Chiba prefecture and Ibaraki prefecture have been two of my favourite spots for a quick weekend ride. They are easy to get too, offer quiet twisty roads, cute seaside towns, beachs and sunshine. Great relief from Tokyo. Stories and pictures from my three trips to this are are below.
One rainy day I did a day tour of the Boso peninsular by train, never bothering to leave the station. The whole round trip from Tokyo cost me and my friend only a local fare and provided great views of thundering surf, and wind swept waves – all from the comfort of a warmed train carriage. Thats how I like to ride in the wet! You can see some of the photos from that trip in Golden week on this post.
One quick weekend trip to Ibaraki did not go so well. It was October and damn cold despite being sunny. My gloves at the time did not cope well. I was heading to Oarai but before arriving stopped to warm my hands and belly at this family restaurant. Once I got talking to them and they found out I did not have a reservation for the night they promptly freaked out and started calling all the hotels in Oarai to see if there were free rooms. Little did I know or understand at the time that the Oarai marathon was on the next day! Every sold out hotel was met with shrieks and tut-tuts worthy of any mother. Eventually a room was found for me in hotel sawaya in Hokota and I was led their by some departing customers!
The next day I did get to sit on the beach in beautiful sunshine around Konaji. Eventually though I made it to Oarai and spend some time at the Oaraiisosaki Shrine (oarai-isosakijinja.or.jp
) before going a little further up the coast to have lunch by the beach in Ajigaura
(阿字ケ浦海水浴場 more info
) and head back to Tokyo on the Higashi-Mito Express-way. All was fine and wonderful for the whole weekend until I stopped about at a road-side stop on the expressway and when returning to the bike, it would not start. The neutral light, oil light and temperature light did not even come on when the ignition was on. How could I have a flat battery after 2 days of riding? Eventually I found the answer was that my regulator had blown and was pumping 18v in the battery, which killed it too! That night I had to catch a train home and come back with a mini truck a few days later to pick-up the bike! Ah, adventures!
My most recent trip was in March and I shot down to the Boso peninsular using the Tokyo Aqua line and stopping off in the middle of the bay for some nice photos and a Mt Fuji bread roll.
That weekend we managed to get down to Tateyama and visit the Sunosaki lighthouse, the Boso flower line in Konuma and enjoy some local hospitality, especially on our way back at CLs Cafe in Katsuyama (スナックブルーマリン
). We stopped in this little seaside cafe for an hour or two for breakfast on the Sunday. The collection of books and photagraphy magazines and the general homeliness of a place that seems in the middle of nowhere was brilliant. You can read the owners blog, mostly in Japanese, here
. The place is well worth a visit as you can hopefully see from the pics.
On the ride home that Sunday morning we were joined by a Harley motorbike club for a few kilometers, along the cliffs of Route 127, the Uchibo-Nagisa Line prior to rejoing the Tateyama Expressway via route 237 in Kanaya. The ride back over the Tokyo Aqua line bridge in strong winds was one of the scariest I have done, with the gusts pushing the bike side-ways, making it hard to maintain balance and line.
For more information of the places recently visited please refer to the Nomad-odyssey map
It’s official that I really don’t have many friends in Tokyo. After 9 months I still eat the majority of my meals alone. There are lots of reasons for this, the most of which is language and the least of which is the friendliness of the Japanese or myself. Regardless, I take heart in the fact I’m not the only one dining alone and that the food is amazing.
To capture how bearable this situation is I’m starting a new category to this already diversified blog, being the dinner diaries. Each time I dine alone and not at home I will share with you the… Vibe. Perhaps in this way I will feel less alone!
Tonight I’m in Koenji at El Pato, a quant little restaurant bar on my way to some live music at the Penguin bar nearby.
The Head chief and proprietor, Kiyoshi is a busy, bustling goateed young fellow with a woven hat, a friendly nature and good English, which is damn helpful. He is supported by his cariganed side kick and an able waitress. All lovely.
All I needed to say was that I was hungry and he recommended a double slice of roast beef with mash and gravy. How could I refuse!
It was damn good and washed down with a Lost Coast Great White and an Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale. Damn tasty beef and not common in Tokyo. They have a very good selection here and even some recognizable Ravenswood wines for the sommeliers out there.
Here is desert. What’s more to say? Oh the music was mellow and in tune with the atmosphere, and the smells – tantalizing. I could have stayed the night. A great find and highly recommended. Word from the locals is I need to come back and try the spare ribs!