This blog is about travelling through Japan on a foldable bicycle (Brompton) but also by train, ferry, plane, bus or any other transport, if sea, weather, mountains or the like come between me and my desire to ride.
I have tried to summarise information that could be potentially helpful also for other bicycle travellers through Japan, such as list of bicycle roads, helpful web pages etc. Once I start my ride, I will upload the actual routes taken, together with some pictures and description.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Part 5 (Day 21 - Day 25) Sado island 佐渡島 - Summary

Bicycle touring Japan - Sado Island - Part 5

In this post I review the four days I spent on Sado exploring the island by bicycle and entering into one of Japan's bicycle heavens. 

Bicycle: 120 km
Other transport: 290 km
Region: Sado Island
Total riding time: 9:30 h
Total ascent: 861 m 

These days I have discovered Sado island and was fascinated by its beautiful villages and rural landscape. Sado is definitely a cyclist dream, both for the more leisurely riders as myself, as well as for more ambitious riders who like steep rides (why would anyone like to ride up hills is a mystery to me).

Here an approximate map of the ride as Google shows it, the actual rides are, as always in the day-to-day descriptions:

The actual routes I took are in the Strava or Garmin feed of each day:

And here an overview of the costs.

In my original plan, only 2 days were allotted to Sado island, but partially due to the rain everywhere else and not so partially due to the beauty and relaxation on Sado I made it into a 4 day, 3 night stay, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

For me Sado was really the quintessential Japanese country side. Small villages with actually nice houses that are lived in. A active village life with matsuris (see Day 24) for and by the locals, and sufficient sightseeing spots to keep also a tourist busy for some days and all this with very little tourists! At least at the temples I visited practically no tourists. Only at the toki-bird park and the sake factory were there any tourists, but actually this change from touristy to not-touristy makes that you enjoy even more the non-touristic parts, feeling privileged to be able to "discover" these parts.

Sado island, or at least the plain between Ryotsu and Mano would seem to be a cyclist paradise:
  • A lot of small scenic streets with little or no traffic
Street by Sobama beach
  • Not a lot of traffic on the main roads either
  • A very nice ride along the Kokufu river

  • Cycle path along the Kokufu river
  • Some cycling maps are available from the tourist information and rental bicycles are available as well. 
  • Very nice landscape and really nice small villages and towns. 
View over Mano bay
  • Some sightseeing spots, such as temples, shrines and sunset over the beach
  • Some onsen (I don't think there are any spectacular onsen, like in Kurobe gorge or Hirayu onsen), but Sado is famous for its good waters and soaking in a local neighborhood onsen is also nice. 
Even the ride over to Ogi was enjoyable for me, although there were some mountains (hills?) to master, but I was repaid by a different landscape around Sobama beach, more rural Japan and empty roads. 

And while I didn't meet a lot of other cyclists (as already in the weeks before, except in Hokkaido), it was the first time I met 3 other bromptonists! 
  • The husband of the owner of the B&B has a brompton that he uses when he "flees" to Okinawa in the long winter. 
  • A women from Nagoya I met in the onsen in Ogi owns a brompton which she hardly every uses.
  • And on the ferry back from Ogi to Honshu there was even an other folded up brompton with its rider. 
To the enjoyment of Sado, it did help that I was generally lucky with the weather. Two very nice and sunny days, 2 cloudy days, but only a few drops of rain on the last day, which I did sit out in the onsen waiting for my ferry to bring me back to Honshu. While practically everywhere else in Japan (with the exception of Hokkaido) it was raining. 

Regarding gear, I don't think that I learned anything new. Surprisingly although this is my first long term bicycle travel, I have brought the right equipment with me. At least it does work perfectly for me. And with washing machines widely available at hotels, washing every few days has so far not been a problem.

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