put the bikes in the station bike park before looking for coffee, sadly we found the most expensive and worst coffee and tea on the whole trip, should have gone to Starbucks !!
Good hotel, friendly and helpful staff, they took our bags up to the room, all 14 of them lol
Showered and dressed we once again set of in search of food and beer, we found both at Miyabi…
The food was certainly great, some of the best Sashimi, chicken, rice etc on the entire trip. Added to this a very helpful local lad with some English…
Never got his name but he helped us with the ordering and made our night.
Also our thanks to the chef..
And the young lad that was doing all the work..
They were all brilliant people, great fun and great food, it wasn’t our cheapest night of our trip but certainly ranks as one of the best if not the best !!
Up early again with a ferry to catch, this time to Wakayama, a short cycle to the port, tickets purchased and Kylie and the Captain in the hands of the efficient Japanese crew…
We retired upstairs to rest and drink coffee, the trip was pleasant but uninteresting although the view of Wakayama was ok as we neared the port…
We’d booked a hotel about 25k out of Wakayama, two reasons, firstly we wanted to cut down the last days cycle to Osaka and secondly we knew we’d be off the ferry about 1.30 and neede to do something. The day was hot and the ride stared well with some great bridges…
Sadly this was the highlight of the afternoons ride, the scenery deteriorated into industrial landscapes, the roads were busy with lots of traffic lights and by the time we got to our hotel in Izumisano we were both knackered and ready for a cold shower and much needed beer and food, supplied by the restaurant over the road, it’s name I’ve forgotten but it was good and had I not been so tired I would have made an effort to remember.
Well that’s it, the next blog will be the final days ride in Japan and our time in Osaka, keep well and keep reading.