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.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Osaka to Kyoto and up to Yoshiminedera 大阪から善峯寺経由で京都へ

Bicycle: 63  km
Train: 40 km 
Route: Shin-Osaka to Arashiyama and up to Yoshiminedera
Total riding time: 4:47 h
Total ascent: 519 
Weather: cold (4C) and cloudy at the end in Arashiyama a bit of rain

For this long weekend I had originally planned to go to Matsue and Izumo... but the weather forecast did only get worse and worse over there for the long weekend, so I cancelled my bookings, and rebooked for Golden Week and decided instead to just stay in Osaka and head out from here.

Today was the turn of Yoshiminedera. A temple in Kyoto I would swear that I have never been to. 

But before leaving Osaka, I passed by a bicycle shop and bought a new helmet. Unfortunately they didn't have a cap for below the helmet, so it was sometimes a bit cold at the head, because it was only about 4C today. 

The ride from Osaka to Kyoto is the typical Japanese ride along a river. Nothing spectacular, but a good bicycle highway, wouldn't it be for these really annoying "traps" to avoid motorcyclists (and wheelchair users as a matter of fact) access the off limit path: 

Riding into Kyoto before getting to nice areas, I also had to pass an area that was totally dedicated to cars. Not sure how many bridges, tunnels, roads crossed there within a few hundred meters. 

Riding on, on the course I had planned on Garmin, by total surprise I came through a big shrine complex in Nagaokakyo. 

After visiting the shrine I had lunch in a typical place geared to middle aged women, right at the foot of the shrine. Then I continued my ride towards Yoshiminedera coming through a real bamboo grove. Not a touristic one as in Arashiyama, but a real one, where bamboo are grown in order to be harvested. 

Continuing on to the temple, the road got steeper and steeper (not that I was surprised, Garmin and google maps did tell me as much). And well, at a certain point there wasn't anything else but to push the bicycle up. Sometimes even only pushing the bicycle was hard work. But I made it, and was rewarded by a view over the plain of Kyoto: 

The temple itself is nicely on the mountains and quite large with many different buildings. 

It must be spectacular with the autumn colours, but now, the mountains around were still kind of grayish, as no leaves have yet grow. 

The temple also houses the largest pine tree of Japan, or so they claim. At least it must be the broadest. This picture shows the tree from left to right: 

Obviously well supported, so that all needles point upwards and no branch it as risk of falling. 

After a thorough visit, it was time to head to Arashiyama and my onsen of the day. Last time I went to Arashiyama, I went to a small and tranquil onsen close to Arashiyama station, but this time I had selected an other onsen, Tenzan no yu and it was a good choice. Although the rotenburo area isn't very large (squarmeter wise) it is well used, with 2 different pools, two tubs and water to lye in. All very enjoyable. Also the architecture, specially of the rotenburo area is very nice. It imitates a shrine, with the typical lamps you see at so many shrines and even with this thick cord you see so often between a torii. The onsen seems to be quite popular with foreigners as well, probably because Arashiyama is popular with foreigners. And I can imagine that it could become too crowded. But today was okay.

As I had time I got my Akasuri scrub done. The lady, Korean as always, was very gentle, but still a lot of old skin particles were cleaned away. Then dinner in the onsen. Perfect plan!

After dinner I just had 2 km to Arashiyama station, from where I got a train back to Osaka and then rode to my temporary home from Awaji station. In Kyoto it was raining a bit, not too bad, but not nice. In Osaka luckily it didn't. And the weather forecast for tomorrow looks great: Sunny... but we will see tomorrow.

Here the maps of today's rides:

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