Day 08 – Urakawa to Hiroo – Cape Erimo


Start: 11:00 / Arrival: 19:00
Distance: 100km / Gained height 600 hm

Although the weather may seem to be not to nice, this was one of the most incredible rides in my life so far. So diverse, with a bit of everything thrown in. Nature, wildlife, lights and food. Too good to be true.

First got woken up by an earthquake, with the guesthouse shaking for 20 seconds. It was ok, maybe the same as the earthquake I experienced in Taiwan.

Started of with an unsure forecast, but sky stayed stable. We were going today for Cape Erimo, the southernmost tip of central Hokkaido. Weather still being a little bit cloudy but dry, the surrounding mountains covered their tops shyly in clouds. So mystical.

Very rural areas, with unbelievable rock formations in the sea. This is the area, where Konbu is harvested. Thick algae you use as a base for dashi stock, so common in japanese cousine. Seemed like everyone here made their life from harvesting this good from the sea.

Almost every second home had the thick and fat algae lying around their homes, drying on stone ground. The trip was accompanied by the smell of it. We even saw some sea farmer, dressed up in neoprene collecting the goods from the sea. Incredible.

Air was also a little bit fizzy, not really raining – it was seawater blown away and dispersed directly in our faces. Felled so good and healthy.

At one point we discovered some japanese deer called Sika – took some pictures and while passing them they ran away like some mystical animal in a Studio Ghibli movie. Tears in my eyes, listening to sweet music from japanese artist Yumi Arai.

Before approaching Cape Erimo we passed some smooth hills, all covered in Midori green. Seemed like a mixture inbetween a surreal japanese landscapes and Ireland.

And just shortly before arriving at the cape – deers again. This time a full herd of more then 10 animals…while passing they also ran away, but this time with us. The beauty of those creatures running alongside with you while riding the bike was indescribable.

Finally approached Cape Erimo and went for some sightseeing and lunch. First had a look at the coast, with strange rock formations, carved by the sea over thousands of years.

There was also a restaurant offering fresh seafood, so got some ultra delicious and big sea snails. No hint of fishyness, nice texture – plain and delicious.

After leaving the cape we passed some lonely and magical woods, with the light changing slowly from grey to orange in the far distance.

Then it changed even more. All the trip the area was so sparsely populated, but now it got even more lonely. So it was only us, the seaside and green fields to the left, light changing slowly in colours I’ve never seen before.

Tunnels started to become more and more. Forgot how many there were. The longest one was 5km. Never had done such a long fully enclosed tunnel before. Lighting in it was strange, shifting its colours and becoming very Blade Runner like inbetween as well. I think in overall we made like 12-15km in tunnels overall.

Finally approached Hiroo in the dark, found a very nice Minshuku with a lovely and kind owner. Think telling her that we are doitsu, broke the ice.

Hiroo is a small and dying town, so as everything had already closed after the obligatory convenience store beer, we just had cheap and fast food from it as well.

Didn’t matter, as this was an extraordinary day of riding.


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