Tohoku tour two.

#1
I know there are a number of threads up about touring in the north, so maybe it would be better to jump on those rather than starting another... but I'm feeling greedy and since everyone is doing something a little different, figured it would be ok to start my own:D

First of all, for anyone who wants to see pictures of the first Tohoku tour. I blogged. Started in Sendai, up the coast, around the eastern ShimoKita peninsula, back to Hachinohe, train to Tokyo home.

I would highly recommend that coast route, though staying on the smaller detours as much as possible was a little slower (and much hillier) also so beautiful. Generally speaking, it kicked my ass but that's why you tour in Japan, right?:p climb climb climb.

The plan this time: lighter, faster, stronger, start where I left off.

I'm riding my beautiful Six and will have a small backpack (I think it's 10L, made for trail runners) and will carry a tiny light weight hammock and plan to go cheap and "rough it" in camp grounds as much as possible. Yes, I'm traveling through Obon with no reservations. I realize I may end up sleeping in strange, not so comfortable places. But I'm cool with that. I'm in a the-universe-will-provide-spiritual-journey sorta groove... There may be some couchsurfing mixed in. I accept there will be many mosquito bites in my future.

However, if I give up on that after a few days, I will be doing the 'credit card touring' version of the trip.

I'll navigate by Mapple (the original plan was to get myself a shiny iPhone4 to help with maps, but I'm tripping all over the logistics of making that happen in a timely manner)

To begin with, Fri Aug 6th Hachinohe, 7th up on Towada, 8th Aomori-shi, 9th somewhere on the western peninsula... head south for basically two weeks.:D

:bike::bike::bike:

Questions:

I'll be starting off at Hachinohe and heading up to Towada. What is the best approach from the east? Are the tour buses so bad on Oshirase that the road should be avoided? I mean, are they worse than going up to Hakone?

Also, for those who have done multiple day/week trips, how much maintainable do you give your bike? How often do you clean the chain, for instance? My experience before was that after about 1000km, I needed a break and my bike needed some love. But then again, it was kind of a beater bike from the start. (The bottom bracket was totally shot by the end of the trip. So gritty...)

Anyway, good luck to you other tourers and thanks for any tips to pass around. (and Kiwisimon, I'll pm you soon).

And yes, speaking Japanese is helpful but not so necessary, especially if you are one of those people who have a plan or set destination each day (unlike me who usually used the highly effective planning strategy of going into convenience stores and asking where the minshukus with the best food are).:cool:
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
648
133
Kanazawa
#2
Kori--thanks for the write-up! The bit (no pun intended) about the flies is very good to know.

A couple questions...

Is this the west side of Shimokita-hantou?
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2F3.bp.blogspot.com%2F_AFeHQfeSrk4%2FSOB-ngO2W5I%2FAAAAAAAAAoc%2FY-l3S_QZe8s%2Fs400%2FIMG_5936.JPG&hash=3cf9ac2e4dd6c935722a5a31a428efd2


What low gearing did you use on your first ride? Something lower than typical road? And what this time? (maybe a compact, so 34-27?)

Is yours a Hennessy hammock?
http://www.hennessyhammock.com/catalogue.html

Thanks,

John D.
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
564
242
63
Hanno, Saitama
#3
Katori-senkou (蚊取り線香) have provided reasonable mosquito repulsion in my experience. Inexpensive, available in most combinis, and I rather like the smell.
 
#4
Those Hensley's look nice! But no, I'm going much simpler
http://www.byerofmaine.com/products/amazonas/the-easy-traveller.html

about 500g and pretty compact (ish) Cover myself in mosquito repellent and hope for the best.
proxy.php?image=https%3A%2F%2Fmail.google.com%2Fmail%2F%3Fui%3D2%26ik%3D37bf291ae6%26view%3Datt%26th%3D12a1dbb29bdd8844%26attid%3D0.1%26disp%3Dinline%26zw&hash=03376c3c71ebc7e3b636e91d7db58e3e


The picture is around km 65 of this map, making it North side of the peninsula
http://www.mapmyride.com/route/jp/aomori/158128040059880970
I swear the grade was often 10%....
Beautiful views. *^&#$%^@*&^#T@(*&#@$)#(*&^ flies....

As for gearing, whatever came on the 2003 Bianchi Brava. I had a triple in the front but the bike was not designed to carry weight--one of the reasons I had 3 broken spokes!:eek:uch:

The internet tells me I had
Crankset Shimano Sora Triple, 30/42/52 teeth
Rear Cogs 8-speed, 12 - 25 teeth
and about a zillion problems with my ghetto derailleur.
live and learn...
I'm really excited do go out again with a lighter better system!
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#5
I'll be starting off at Hachinohe and heading up to Towada. What is the best approach from the east? Are the tour buses so bad on Oshirase that the road should be avoided? I mean, are they worse than going up to Hakone?
Oirase right, not Oshirase?

