Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sanuki Udon (Japanese noodle)

Brompton and I went to SANUKI, the Holy Land of UDON, Japanese traditional noodle, in order to visit the best UDON restaurants in Japan.

Sanuki is an area with long history in Shikoku Island, far from Tokyo but relatively near Osaka. Because Shikoku and Honshu are connected by railway bridge and road bridge and even by ferry, you can easily go. In my case, I got off a train at Sakaide Station and used Brompton for a ride to reach these restaurants.

route: Sakaide Station → Gamou → Tamura → Matsuoka → Nakamura → Marugame Station
distance: 29.4km
maximum difference of an elevation: 60m
average % of inclination: total -0.1% ascent 2.4% descent 2%
gained elevation: ascent 115m descent 99m

First, Gamou Restaurant at 8 o'clock in the morning. It is very famous and has nation-wide reputation. Do not miss.

When I finished, see this. They know this good restaurant very well.

Next, Tamura. I came here for the first time.

Uncle Tamura was a jolly person.

Wow, delicious.

Then, moved on to Matsuoka, the best one in the area and where I really wanted to go today. There was no signboard or any other indication of the name "MATSUOKA" but the curtain only saying "UDON, best taste."

Well, it is impossible to discribe this heavenly taste and smooth feeling of UDON noodle going down my throat. You should come here to eat before you die.

It is a nice country view with a local train running in the meadow.

There was another legendary Udon restaurant, Nakamura. Unfortunately it was closed on that day. I need to come back another day!

I visit Sanuki every summer to eat wonderful UDON. If you have Brompton, please come to ride and eat Udon for all the day. Your satisfaction guaranteed!

What is "Sanuki Udon"
This chewy but smooth texture,white wheat noodle is always associated with this area of Shikoku, Japan’s fourth main island. They are traditionally served plain to be dipped in a soup stock made from fish and kelp and with toppings, such as fried fish meat, fried squid, and raw egg.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Mt. Fuji Hill Climb Race

Brompton and I were a part of the Mt. Fuji Hill Climb Race, one of the largest cycle events in which 8,500 cyclists participated. There were not only Japanese but also a lot of Taiwanese people and Belgian, English, Swiss and others.

Though it had rained since last night, the clouds started to go away.

About the time of my starting, already no rain.

Ready, set, ....

Go! The riders had to went through the 25km distance and 1,255m elevation of Fuji Subaru Skyline heading for the 5th station of Mt. Fuji at an elevation of 2,305 meters.

What sturdy people they are! I cannot beat them.

Because the number of participants reached more than 8000, there were quite variety of people.

This rider with this costume, Hatsune Miku, is very famous. He is very fast rider though he always rides a granny bike, not at all an expensive sport type one.

What! I saw this type of bike for the first time. It seems that his friend did not reach the goal but he did!

Reached at an elevation of 1405m.

The point of the second station 1596m.

The point of the third station 1786m

From the hight of beyond 2000 meters. A wonderful view.

Go Brompton!


When I changed at the goal place I met two pretty guys in costume. Right: Miku Hatsune and left: Ikamusume (a squid girl). Both are very popular characters amongst Japanese computer nerds.

After a while, riders who had arrived at the goal were divided into several groups. Each group was time by time instructed to down the hill as a group.

After a comfortable and thrilling downhill ride at high speed of average 38km/h, there was an udon bowl (Japanese noodle) treatment.

At the awarding ceremony, I was surprised that there were 31 participants who are older than 70 and reached the goal. Most of them are faster than me!

Why don't you come and join the Fuji Hill Climb Race next year?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bromptons went to the best Island hot springs ever in the world

Yesterday Bromptons and us went to Jinata Onsen, the best island onsen, located in the Shikine-jima Island where can be reached out from Tokyo for a day trip.

The setting of this onsen couldn’t be more dramatic: it’s located in a rocky cleft in the seashore of the tiny island Shikine-jima, an island only a few hours’ ride of high-speed jet ferry Seven Islands from Tokyo. The hot spring pools are formed by the seaside rocks. It’s one of those onsen that only works when the tide is right. You can spend a few lovely hours here watching the Pacific rollers crashing on the rocks. And, there are two or three other excellent onsen on the island when you get tired of this one.

In a way of access to the Shikine-jima island, you can take a overnight ship from Tokyo. (Takeshiba Pier near JR Hamamatsu-cho Station)  You might also choose the high-speed jet ferry during daytime to the island.

When you wake up in the next morning, the island is already up there. The ship arrives in the port of the Shikine Island at 8 am.

Please hurry up to the best island hot spring "Jinata Onsen" located at another end of the island with your bikes because it is so popular and you had better reach there first.

After going across this tiny island, you'll see the stunning shot up there at the entrance of the trail leading to Jinata Onsen.

You park your Brompton at the parking space and you need to walk down a steep staircase to the hot spring.

When you go over this cleft,

You look at the seashore, where brown hot water spings gushing up from the bottom of the sea and you can bath in the pools comfortably. The hot spring holds a lot of iron in solution. That's why the color is brown. The Jinata hot spring has a long history to cure illness of residents and visitors.

A plenty of earth origin natural hot spring flows into my original bath tub.

The view from the rock bath tub is like this. I enjoyed the bathing experience for an hour in Jinata.

Then, let's go to the next one on another beach.

In a rocky beach of Shikine Island, there is another special hot spring, Funaritto Oku-Oku Onsen, which only emerges during the timing of spring big tide for about an hour each time before being submerged into the sea again. 

It means that there are only several chances per year to appear above the sea water. We fortunately met the timing!

You can enjoy bathing here with an excellent ocean view and fresh submarine hot spring bubbling up from the bottom of the seashore only if you are lucky.

After an amazing experience, we hurried to the lunch place.

Before leaving the island, we climbed to the top of the mountain!