What's new

Ride VeloViewer tiling in Japan

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,214
2,815
Oh.. and all tiles registered. I turned off the auto-pause feature, so maybe that was it. Thanks for the advice @Half-Fast Mike
Thanks for the feedback! Just a clarification: I disable auto-pause when I get off the bike and start walking, and reactivate when I start riding again. I prefer auto-pause when applicable, so that I don't get weird squiggles while parked-up at a convenience store or similar. But as you've found to your dismay, cycle computer's auto-pause doesn't cope well at hiking speeds. Even when pushing my bike, with the speed sensor working, the GPS record can be patchy below around 5 km/h.

My wife stepped in a pothole, fell over, and broke her ankle ten days ago. I had a cycling trip planned with my tiling accomplice. Last time we tried we were rained-off by this year's endless tsuyu rainy season. So of course I went, having left details instructions with my two (questionably) adult sons about how to water the herbs and feed themselves and their mother. I'm so glad I took the plunge, as it might be the last major adventure for a while :-(

I have ridden around the Fuji Lakes several times, but it was a first for my friend. We had - to my mind - glorious views of Fujisan. She was disappointed that it wasn't covered with pretty snow in the summer. "Boring bald mountain!" So disrespectful.

20200817-103900-fuji-izu.jpeg

Four lakes (Kawaguchi-ko, Sai-ko, Anaza-ko, and Motosu-ko) on the first day. It was hot, but there was enough shade on the roads around and between the lakes to survive. And of course lakes can offer a good opportunity to cool down.

20200817-121514-fuji-izu.jpeg

We took a few detours, as one must, to bag easy-ish tiles not too far from the regular tourist route. One was the lower section of a hiking trail to 5th station through the (in)famous Aokigahara-jukai forest. I must say its reputation of being eerily quiet is deserved. Luckily the tile border was just before the point where the paved-but-dirty road turned to gravel. No cell service at all. But fortunately GPS worked OK; the tile was recorded.

20200817-141917-fuji-izu.jpeg

For the second day, we road from Kawaguchi-ko , around most of Yamanaka-ko (thereby 'collecting' the last five of the Fuji Five Lakes.

20200818-072407-fuji-izu.jpeg

After Kagozaka pass, the 40 km downhill was a lot of fun. We passed Camp Fuji (oooh.. hello soldier!) and stopped to let the morning parade of military dust-generators pass.

20200818-090858-fuji-izub.jpeg

After the downhill, there was a long section of flatness through Susono and Mishima to Shūzenji. A lot of this was on riverside paths, but there was not a lot of shade to be found in the middle of the day.

20200818-113044-fuji-izu.jpeg

It was getting unbearably hot. We (almost-literally) stumbled across and into The Crank. I don't mean @microcord; this is a bicycle-friendly Italian restaurant by Shūzenji station that provided the perfect combination of air-conditioning, good food, and endless supplies of ice water with a smile. Definitely worth another visit. We stayed as long as we dared before venturing out.

From there the road went up, but never too steeply, to our destination in Izu-kōgen. There was more cloud and tree-shade in the afternoon, and it wasn't too bad.

Day 1 - 3 new tiles
Day 2 - 36 new tiles

20200818-144142-fuji-izu.jpeg

Well... back to being nurse, cook, cleaner, butler, personal shopper, et cetera.
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,008
1,083
@Half-Fast Mike Sorry to hear that your wife broke her ankle. You'd think if anyone was going to break anything, based on your descending speed on rock strewn roads, it would be you. Hope she mends quickly.

Re the auto-pause: I have the Garmin 530 which, as you know, is a push button type computer. It is a PITA to switch auto-pause on and off so I just left it on the whole time. Not optimal, but won't miss a tile that way (fingers crossed).

Sounds like a nice ride. Was wondering what the traffic was like up around the lakes. Are there bike paths available for some/much/most of it, or is the traffic not too bad? (Inquiring minds :glasses:)
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,214
2,815
Was wondering what the traffic was like up around the lakes. Are there bike paths available for some/much/most of it, or is the traffic not too bad?

From memory, pretty much like this (red = busy, blue = quiet). This was a Monday, though. Sundays might see a rather different mix of private/commerical traffic.

There are reasonable sidewalks on the busier roads, and we used them to escape from the trucks and to benefit from the shade. Most of the way around the lakes there's a blue 'cycle route' painted in the gutter as you ride counter-clockwise.

