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Report from the Land of the Ride'n Sun(59 posts)

Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 4:53 PM
Well after six months of begging, my wife has finally relented to my arguments of needing a biking camera to capture all these spectacular rides while in Japan. I think she got sick viewing my rides from the postage stamp-sized photos I was taking with my cell phone. I decided on a Sony Cyber-Shot U. It's a bit bulkier than what I wanted, but with its hardened case for weather and (hopefully) crash resistance, as well as one hand operation for on the fly shooting, I though it would seem ideal for the bike. It's still small enough to fit readily into a jersey and is hardly noticeable. So here is the début of my new bike cam on one of my favorite routes, the Asuka-Yoshinoyama loop.

My usual ride is about 65k, which covers mostly mountain areas with two peaks that are both about 500m. During this ride, I did some exploring and climbed another peak to about 860m. As with any new toy, I went a little wild with the camera. Sorry for all the shots.

Asuka is considered to be the "cradle of Japanese civilization." There are numerous historic sites and ruins from when Japan's first government coalesced here during the Asuka period (593-710). It is very picturesque and quite town, a place that the Japanese come to when they want to "get away from it all."

Here is me and my wife dressed in Asuka period garments. Check out the pleats on that babe! And the wife looks pretty good too.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 4:56 PM
Heading out from home of Tawaramoto town in the Nara Plain.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 4:58 PM
First view of the mountains. Still in the Nara plain.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:01 PM
Nearing the end of the first short climb when while entering the town of Asuka
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:03 PM
In the center of the picture is the Ishibutai Burial Mound in Asuka. It is Japan's largest chamber type tomb, and is composed of 30 stone with an aggregate weight of 2,300t.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:11 PM
This valley in Asuka is full of stepped rice paddies. It looks a bit boring now, but in fall the colors are amazing.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:12 PM
The road following the valley.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:15 PM
I always enjoy crossing this picturesque bridge. Hanging over the waters is a Shimenawa. This symbol from Japanese Shintoism is a rice straw rope decorated with zig-zag strips of white paper, which I understand are symbols of lighting.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:22 PM
Another one of my favorite views. A decrepit building hanging precariously over the bubbling brook below.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:25 PM
Heading out of town. From here, it's a nice 3k climb to the top of the first peak.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:28 PM
Road side shrines are very common. It is very unlucky to remove a shrine. Construction workers will take extraordinary measures during road construction to preserve the shrines site, such as creating niches on the mountains side and bulges in the road. Often you will find small offerings at the shrine, such as sake,beer, and satsumas.
What is a satsuma? (nm)PseuZQ
Jan 12, 2004 9:26 PM
It's a citrus similar to an orange. (nm)Fattrax
Jan 12, 2004 9:32 PM
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:30 PM
Heading up into the woods
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:35 PM
More up. Heading around a hairpin. Notice the Jizu shrine at the bend. This Buddhist monk is a protector of travelers and children. Often they are seen with red bibs and caps.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:37 PM
View while getting close to the top.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:39 PM
Almost at the first summit.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:42 PM
Heading down. You can see a bit of the road just left of center. Tons of turns. Unfortunately the road is a bit precarious being a bit narrow with lots of blind corners and the occasional oncoming traffic. Still, this is one screaming descent.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:45 PM
Heading into the town of Yoshino.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:47 PM
Crossing the Yoshino River. Love the pink bridge.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n Sundave_w
Jan 12, 2004 6:56 PM
The pink is perfectly juxtaposed against the "Selle Italia saddle neon green" hand rails. :)
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:49 PM
Yoshino River
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 5:52 PM
The end of the line. At the base of Yoshinoyama is the end of a train line. For the less hearty, a tram line will take you to shrine area at the top of Yoshinoyama.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:01 PM
Heading up yoshinoyama. The town of Yoshino and Yoshinoyama (yama is Japanese for mountain) are famous throughout Japan for its legendary "thee-thousand" wild cherry blossoms. A few of which you see here. In actuality there are tens of thousands of trees that cover the mountains in the area. Through the use of a tiered planting system, all of Yoshinoyama is covered in a blizzard of cherry blossoms for a month in spring. Y'all in DC have a bit of an idea what it is like around the tidal basin.

A poem from Fujiwara no Ietaka

I look out today
And see even the clouds
buried in blossoms;
The haze cannot overcome
The mountains of Yoshino