I'm not too familiar with any of the approaches other than from the south (though I've driven them all), but even in peak autumn season Towada never feels crowded--too far from the madding crowds of Tokyo.

Definitely recommend the Hakka Toke to exit Towada, as it's a quiet road all the way to Oyu. Very steep coming off the lake, but then a long gentle descent afterwards.

My favorite camp site in Japan is a few kms further along the lake past the turnoff to Hakka... 200 yen, right by the lake, usually empty. Spent many a weekend there when living in Kazuno.
 
#6
Thanks Phil,

Yes! Oirase is what I meant (Rt 102). Better than Tokyo is definitely what I want to hear.

I played with the idea of doing Shikoku instead this summer but the combination of it being hotter and being plagued by tour buses along the 88 temple route put me off. Plus, camping looks easier in Tohoku (?)

It looks like the kanji for Hakka is 発荷 and it's on the southern side of the lake? I see the camp logo in my Mapple.

Thanks for the tip!
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#7
発荷, that's right.

Just to clarify, the campground I mean is the 滝ノ沢 one around the lake a bit on the north-west corner, not the one just before the Hakka turnoff. (Although that one is okay, at 滝ノ沢 you can camp among the trees right on the lake shore.)
 
#9
The tentative plan...

So, I'm sure I'll change my mind once I get going, but the tentative plan looks something like this.

http://www.mapmyride.com/route/jp/tohoku/187128090344528070

Friday night up to Hachinohe by Shinkansen, Sat up to Towada --through Oirase gorge and around Towadako to a campground Phil recommended around the 100km mark on the map.

Sunday down the other Oirase road to Aomori city and then up the coast of the western peninsula. Possibly stopping around the 209km mark, or continuing around the coast or crossing inland. Any recommendations?

Depending on coastal headwind, food availability, daylight etc, 230km mark or more may be totally doable.

Monday, finishing the peninsula loop on Rt 339 and going south past Jusanko on Rt 12 and then little Rt 43 that parallels the Iwakigawa into Tsurugawa-city. Looks like there is a campground around the 340km mark, near the Rt 31 and 39 juncture. and another around the 350 km mark where Rt 30 and Rt 39 meet.

Tuesday, Rt 30 around Iwaki-san... up it? There's a toll road to the top. Who knows how crazy I'll feel by then.

But then maybe down Rt 3 and over to Rt 28.
Rt 28 goes through Shirakami, which I've heard is beautiful.

However... Is Rt 28 paved the whole way??? for instance, between my km marks of 380-440 ??
My Mapple is a 2008 and a little ambiguous about it. But it looks like it must be based on some website information. Have any of you done that route?

Looks like there is camping on the coast near Nijuko, around the 460 km mark.

Then maybe a flat day down the coast to Oga hot springs? I imagine the traffic won't be so nice. Or maybe head inland as soon as possible on Rt 63?

I haven't thought much past that, but am paying attention to the Tokyo/Kanazawa thread up. I don't know when or how I'll feel when I get to Niigata, but crossing over from there might be good. Then again, I might not have time.

Anyway, any thoughts about the route I've already picked? Any suggestions from there?

I'm so excited!
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
648
133
Kanazawa
#10
At your 195 mile point (approx) why not take route 12 south thru the lakes area instead of turning inland?

That's probably a little boring area to ride--lots of flats, but 12 seems more direct, and my guess less traffic.

***

Some of what you've mapped out is the reverse of what I'll be trying a couple few weeks later. And go a little further south from your end-point to Akita-shi, lots of trains from there.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
648
133
Kanazawa
#11
Or, oops, you're talking about coming on south.

Let's read those teas leaves as they happen....

Free beer and a meal with us if you do happen to make it to Kanazawa.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#13
You'll need to hit the toll gate way before 8am (the opening time). I was chased by the guard and reprimanded. So - took the Rt 30 around the Mt. Caught in downpour - but actually cooling. I wish I was still up there to hook up on this ride - you7re gonna have great time!

So, I'm sure I'll change my mind once I get going, but the tentative plan looks something like this.


Tuesday, Rt 30 around Iwaki-san... up it? There's a toll road to the top. Who knows how crazy I'll feel by then.

But then maybe down Rt 3 and over to Rt 28.
Rt 28 goes through Shirakami, which I've heard is beautiful.
I'm so excited!