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, 7 November 2017

Day 43 - Yamatoyagi to Osaka 大和八木から大阪へ

Bicycle touring Japan - Day 43

This blog post is about the last day of cycling in Kansai, leaving Nara prefecture after having visited the nice old town of Imaicho and then riding all the way to Shin-Osaka station. 

Bicycle: 56 km
Riding time: 4:13 h 
Total ascent:  226 m
Route: Yamatoyagi to Osaka
Weather: Sunny and some clouds, later overcast, 18 - 21 C

Today for the last day in Nara prefecture, I visited the small city center of Imaicho, which was really close from where I had been staying the last two nights in Yamatoyagi, just a few blocks away. 

Imaicho is a really surprising example of a small town (or quarter) still very well conserved. Yes, not all houses are old, but most. Work is ongoing to reform some houses, but most are already in quite good shape. But what I really liked about it is the near absence shops for tourists and tourists as well. This quarter still seems to be inhabited by pretty normal people who have been living there for ages and doing their everyday chores. Yes, there are a few shops for tourists, but very low key. And it is not just one street (like in Takayama or also other places), but really an entire city quarter. After coming here, I really wonder why tourists would trek all the way to Takayama to see ONE street of old houses, that are mostly occupied by touristy shops, instead of just taking a train for maybe less than 1 h from Nara (where many tourists might be going anyway) and visit Imaicho. But much better they don't and this small town can conserve just a little longer its nonchalance of existence. 

I started the visit at the information center (although it actually didn't have that much information), which is just outside of the quarter of Imaicho in this very impressive building:

There I received a map and went on to discover the different old buildings in town:

But I think what I liked most was simply the atmosphere of the streets:

In  small shop I got some Omiyage for my Osaka colleagues and then continued on my way to Osaka. 

As in the last few days, I saw more old houses and also not so old houses with very impressive roof tiling. 

I had some problem yesterday planning the route in Garmin, as "popularity" tracing wanted me to go over a 500 m mountain and "Follow street" somehow didn't work. This is not the first time that neither of the two work and I have no idea why. But still I had been able to find nice small roads out of Nara prefecture. Over the small mountain (about 100 m and actually it was over before I noticed), for the last km or so there was only a rather big road, but then down in Osaka I relatively quickly came onto a typical Japanese cycle lane on top of a river dike:

Riding once across the entire city of Osaka took quite some time, maybe 2.5 h or more. Some of it was through nice (well, normal) living quarters, but the more central parts I had sometimes problems finding smaller roads, specially on the last km prior to reaching my hotel close to Shin Osaka station. But I mad it here without problems. Before I made just a small detour to see Osaka castle from outside and  take a few pictures with beginning autumn colours:

In the evening I had dinner with two colleagues from Osaka office and now getting ready to meet my boss tomorrow.

Bicycle touring Japan - Ride maps

For details on the bicycle tour today in Nara and Osaka, checkout the below maps:

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