I'll be sure to share with you cherry blossom season.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:02 PM
More up
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:19 PM
Concrete Torii. Torris can be constructed of iron, wood or concrete and often are painted in vermilion. They always have a double lintel. They mark the sacred precinct of a Shinto shrine and are placed at the entrance or on pathways leading up to the shrine.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:23 PM
More up.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:24 PM
Temple Guardians. Here is the main gate leading into Kimpusenji temple. You can see the two frightening guardian gods doing their best keep evil forces at bay.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:26 PM
Fly by store.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:29 PM
Passing by the temple. Here you can see the wooden Zaodo Hall from the temple peeking over the roof tops.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunSkooter
Jan 12, 2004 6:31 PM
You need to re-plant your yard.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:34 PM
My usual route takes me down and out of the Yoshinoyama area, I decided to do some exploring down another road that lead further up into the mountains. This was probably thee steepest road I've been on during the ride.
Now <i>THAT</i> looks steep! Nice report & pic's. -nmTig
Jan 12, 2004 7:59 PM
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:36 PM
More up. You can see the guard rail for the switch backs along the face of the mountain, as well as many dormant cherry trees.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:39 PM
Top of the mountain. I'm not sure what this shrine is at the top of the climb, but I think its name is Mikumarijinja. This is the highest point of the trip.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:42 PM
Checking out the shrine. Since this is about an hour walk from the main temple complex below, this place was pretty empty.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:44 PM
View from the top of the mountain.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:47 PM
More mountain top view. You can see the town that I went through in the middle of the picture. I live somewhere past that far ridge in the middle.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:49 PM
Heading back down. Pretty tough on the breaks. Steep road with lots of switch backs. More cherry trees.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:51 PM
Back along the Yoshino River.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:54 PM
Heading back into the hills and to home.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:56 PM
After a nice climb, I come to this tunnel that will lead through the mountain. It's about 2.2 k long. There is a mountain road that goes over, but I'm too ready to get home to have tried it out, yet.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 6:59 PM
Out on the other side of the tunnel. It's a killer descent back into Nara valley. Only down side is that the narrow winding road is more populated with heavy trucks and buses than before. Got to be really on your toes.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 7:01 PM
All right! Miller Time! Picking up a couple of cold ones for post ride workout.
Asahi beer!Asiago
Jan 12, 2004 8:24 PM
Asahi is becoming quite scare 'round these parts. It seems that every place that used to sell it no longer does. :(

Asiago
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 7:03 PM
Mi casa.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunFattrax
Jan 12, 2004 7:05 PM
Nice hot bath waiting for me. Thanks Hon!
Beautiful!CritLover
Jan 12, 2004 9:19 PM
That looks like an amazing place, pparticularly the combination of Eastern religion, nature, and architecture. By the way, what was the temperature on your ride? And how warm does it get during the summer?

Thanks for the report- your new toy takes great photos.
Beautiful!Fattrax
Jan 13, 2004 5:22 AM
I couldn't tell you the exact temperature, but I think around 40F. I had a shell, long jersey, and pants, and was comfortable. I started with a hat and gloves, but ditched those after an hour or so. Summer is pretty brutal. The humidity is particularly bad. We have been told repeatedly that both this past winter and summer have been particularly mild (this is our first year here). Strange considering that we first were sweltering our satsumas off and now are freezing them. Overall, I think the weather is comparable to that in DC. However, insulation and central HVAC is an almost in unheard of concept in Japanese homes, so it's very tough to find a reprieve from the weather. The best time of year is fall and spring.
Thumbs Updave_w
Jan 12, 2004 7:05 PM
Very nice, and the steppes look cool even with out the extra color. Congrats on the new pic taker.
Great (and enticing) ride report...The Walrus
Jan 12, 2004 7:13 PM
...but forget the beer--aren't there any vending machines nearby with that
i great
hot canned corn soup? I lived on that stuff for 3 weeks...

Don't apologize for "all the shots"--you know we eat up this stuff!
Did you post the shots manually or have you written...Bruno S
Jan 12, 2004 7:24 PM
an application that automates the process?

When ever I post a ride report I end up dizzy of all the clicking and going back and forth between the different windows.

BTW very nice photos.
Did you post the shots manually or have you written...Fattrax
Jan 12, 2004 7:59 PM
No program. I had to do a lot of back and forth. Getting everything together and posted took a few hours. Lot's of back of forth between photo editing, MS Word, and the browser. But at the moment, I don't have any classes to teach. So, I have time to spend on all my adoring fans. ;)
If I'm doing a multi picture postScot_Gore
Jan 13, 2004 9:51 AM
I'll often click into RBR's photo upload and just load the pictures up and copy the pictures address into Word. I don't post my message now, I cancel out and move into Word. Once I've got the URLs in Word, then I type my message text to go along with each URL (picture). Then I return to RBR, start a new message and copy and paste both the message text and picure address into the first message and subsequent reply's to the first message. This minimizes the bopping between RBR forum, RBR picture upload, picture software, and word processor all at once. If you do it this way you only have to bop between two things at a time versus 4.

HTH

Scot
2 hours spent posting ! you're a fanatic ! Demo arigatou.PeterRider
Jan 12, 2004 8:02 PM
that's why I never post all the images when writing a ride report. One script for resizing the image, one script for generating the webpage, a bit of text under each image, in 20 minutes I'm done. The toughest part is to choose the color I use for the background.

Would be nice to figure out a way to post at the same time a bunch of pictures on this forum...

Pierre
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n SunAkirasho
Jan 12, 2004 8:13 PM
... thanks for the pics...

Your photos illustrate the topological challenges that cover most of the home islands.

Be the bike.
re: Report from the Land of the Ride'n Sunmoschika
Jan 12, 2004 10:03 PM
i enjoyed the trip, especially the steeps parts since i didn't have to work too hard to see the view from the tops.

great first post i've been able to read on this forum in a long time.

thanks for sharing.
Home sick and sitting in AngolaGeoCyclist
Jan 13, 2004 2:42 AM
Hi Fattrax,

Your ride report was great!!! The pics sure make me home sick. I haven't even been gone a week and I'm already wishing I was back cycling in Yamaguchi. It's going to be a very long month before I get back on the bike! Thanks for the post.

Ride On
You must be having the TIME OF YOUR LIFE !CARBON110
Jan 13, 2004 9:27 AM
Im pysched for you =D