Tohoku route

Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#1
Hi all, I'm planning a 4-5 day trip around the northern extremes of Tohoku next week (just waiting for the typhoon to pass), and would appreciate any advice on the area. Here's my provisional route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/671490

There are a few sights I want to see - Mount Osore (Bodaiji temple) and Cape Oma in Shimokita Hanto, Hirosaki in Aomori-ken, and Kakunodate in Akita-ken - but otherwise, the route's pretty flexible (however I'm more interested in putting kilometers down than climbing big hills).

Looking forward to doing some cycling in temperatures in the mid-high 20s rather than low-mid 30s! :)

Cheers,
Chris.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#2
I'm biased because I used to live in Kazuno for 3 years, but after Hirosaki in Aomori, I'd strongly recommend veering left and heading to Towada Lake on the 102, leave the lake via the 103*, head through Kazuno to the 341, cross Mt Hachimantai, and then back to your route.

It would be a shame to miss Lake Towada (very beautiful and isolated lake), and the roads south are quieter and scenic than going through Odate.

*Or even better, leave the lake via the 454 which is the famous Oirase Gorge, then hook back up to the 103 on the very pleasant 128...
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#3
Cheers Phil, that's exactly the kind of advice I was hoping for. I'd read that Lake Towada and its environs are particularly beautiful, but wasn't sure how to work it in. However, it seems the 1000m climb from Hirosaki is worth the effort, so I think I'll detour - who knows when (if ever) I'll be up there again.

Thanks again,
Chris.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,681
494
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#5
*Or even better, leave the lake via the 454 which is the famous Oirase Gorge, then hook back up to the 103 on the very pleasant 128...
Phils advice is good but 454 isn't the gorge, that's 102. 454 climbs up through a corner of Akita and then Iwate before dropping into Shingo town in Aomori, Jesus Christ is buried there( purportedly). It will bring you back to Hachinohe or onto route 4 which can take you back to Morioka. personally I would Hayabusa up to Aomori City then go across the bay to Wakinosawa (ferry) and go around the peninsular and bay coming up to Lake Towada through Towada town. Then up to Hirosaki and drop down the sea of Japan coast to Akita and then up the valley to Kakunodate. If you want to skip Hirosaki then Phil's route out of Towada works really well. Check out Koribeyers ride around Tohoku in 2009. She had an epic night ride down Yamagata. https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showpost.php?p=21056&postcount=24
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#6
Phils advice is good but 454 isn't the gorge, that's 102. 454 climbs up through a corner of Akita and then Iwate before dropping into Shingo town in Aomori, Jesus Christ is buried there( purportedly).
Thanks for the correction Simon, 102 is indeed the gorge, not the 454! However, I still recommend climbing from the lake via the 454. You can turn off it at the 128 (the road is visible if you zoom in on Google Maps) to get to the 104, thence 103 and the route south through Kazuno.
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#7
Ok, thanks again for the advice, now planning to head up to Hirosaki tomorrow, check out the castle (I quite like Japanese castles, even the small ones, and it's apparently a great example), and then set off on the reverse route Monday morn. First ferry from Aomori isn't until 9.40am, so skipping a little bit of Shimokita Hanto to ensure I make it to Bodaiji (Osore-zan) in enough time to have a good look. New route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/690126

I think I've got your recommendations for around Lake Towada straight: please have a gander and correct me if I'm wrong.

Cheers all,
Chris.
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#9
Actually, still slightly confused. Is the Oirase Gorge northwest on the 102 between Lake Towada and Hirosaki, or northeast on the 102 between Lake Towada and Towada-shi?
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#11
Righto, updated again http://ridewithgps.com/routes/690126 , skipping Akita completely and charging through the hills. The slight double-back on the south side of Lake Towada is because there's a hotel for the night there, then I can go back to the 454 and 128. Heard good things about Mt Hachimantai too, so really looking forward to this now.

Cheers,
Chris.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,681
494
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Japan
#12
Chris just watch the weather up there on Monday, Might still be some typhoon left floating around, looks like it should clear up from Tuesday. There is also a massive Airshow in Misawa on Sunday and the base has a day off on Monday so you might see a few non Japanese floating around. Enjoy your epic ride. Take care and rubber side down.
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#13
Yeah, I've been watching that typhoon all week and the damned thing is behind schedule! It was supposed to be over Aomori 3am Sunday, but it's about 18hrs slower. It is, however, moving out into the middle of the Sea of Japan (East Sea? ;)), missing Tohoku altogether, which is all good. The wind may be my biggest issue - it's nowhere near cold enough for a little rain to bother me.