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.

Friday, 3 May 2019

GW 2019 - Day 7 Wakayama to Matsue 和歌山から松江へ

Bicycle: 35 km
Train: 385 km
Route: Wakayama to Yasugi by train, Yasugi to Matsue on the bicycle
Total riding time: 2:06 h
Total ascent: 67 
Average speed: 16.6 km/h
Weather: Sunny and warm, but also very windy mainly tail wind though, 24 C

The time in Kansai was over and today was the day on the move, from Wakayama to Matsue. From a geographical point it made no sense to change from Kansai to San'in, but San'in is always going to be far away, and there were several spots here that I wanted to visit, so when I organized the trip at end of January I made some hotel reservations here for GW. 

The day started relatively early, so I could catch the 8:43 express train from Wakayama to Shin-Osaka. In Shin-Osaka I had 15 min to change to a Shinkansen to Okayama, which I managed without needing to hurry. Shin-Osaka station was very busy, but if you know where you are going it wasn't too bad. The last change of train was then in Okayama, where I even managed to buy a bento box on the platform before boarding the train. Although this was Friday of GW, the only train that was visible full was the Shinkansen. The other express trains were not specially busy. 

The train ride from Okayama to Yasugi accross the wild and mountainous centre of Japan was very interesting. Although travelling by train, so in a valley that presumably has more population than a valley without any train connection, the villages were small and far between, while the forests were enormous. It must be very nice during the koyo season, but even now in spring the mountains shimmer in different types of green. 

I took the train until Yasugi, from where I continued on my bicycle first to the Adachi Museum and then to Matsue. Although I had planned out a route, somehow Garmin had it in the wrong direction, but on the ground it was actually quite easy to understand where to go, and where nice small country back roads could be. The museum is a bit inwards but along a river, so nearly no elevation. The museum building was a surprising anti-climax. I somehow had assumed that the museum would be a nice building, plus nice art plus a very nice garden. Well, in summary, I would say that only the garden was very nice. 

The museum building itself is rather ugly and it doesn't help that around it so many souvenir shops, a theatre and other buildings have sprung up, that it reminds one more of a shopping mall than a fine art museum.  The art exhibits also were not really for me. Some where simply ugly (e.g. some drawings made for children) and others, simply didn't interest me. Now, it didn't help that the museum was very full and the air inside no longer fresh. 

However the main attraction of this museum is its large Japanese traditional garden: 

However even the garden has a negative point, one cannot actually go outside into the garden and even the points where to admire it from outside, rather than from behind closed windows are only a few. So yes, the garden is very nice and integrates extremely well with the scenery around, but admiring a garden from behind closed windows just takes so much away from the real enjoyment of a garden. I do get it that Japanese gardens traditionally were made to be looked at, rather than to be used for walking, but looking at them from a closed room is not the same as looking at them from a tatami room or from a balcony. 

So ultimately I did not stay that long in the museum. 

Continuing on to Matsue I was able to find in nearly all places a small parallel road to the main road with little or no traffic. Matsue is in a very unique position, surrounded by water and mountains. There is one big lake right in Matsue, which is connected with an other lake by Yonago. The Japan Sea isn't too far away either, but there is a row of mountains blocking the access (at least for me). 

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