SafariSnap 001.jpg

There are several short tunnels along the north side of Kawaguchi-ko. Always skip them and take the quiet path that follows the water's edge.

But take care on the last one! I was nearly caught out by the 'traffic-calming measures'.

SafariSnap 002.jpg

Pootling along quiet one-way road that avoids the tunnel, enjoying the view. Pass little traffic island (1). A few moments later there's what appears to be another one (2)... but it's not. The left side is actually a lay-by, with a 6" concrete kerb at the far end. I spotted it in good time to bunnyhop, but if I'd been distracted it would have been a nasty crash.

Plain sailing other than that.
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,008
1,083
Thanks! Good info. Lots more blue than I expected. Will have to add this to my planned routes.

FWIW, I'm trying to knock out the Okutama tiles this summer. Thinking of doing the route and hike-a-bike up north of the Nippara caves. If you have an interest to do that sometime in the next couple weeks, let me know.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,214
2,815
route and hike-a-bike up north of the Nippara caves. If you have an interest to do that sometime in the next couple weeks, let me know.

Ah yes - this elusive beastie...

Google ChromeSnap 001.jpg

Walking from that trailhead is the most practical way to get it. The rindō is a nice ride, with the right bike.

Logistics: as wife is invalid at the moment, I'll have to prepare food a day ahead. But as wife is invalid at the moment, I have exclusive use of the van! Should be able to work something out as I have a lot of brownie points in the bank and she should be on the mend in a week or two.
 

stu_kawagoe

Maximum Pace
Jun 23, 2018
899
945
That area round Nippara looks good. AFAIK there are no proper roads from Hanno to it though. Have either of you crossed to near Naguri Dan from that side before? I think it would be a nice ride with right bike.
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,008
1,083
That area round Nippara looks good. AFAIK there are no proper roads from Hanno to it though. Have either of you crossed to near Naguri Dan from that side before? I think it would be a nice ride with right bike.

Technically, looks like there is a hiking route up and over the ridgeline between the dam and the caves, but whether it's bikeable, I have no idea.
Screen Shot 2020-08-22 at 17.17.40.png
@Half-Fast Mike or @joewein Does the X in the orange box present any obstacle to a future tiling expedition up above the caves?
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,214
2,815
@Half-Fast Mike or @joewein Does the X in the orange box present any obstacle to a future tiling expedition up above the caves?
Caution - risk of misadventure

I guess that's why the hiking trails aren't marked with red dots anymore. They definitely used to be, and are still marked on OSM. With the trails being officially closed they'll be rather overgrown - some machete work may be needed.

SafariSnap 001.jpg

This is the route I have ready - a loop hike, prepared just after I failed to reach the tile from the other side. But I haven't ridden the upper Nippara (Ogawadani) rindō since before the Jan 2019 road closure.

 
Last edited:

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,008
1,083
Okutama is turning out to be a difficult area after last year's typhoon damage.

@Half-Fast Mike said that the path to 'C' (from the northern approach to the tile) was blocked. Is it impassible/impossible? Worth a second try? Would you expect that the approach from the south (D) would be also be blocked? Should we postpone our misadventure until the red x is gone (if that ever happens).

I'm up for a bit of misadventure as long as it isn't a death defying challenge. I'm already going to have to go back up there to do B and E again ( :eek: ), so I hope that if I/we make the effort to get the tile, the tiling Gods will not deny me/us our reward.

FWIW, on the map, there used to be a bit of hiking path from point A, that allowed access to the adjacent tile (that is otherwise difficult to get to. When I was up there a week or so ago, the bike path ended and I couldn't really spot a discernable hiking trailhead (although I saw quite a few abandoned hiking sticks). So I figure there must be a trail but if there was one, it looked like a serious one. But I noticed that you also turned around at the same spot I did whenever you did that ride. Now I'm wondering whether to give up on that tile or try again in case I missed something. Any ideas?
Screen Shot 2020-08-23 at 7.41.59.png
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,930
2,118
Technically, looks like there is a hiking route up and over the ridgeline between the dam and the caves, but whether it's bikeable, I have no idea.
View attachment 20808
@Half-Fast Mike or @joewein Does the X in the orange box present any obstacle to a future tiling expedition up above the caves?
The X in the orange box seems to be for north of the Nippara cave. When I was tiling in that vicinity, I ventured through the car park past the caves and ended up at this locked gate:

IMG_20190505_145049.jpg

I didn't venture past it.

