Tour de Hokurikudo

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
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#1
TCC Golden Week Tour: the Tour de Hokurikudo!

This eight-day ride is a continuation of two previous tours: the Tour d'Echoline (Morioka-Sendai) and the Tour de Tohoku II (Sendai-Niigata).

Please find a crude outline of the route planned below (it doesn't follow roads and shall be updated in the near future; we'll try to avoid big and busy roads)

=> http://www.mapmyride.com/route/jp/hokuriku/729124018827198581

Day 1 (May 2, 2009): setting out to Niigata by shinkansen Niigata - Nagano
Day 2 (May 3, 2009): Nagano- Toyama City
Day 3 (May 4, 2009): Noto Peninsula, Toyama City - Wajima (?)
Day 4 (May 5, 2009): Noto Peninsula, Wajima - Kanazawa
Day 5 (May 6, 2009): Kanazawa - Ouno (Fukui)
Day 6 (May 7, 2009): Ouno - Nagahama (Shiga)
Day 7 (May 8, 2009): Lake Biwa, Nagahama - Kyoto

Day 8 (May 9, 2009): optional day of sightseeing in Kyoto, back to Tokyo by shinkansen

Accomodation: minshuku or business hotels (we do not reserve in advance)

Other TCC members have expressed their interest in joining Sergey and I for a few days, and we invite everyone else to ride along. Speed shall be fast, but not too fast, average distance per day will be around 150+km, there will be interesting hills to climb (or so I hope), while evenings will be dedicated to the exploration of local onsen, food and spirits.
:beer:
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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Kanazawa
#2
Your route thru Kanazawa looks pretty sketchy, and I'm busy right then with a daughter being home from college (from osaka), but let me know and I'll provide whatever help I can for a pleasant route thru town.
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
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#3
Your route thru Kanazawa looks pretty sketchy, and I'm busy right then with a daughter being home from college (from osaka), but let me know and I'll provide whatever help I can for a pleasant route thru town.
Thanks jdd, looking forward to meeting you in Kanazawa!

By the way, Chris has decided to join the entire tour. So three riders from Niigata to Kyoto so far:

- Chris
- Sergey
- Thomas
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
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#4
Apparently, five TCC members will start out to Niigata next Saturday. As May 2nd will be "hell on rails" day, we should reserve shink tickets as soon as possible. Chris found out that the first train will leave Tokyo Sta. at 06:14AM (Toki 301).

Shall we synchronise the reservation procedures or will it be everyone by themselves?
 

chris

Warming-Up
Mar 18, 2008
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Tokyo
#5
Route suggestions

I have played around with the maps a bit and created a few routes along the planned itinerary, just as a basis and to get a feeling for distances:

Part 1: Niigata – Toyama: 237km
http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/japan/niigata-toyama/902124105272968013

Part2: Toyama – Kanazawa via Noto Hanto: 316km
http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/japan/toyama-kanazawa-noto/411124106495939976

Part 3: Kanazawa – Oono: 89km
I created the GPX track via mapsource. When uploading to mapmyride only a straight line shows up, not the actual routing. The Garmin device however, displays the correct route. File is attached.

Part 4: Oono Nagahama: 90.6km
Same as part 4

Part 5: Nagahama – Kyoto: 128km
http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/japan/nagahama---kyoto/687124106300990262
I talked to my wife who is from Kansai and she recommends riding on the West side of Biwa-ko which is less busy than the Eastern shore.


total distance would be 860km. For parts 1,2 and 5 I looked at rides posted by Japanese riders on http://route.alpslab.jp/ and modified them slightly to suit our planning.

All the tracks are attached as .gpx files...

Looking forward to a great trip...:lips:
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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Kanazawa
#6
Chris (and others),

Your route coming into Kanazawa looks fine--pretty much the tour de noto in reverse. The route you've marked comes a little further into town that the start of that. The last little bit, tho, where you leave Uchinada and cross into tomizumachi/Kanazawa, is the route to take, but it is a major four lane, busy road. There's really no other way to get around most of the port area.

However, to get into town from where your marked route ends, I'd suggest going just a bit further on 8 to muryojimachi and taking the right turn to go past いきいき魚市. Follow that on around to the intersection marked as 大野口, and turn right again. Take that road on out towards the ocean--to the 醤油組合 (and a lighthouse). The road (the only road) kind of loops past that and then there a long straightaway (not quite 2km) that at the end will bend to the left.

The water that you'll see there is the Saigawa (犀川) and there's another small fishing port there. After that bend to the left, look across the river and you'll see a hospital on the other side (金石病院). Basically, you want to keep the water on your right and get around the small fishing area to almost cross the bridge over the river to the hospital. It's not far at all. Just before the bridge, maybe 20-30m back, there's a small entrance on the left to a bike path which will take you all the way downtown.

