Friday, August 17, 2007

Noto peninsula and island

Four days cycling around Noto peninsula, which was really hot! Just to prove it - those days Saitama prefecture recorded absolut heat record of Japan - at 40,9C. In Noto, road side thermometers showed 35C and some of them were broken. I guess, because of extreme heat.

Comparing to my previous trip to Sado island, Noto is much bigger with shops and supermarkets. People not shying away, but always ready to talk with foreigner. Some just say hi or ask where I am going etc. Noto is also more developed as touristic spot - more hotels, signs etc. Sado on other hand has more natural beauty and is more concentrated with interesting spots. Maybe Noto is good for those traveling with cars ?

First day
Started trip from Kurobe station just near Toyama city on Japan sea coast. Night on camp site and drive through early morning Toyama port. There are many bridges and also one free ferry to cross New Toyama Port. Interesting that some road signs are in three languages - Japanese, English and...Russian.

Image: Small ferry accross Toyama New Port. Its free, so I loved it

Then ride North through towns Himi, Nanabe. It was getting so hot that not real enthusiasm to take any photos, but place was really beautiful. I tried to swim, but water in sea was very warm like hot bath at home. Only wind when cycling could provide some freshness.

Road scene
Image: scene from the road - sun and no shade, but nice blue sea

In the middle of the day reached Ozakai cave, where is visitors center. I could have rest in shadow and see what this cave is all about.

Ozakai cave shrine
Image: Tori and shrine in front of Ozakai cave were people lived very long time ago. It was well before agriculture began when people were hunting and fishing only

Ozakai cave
Image: Ozakai cave

Image: scene from the road

Later in afternoon reached Nanao town. I don't know why, but I liked this town. Small, peaceful and away from big roads.

Nanao town, Noto
Image: Outside Nanao town

After Nanao town, crossed to small island called Noto. It is very forested and I got lost once while trying to find camping place. I went into village where my map told was vistors center, but only to find closed gate. After some confusion and talk with locals, found camping place already when it was very dark.

Image: Bridge from Noto peninsula to Noto island

Image: Here cars got counted. I was currious if I will be counted, but did not see any visible devide, which performs counting

Video: first day on the video

Noto island from the sky. If you look carefuly in water, you can notice both bridges leading to Noto island. Drag map with mouse to see around or press "-" to zoom out for wider picture.

View Larger Map

Second day

Image: Ohayo gozaimasu! This is how I prefer to wake up! With morning sunrise

Woked up with sunrise at 6 AM and then quick ride though forests. Very peaceful. Then out to big road and to Anamizu, Noto towns. I remember seeing sort of crab walking on the street. After I reached for camera it run away quickly.

morning forest Japan Noto
Image: Morning forests on Noto island were beautiful with little fog

Image: Twinbridge Noto

Video: Second day in Noto

Later I was pleased with some clouds in the sky. It was some relief from heat. When approaching Northern tip of Noto, I got lost again several times and ended up in area with lots of chicken farms. There was few or no road signs and I managed to use compass to get me out into right direction. Not so difficult as sea is all around. After this, I made myself to stop before every crossroad and check map, so I am not loosing energy on wrong road. Next, quickly cycled through small fishing towns without any long stop.

Image: Anamizu town

Small town
Image: Suzu town. Most houses are traditional Japanese style and usually with ground and upper floor

Close to Nortern tip of Noto peninsula, I found nice beach with no people and beautiful blue water. I decided to camp there. Felt into snooze and just before midnight heard sound of Japanese festival from nearby village. Many people were drumming and singing. After they stoped, it became very quiet. Night was totally moonless and not a single wave in sea. I could see and hear ships going ang coming to Toyama port. I thought what they carry tonight and if they still see Noto from ship...

Third day

Image: Morning sun again. These morning sunrises are 90% reason why I travel

Next day I woke up with sun. Northern tip is most difficult, since there are many steep slopes and road gets narrow. Cyling did not go well at all. Probably due to cool morning after very hot day.

Early morning stop near Noto lighthouse. Everything still in morning mist and no people there. There was symbolic road post showing distances to Seoul, Vladivostok and Tokyo. It made me feel I am in very special place. Cycling further road went through many fishing villages. I greeted villagers with loud "ohayou gozaimasu" and they greeted me back with warm smile. Nice place!

Noto end lightouse
Image: Noto end lighthouse, peak of my trip

Image: Global reach point! Because this is end of land, there is such sign. It gives such information as how far is Tokyo, Shanghai, Pusan and Vladivostok

Here is picture and video from interesting downhill place.

Noto road
Image: Road on Noto

Video: Riding down the hill

Soon after this downhill ride I had to abandon trip since burned skin become painful and it was difficult to bear. I started my long way back to Tokyo with bus, train and shinkansen. I could not sit, but just stand or walk around train. This time I was really glad Japan has shinkansens.

Noto travelers
Image: Noto people - two motorists on Harleys, guy who travels around Japan on bicycle and me

Fastest and most expensive way from Tokyo is by Niigata shinkansen till station Echigo-Yuzawa, then change to express train to Kanazawa or Toyama. Local trains are twice longer, but twice cheaper. Routes are from Tokyo to Kofu, Matsumoto, Itoigawa then Toyama (on this route Minamiotari to Itoigawa have few connections a day). I liked route by shinkansen to Nagano, then local train till Naoetsu then Toyama. Anyway it is a long way to get there from Tokyo. ♫

Nagano train
This train runs between Naoetsu and Nagano

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