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A tour of Hokkaido, Japan

A tour of Hokkaido, the big island at the north of Japan. We land at Sapporo which is Chitose Airport and do a 1,050km clockwise loop, ending up back at the airport. We’d stashed the bike cartons there but alas they were discovered and so not there upon our return. Perhaps not surprising. This tour was a great discovery of a country that is perfect for cycling.
It’s all so clean and neat. I’ve brought my Patagonia and am already loving those bar-end shifters.
Around Furano. It’s a scenic wonderland.
If you are interested in farming or just growing veggies you will love Hokkaido. It is so rich. This is asparagus. As good as you’ll see anywhere in the world.
There are three things in this picture to point out. One is the derestriction sign above the 50kph sign. It was 40 but now, just out of town, it is 50. That is the max speed anywhere other than expressways. Second is the generous shoulder, often even wider and as smooth as anything. Third is the arrows above my head. These are for winter to show where the road edge is.
Landslide defence systems are very common.
Sunday afternoon and every town has a baseball game going on.
Following the devastation caused by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, one of the five strongest ever recorded on earth, the east coast of Japan has seen all sorts of Tsunami warning systems and wave protections built.
Japan is mountainous, but they tend to use a lot of tunnels rather than winding mountain climbs. This particular one is 4.5km long. But it is well lit and not dangerous. Again, the speed limit is 50. The thing with long tunnels is that the approaching vehicles sound like they are right behind you when they are not.
A HKG couple on folding bikes. They do one trip a year and plan it down to the finest detail.
Beans. The farm crops are truly amazing. They stop at nothing for perfection.
It is common to go through more than 10 tunnels a day. Obviously touring bikes need lights front and rear.
We were not surprised that the cartons were not where we had “hidden” them. With tape, zip-ties and rope on hand we bought some small boxes from a luggage storage/forwarding place and this level of protection worked fine.
The route. Definitely intending to come back!
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