Saturday, January 31, 2015

Okushiobara Motoyu Onsen with Schwalbe Winter Tyres

Today, Brompton and I went to Okushiobara Motoyu Onsen in Tochigi prefecture for a day trip through blizzard. It was not a good condition for a bike ride but I wanted to pioneer a new dimension of Brompton use.
course: Motoyu entrance bus stop→ Motoyu Onsen OOIDE-KAN
distance: 4.5 km
maximum difference of elevation: 240m
average % of slope: total 3.9% ascend 6.7% descend 6.2%
gained elevation: ascend 251m descend 37m

Okushiobara Motoyu Onsen is a part of famous Shiobara Onsen. Shiobara Onsen is located one hundred fifty kilo meters north of Tokyo and one of the most known hot spring towns in Kanto Region of Japan. Motoyu is said to be the origin of Shiobara Onsen starting 1200 years ago. When you go toward the end of Shiobara Valley, you can reach Motoyu Onsen. Although Shiobara Onsen is fairly developed with a large number of hotels and lodges, there are only three Onsen lodges in Okushiobara Motoyu Onsen where is surrounded by deep forest and mountains which give it a decidedly secluded environs.

I want to use a pair of Schwalbe Winter 16 inch stud tyres for Brompton. Motoyu area has enormous snow falls during winter and the route to Motoyu has steep slopes. I suppose that the road condition is worst for a bike ride, thus appropriate to know the performance of these new stud tyres.

OOIDE-KAN, today's destination, is one of three secluded hot spring lodges in Motoyu Onsen and very popular amongst Onsen lovers.

There are two transportation options to  Motoyu Onsen. The regular way is to go to Nasu-Shiobara Station by Shinkansen and to Shiobara Onsen by bus. Today I took another way by Tobu Railway's rapid train, leaving Asakusa early in the morning, arriving at Kamimiyori Shiobara Onsenguchi Station via Yagan Railway. You can take a bus to Motoyu Onsen Iriguchi.

Weather report told cloudy today but it snows.

Getting off the bus at Motoyu Onsenguchi, I started my Brompton to the destination.

Motoyu Onsen is 4.5km away from here with about 240m hill climbing of completely snow-covered road. I expect that Schwalbe Winter will enable Brompton to get to the hot spring as usual.

The blizzard is getting more firece.

There is a warning sign telling that any vehicle without Non-skid devices cannot go beyond. I have non-skid devices. No problem.


Finally Brompton and I are arriving at OOIDE-KAN.

Let's go to Suminoyu, famous for the only black water hot spring in Japan.

You see the differences in color. One is black and another is brownish green. Wonderful!

Next, shall I try an open-air bath with today's wonderful snow view.

Wow, it's excellent!

I enjoyed a completely secluded hot spring in the snow mountain.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Yunohana Onsen with Schwalbe Winter Tyres

Today, Brompton and I went to Yunohana Onsen in Aizu Region for a day trip through a snow-covered road. It was not a good condition for a bike ride but I wanted to try a new equipment for Brompton.

It is second time to visit Yunohana Onsen. There are four public bath of hot spring in the village and I went to Ishinoyu and Yubatanoyu last time but no enough time to dip myself into famous Tenjin-no-yu. There is another reason, trial use of Schwalbe Winter Tyres on the snow-covered road.

course: Tateiwa Tourist Information bus stop→ Yunohaha Onsen →Tochu bus stop
distance: 7.6km
maximum difference of elevation: 58m
average % of slope: total 0.4% ascend 2.1% descend 1.9%
gained elevation: ascend 63m descend 35m

The train arrived at Aizu Kogen Ozeguchi station. The area around the station was covered with deep snow.

Brompton and I took a bus ride in order to go beyond Nakayama pass, with elevation of 975m.

Snow was getting more and more when our bus went beyond the mountain. Fortunately it was getting fine and warm though weather report told it might snow in the region. I got off the bus at Tateiwa bus stop.
Today my Brompton M3L was equipped with Schwarbe Winter Stud 16 inch tyres.

Let's go to Yunohana Onsen.

The road to Yunohana Onsen village was covered by snow. The Schwalbe Winter Tyres perfectly bit snow surface and studs cut into freezed pavements. Brompton ran as if I just rode on the normal paved road in Summer. Brompton was able to keep 16-18 km/hour on the pressed snow road.

Soon I arrived in Yunohana Onsen village. I needed to buy a spa ticket in advance.

This is "Tenjin no yu" spa, very famous amongst Onsen lovers.

A good news is no one arrived yet but it still needed to fill the hot spring in the bathtub.

When the bathtub is not yet filled up, only thing I can do is to wait.
An hour later, the bathtub was finally filled up with hot spring water.

It was a wonderful and perfect experience of Onsen in the snow country.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Brompton Lovers Gathering in Tokyo #18

On January 11, it was a perfect weather in winter with blue sky. My Brompton S2L and I were a part of the Brompton gathering. The gathering is held bimonthly at the Imperial Palace Park near Tokyo Station. 79 Bromptons gathered to stand in a row.

After lunch in a nearby restaurant, we paid a visit to shrines all together for the first pray this year. It's a part of Japanese tradition.
I appreciate everyone who planed the gethering and who joined it today!

Have a happy new year! My best regard to all the Brompton lovers in the world!

Related: Brompton Gathering in Palace

Schwalbe Winter Studded Tyre for Brompton

Let's bring your Brompton equipped with studded tyres to a snow-covered mountain.

Schwalbe Winter HS396 Rigid Tyre - 16 x 1.20 Inch (30-349) fits Brompton
- Spikes 72
- Weight: 465g (16oz)
- Pressure: 4.50-8.00 Bar (65-115 psi)
- Maximum Load: 65kg 

Thanks for Schwalbe Winter Studded Tyres, I am enjoying snow roads in the mountains with my Brompton.

A pair of Schwalbe Winter Tyres (16 x 1.20 Inch)  with 72 spikes each and deep tred patterns enable Brompton to grip snow surface and guarantee a safe ride on a snow road.

Only thing you need to be careful is that studs might cause a scratch on the flame painting when folded. It can be avoided if you just put protection film or something on the center flame pipe.

Kaikake Onsen in the heavy snow

Today, Brompton and I went to the Kaikake Onsen hot spring in Echigoyuzawa of Niigata prefecture for a day trip through blizzard.

Echigoyuzawa is famous place for the novel "Yukiguni" meaning "Snow Land" written by Yasunari Kawabata.

I took a bus to the nearest bus stop to Kaikake Onsen.

Then I started Brompton toward the secret spring in the snow country.

Finally the lodge was seen in the heap of big snow.

Freezing! Let's being soaked in the hot spring!

The open air bath here is marvelous.

It was a wonderful experience of bathing in the snow!