I did however venture up the red dotted line leading from the Nippara road to right in between the other two red Xes. Only the first half or so is a road, then it becomes a hiking path. Forget about taking a bike on the off-road portion there. There were steps and places where you hold on to a rope as you climb. Here are pictures from that ride and hike (look for selfies with towel and waterfall pics for hike portion). I would not expect anything easier further up the mountains.
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,008
1,083
Thanks, Joe. I did that section between the two x's the other day but didn't go as far up the path as you did. Really pretty up there, but yeah, biking it is not an option.

I wonder if they will ever fix these mountain passes that have been taken out over the past three typhoon seasons. I've been here 30 years now and don't ever remember more damage being done. Getting to be pointless to try to keep them open under these circumstances... but I hope they do.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,930
2,118
@Karl, I don't have much hope for many if not most of the rindos over time.

I mean, just look at Yabitsu or the Ghost town route. It's a losing battle. Many of our favourite routes have been closed as much as being open in recent years. It's not just one bad typhoon last year, unfortunately.

Few young people chose to remain in the mountainous rural areas, so now it's almost all old people who will be too old to do forest work, the primary reason for these roads to exist. With not much rural revenue, mountains of public debt and a dense road network too extensive to maintain, this state of affairs simply isn't sustainable. Enjoy it while it lasts!

The only upside is that we will have more quiet rindos to ourselves after they get closed to cars but before they become unpassable even on a bike. Eventually nature will reclaim it, like it's been doing for years on the southern part of Rt76 through the Tanzawa mountains.

Gravel is the future!
 

luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
2,000
1,717
The only upside is that we will have more quiet rindos to ourselves after they get closed to cars but before they become unpassable even on a bike.

if they fall into total disuse and neglect I think that will be at most 2-3 seasons before nature totally reclaims it all
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,008
1,083
@joewein I miss route 70 up to Yabitsu. It was near enough that it made a nice day trip w/o the need to rinko. Guess I'd better get as many mountain tiles done now or it will soon be impossible. Would be great if this typhoon season was more chill.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,930
2,118
Same here! Rt 70 to Yabitsu was one of my "Go To" routes. I could get up in the morning and head out west and if I hadn't made up my mind where to go that day by the time I hit the Tamagawa, I could always go to Yabitsu via Miyagase :) I could always appreciate it. Especially in summer there is something magical about riding along a river, hearing the sound of water.
 

stu_kawagoe

Maximum Pace
Jun 23, 2018
899
945
OnE bright spot is they’ve started opening up a bit more of the Green Line and work seems to be underway on some of the other parts. Not an area totally off the beaten track but better than nothing.
 
Last edited:

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,214
2,815
Is it impassible/impossible?
After a lot of scary scrambling trying to find the path, I concluded it was gone and I'd be lucky to get out of the woods without falling and breaking my leg. There's just... nothing there anymore. Not even pink ribbons.
Would you expect that the approach from the south (D) would be also be blocked?
No evidence either way. When I rode the rindō to that approach, I hadn't tried (and failed) the north approach yet, so I didn't investigate the trail going up from the south.
point A [...] I couldn't really spot a discernable hiking trailhead
I think this is it - up and over the wall

Google ChromeSnap 001.jpg

My intention is to get that (and the rest of my uncollected mainland Tokyo tiles) with a two-day hike across Kumotoriyama, featuring a few diversions.

But your way (red dots) is rather shorter than mine (green dots). I guess because the way through to the ridge has been closed for years (since 2014) nobody in their right mind even bothers.

SafariSnap 002.jpg
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,008
1,083
After a lot of scary scrambling trying to find the path, I concluded it was gone and I'd be lucky to get out of the woods without falling and breaking my leg. There's just... nothing there anymore. Not even pink ribbons.

Nuts.

I think this is it - up and over the wall

That looks right. So there's hope! :)

But your way (red dots) is rather shorter than mine (green dots). I guess because the way through to the ridge has been closed for years (since 2014) nobody in their right mind even bothers.

Must have been 10 walking sticks laying around the trailhead there, so I guess some folks are still doing part of that trail. So, worth it to go back up there and check it out when I have more time.

So many tiles, so little time.:eek:
 
Top Bottom