The first 500m of the path is wide and easy, then it narrows for another 800m or so, then it then it widens a bit, for maybe 2km, and then really broadens out (almost like a two lane road) for the rest of the way into town--it takes you to within about 200m of Katamachi--ground zero around here.

How to know when to get off the path... Two ways to figure that. One, go until you hits some gates, where you would have to dismount to get thru. Turn around and go back to the first available place to get up on the streets.

Two, you'll go under a number of bridges on this path, only one of which will be the train line (there's some shikansen construction right next to it). After you go under the tracks, you've got about 500-600m to go. You'll go under a small pedestrian-only bridge 200m or so after the tracks, and then under a regular car bridge (route 146) another couple hundred meters past that. Another 100+m past that there's a very wide incline up to the left--that's your exit. Follow the road on up the river another few hundred meters to the second bridge (route 157). Take a left and you'll immediately be in downtown Kanazawa.

Or, you could do the brute force approach and brave the big four/six-lane road. From where your route stops over by the port, take a left and head directly for Kanazawa station. Tons of cars and all city, but it's big and wide enough that you could ride it safely.

Another even more brute force approach would be to take a left at Uchinada high school onto route 200 (before the end of your marked route). Start off on 200, but follow the traffic (200 actually turns off the main road). Trouble with this one is that after going under the expressway, you're in major city traffic.

***

Anyway, I hope you see this before you get to town.
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
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#7
Day 1: Niigata - Itoigawa

Posted via iPhone

jdd, thanks for the detailed info! Brute force it will be most likely.

We have altered our original plans & stopped over at Itoigawa today, riding almost 180km. R402 between Niigata and Nagaoka is one of the most scenic & picturesque roads I've ever seen. The coastline reminded me of the Normandy. R8 was busy, so we resorted to using the "Kubiki Bicycle and Walker Road". Finding accomodation turned out to be difficult, so we ended up in Itoigawa. More tomorrow. :)
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
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#8
Day 6 - Kyoto, the Beautiful

Day 6: we have made it into the Western capital. 870km through the prefectures of Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Shiga and Kyoto. We had to alter our original plan as we were unable to find accomodation in Noto and Kanazawa due to GW. Today we faced averse conditions, cycling 120km in pouring rain.

Sergey will head back tomorrow, Chris and I will spend another two days here in Kyoto, exploring the surroundings of the ancient capital. A detailed report with pictures will follow. :)
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
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Jul 26, 2008
2,498
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Kanazawa
#12
Thomas--Great report, but too bad about the lodging troubles.

It's good to read that you rode up the tedori-gawa. That's a beautiful area. The roads are fine--better on the south side of the river--but did you happen to stumble across the cycle road that goes partway along there? (We live on that end of town--it's maybe 8-9km to 鶴来 and then great riding on from there.)

Here are two shots of the river from a ways above 倉が岳:

(looking down river, hard to see it, some water visible lower left of center)
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi4.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fy142%2Fjdd489%2FFH000006.jpg&hash=49e8f094e9d43ee9b68c8aef56fcf551

(and coastline also barely visible)

(up river, note the road down on the left)
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi4.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fy142%2Fjdd489%2FFH000005.jpg&hash=8b8b664ff9db06968248928a84b5ddcc
 

chris

Warming-Up
Mar 18, 2008
22
0
0
Tokyo
#14
Hola,

I got back yesterday after adding a "Tour d'Honneur" around Kobe and a couple of days around Kamikochi in the Alps (off the bike). After Thomas and Sergey had left I originally planned to have an easy ride (finally) around Kyoto but thanks to the perfect weather and the great scenery I got into a cyclist's high and ended up riding 110km along little villages and rivers and up and down the hills. This was easily the most scenic ride I have enjoyed in Japan so far and I would recommend it to anyone going to Kyoto. Here is the link to the map:
http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/japan/kyoto/370124219354819174


The next day I left early to head for Nakatsugawa, which is the nearest station to the 2 charming Edo-style villages Magome and Tsugamo in the Kiso valley. The two are connected by an old postal road (Nakasendo) which was largely been preserved in its original state. I arrived there around 9:00, before the hoards of tourist buses got there.

I continued to ride along the Kiso valley but route 19 clearly was not suitable for a relaxed and enjoyable ride. Luckily my wife was on the way to pick me up anyways and so I rested in the little town of Suhara, which turned out the final destination of the biking trip.

Afterwards we took the car to the Shirahone onsen resort and hiked around Kamikochi on the following days. We basically stayed on the mostly flat hiking trails but after around 10km my legs were toast and I was looking forward to onsen + dinner recover program.

In short this was a superb trip with the right mix of adventure, great scenery, a bit of pain and the mandatory rain day. Hanging out with Sergey and Thomas was great fun on and off the bike. Initially I was a bit scared, having taken a two months break from biking while they were still in race-shape. However, they kindly waited for me on the hills and every day I got more and more used to the long rides again.

It looks like I will be leaving Japan for a few months but hope to do at least one more ride this weekend....

Chris