We are heading back to Japan - Six Wheels Through Japan Part 2 - CycleBlaze

We are heading back to Japan

Well, we have been home for almost 3 months and Japan is calling to us to return. Having been home based for the past 3+yrs due to COVID and medical issues, we are trying to make up for last time. So  we paid for travel insurance for the year. We really have no choice!

Since acquiring our trikes, we have discovered that we are happiest while riding them, so, we are heading back once again to explore on six wheels the wonders of Japan, focusing this time on Shikoku, Kyushu and possibly Okinawa.   

Travelling in Japan earlier this year exceeded our expectations.   As cyclists, we felt welcomed by all we encountered and we were daily the recipient of random acts of kindness from strangers who would be waiting by the road with cold drinks or food, waves of encouragement and big smiles. Osaka has more bikes than Amsterdam and it amazed us that pedestrians, cyclists, baby carriages, etc share the sidewalks in perfect harmony.  Initially, we were shy and reluctant to ride our trikes with the crowds of people, but nobody seemed to mind. Somehow, it works and we enjoyed being a part of this wondrous surreal dance.

We will be flying from Vancouver to Osaka on October 20th with a layover at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. A benefit of returning so soon is that we can learn from the mistakes we made on the first trip. On our last trip, we learned that the layover time in Tokyo of 1 hour and 20 min was not sufficient to  make our connecting flight. Granted, it didn't help that our flight was a bit late arriving in Tokyo due to turbulence, and that our trikes were slow to be released by the baggage handlers. Arriving on an international flight and connecting with a domestic flight requires that you go through immigration, pick up your luggage and trikes, transfer to another terminal by bus (need minimum 15 min), check in for the connecting flight and go through security again.  Of course, the trikes take time as security inspect them with each flight.  Even if we had been on time, we doubt that we would have made the connecting flight.

Something we did right was flying with ANA, All Nippon Airways. We love this airline, the crew are excellent and  vprovide outstanding service. The ANA ground crew were also very helpful when we realized that we would have to stay the night in Tokyo. We approached an ANA employee in the baggage area, and in no time, she had arranged a hotel for us and handed us a handful of cash to cover  our meals, the  hotel at the airport as well as our pre booked hotel  in Osaka.  As we would learn, Japan has a cash based culture and this work brilliantly...no paperwork - simple and efficient.  We have decided to have a 12 hour layover in Tokyo and we will be staying at the same hotel.  After a long flight from Vancouver we will relax in the hotel's hot spring bath (onsen) and  take a connecting flight to Osaka in the morning.  The hotel is conveniently located just steps from the check in counter for our flight.

We were about to load our trikes on trolleys when this group of ANA workers were walking by and insisted that they would do it for us. Barry had to reluctantly step aside as he wanted to help..

Trikes are loaded….their job is done. Much bowing ensued and we headed out to the bus to head to the next terminal. What a fantastic introduction to the wonders of Japanese people and travel in Japan.
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Their customer service extended to taking our trikes and luggage to the bus.
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Once again, when we got off the bus at the next terminal, ANA employees rushed over with carts to load our trikes for us. They wouldn’t let Barry or I help as their dedication to customer service precludes our involvement.
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We will be staying three days in Osaka at Hotel the Lutheran, or as we refer to it..our home away from home in Osaka. It is the perfect hotel for us...comfortable, great location and best of all there is  an underground garage where we can store our trikes. Last trip, we connected with a local fellow, Yoshi, who owns a recumbent bike shop...a very rare type of business in Japan.   His expertise as a mechanic and his friendship are another special aspect of going to Osaka. Yoshi has kindly agreed to store our Shimano Steps batteries and chargers for us.  We look forward to seeing him again.

Visiting Yoshi and his wife at his shop, HC Works Recumbents.
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Our plan is to take an over night ferry from Osaka to Imabari on Shikoku. Imabari is at the start of the best cycling route in Japan-the Shimanami Kaido Cycling Road. The route connects Imabari (on Shikoku)to Onomichi (on the mainland) near Hiroshima. The route crosses six bridges and six islands over the Seto Inland Sea. We will ride to Onomichi and then return to Imabari via a different route.

From Imabari we begin the Shikoku portion of our trip. We will be riding along the coastline from Tokushima in a clockwise direction to the west side of Shikoku where we will take a ferry to Kyushu. After exploring Kyushu for about a month we are thinking about taking a ferry from Kagoshima to Okinawa.  Time will tell.

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Rich FrasierWow, a new trip to follow! I really enjoyed the last one - looking forward to this new adventure.
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9 months ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithMe too! I enjoyed the last trip to Japan with you so much and now I'm looking forward to the new places you'll take us this time.
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9 months ago
Larry MitchellOutstanding! Would love to see the packing process for your trikes as we are contemplating extending our riding having cycled the 50 states. I have a process for our Terratrike Travellers but we have now upgraded to a set of ICE 20” Adventures.
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9 months ago
Ron SeguinLooking forward to following your next adventure. I'm just back from Japan myself. As with you, it exceeded my expectations, and I can't wait to return and see more.
If you've got time while on Kyushu, consider a side trip to the Goto Islands, accessible by ferry from Nagasaki or Fukuoka. It's a little island paradise, definitely off the beaten path.
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9 months ago
Barry BartlettTo Ron SeguinHi Ron,
Thanks for the heads up about Goto Island. We are really looking forward to explore the islands off Kyushu. Glad to hear about your experience in Japan. One week to go before we fly!
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9 months ago
Ron SeguinTo Barry BartlettIf you haven't already found it, the website of Shimanami Guesthouse Cyclonoie in Imabari is a treasure trove of info for the Shimanami Kaido and Tobishima Kaido cycle routes. It's also a nice place to stay, with indoor parking for the trikes, and a discount coupon for the onsen.
Be sure to stop at the "cyclist sanctuary" at the michi no eki located mid way between Imabari and Onomichi. The lemon soft creme there was the best of my trip.
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9 months ago