Ozu - The fifth step ... the length of Japan. - CycleBlaze

October 1, 2018

Ozu

Typhoon Trami passed by Matsuyama with us hardly noticing it.  The main storm passed east of us and what we experienced in Matsuyama wasn't exceptional.

The first hour on the bicycles today (after two days of no riding at all) was spent getting out of Matsuyama and the adjacent city of Iyo.  There was small climb to get over a large headland and then it was flat the rest of the way.  Typhoon Trami did make itself felt in the strong headwind we had to work against until we got to Nagahama where we turned inland to Ozu.

A drinks break halfway up the climb out of Iyo.
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A good stock of wood for the coming winter.
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The typhoon had left the sea looking quite unhappy.  A bit like an old dog whose slumber has been disturbed.  It was full of debris, some of it quite large such as tree turnks.

The disgruntled sea.
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After turning inland we rode up a broad valley through which the Hijikawa River flows from Ozu.  The wind was now over our right shoulders and helped us along quite nicely.

The broad valley through which the Hijikawa River flows.
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When we got to Ozu we headed straight for the castle.  It has been restored recently and looks too new and shiny to seem real.  However, it is apparently one of the most authentically restored castles in Japan.

Ozu Castle.
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Ozu Castle.
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Ozu Castle.
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We weren't sure where we would be spending the night.  We used the views from the top of the castle to look for a suitable spot but nothing looked promising.  The map showed a small park next to an onsen about two kilometers up the river so that's where we headed. 

Kizan Park is not much more than a steep knoll covered in trees.  At the top is a small shelter which was already occupied by a tent when we got there.  Getting the bicycles up would be a bit of hard work but was doable.  So we headed to the onsen - which was really good - and then had some konbini supper before dragging the bikes up the rough path to the top of the knoll.  The occupant of the tent came and had a chat with us while we were setting up.  He is from Tokushima on the northern end of the island and spoke reasonably good English so a proper conversation was possible.  We aren't sure if he is a henro or not but we think the shelter is there for henros to use.  Our tent is set up on some moss between two small shrines so I suspect this little hill has some spiritual significance.

Today's ride: 66 km (41 miles)
Total: 2,666 km (1,656 miles)

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