Sunday, August 31, 2014

Motorcycling in Mie

Trust me to be the last to find Mie, the district that is. I often find myself drawn to something afar and overlook what is right in front of me and so I have been off riding the roads in Fukui and Nagano and left my first visit to Mie until the last week I have living in Nagoya.

I started this ride by revisiting the Suzuka skyline which was closed the last time I tried to ride it. This is an incredible road, it must have been the inspiration for some of the computer driving games because I swear parts of it look identical to stages of games I have seen from a PlayStation. By the looks of all the rubber on the corners people drive here like it is a computer game too. Unlikely to see the car drifters in the day time so the only issue I had was not being able to capture the feel of it in a photo.

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After this I took route 507 then route 1 south and noticed for not the first time during this ride the roads were a bit more open and more easy flowing. Only in Japan do I find myself wishing the roads were a little less twisty but it is true the rural roads are at times just too tight and closed in so a more open flow is enjoyable for me on a big bike.

It would not be a ride in Japan without my Garmin trying to take me round in circles and so it routed me onto a expressway which I had to find an exit then return back and find my way to route 608 by a bit of a guess. This was another excellent mountain pass bypassed by more major roads it was free of vehicles entirely.

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I rode further south on some excellent back roads in the Uda district before starting towards the coast on what has to be one of the most scenic and incredible roads I have yet ridden in Japan. Route 169 twists and winds it’s way through along deep valleys which have been dammed forming a series of lakes. The riding is superb but the views are even better.

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Above, the first of a series of tall dams.

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Impressive engineering on what is really a minor road servicing a few small towns.

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Above, another abandoned shop. What a spot, what a view, I wonder what they want for it. Below, looking ahead from the shop you can see the old road below and the new above to the right then look up the valley to see the road ahead. You can click any photo to see it enlarged. 

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Another lake (above) and another tall dam with a small town positioned below it. That is a camp ground with cabins on the left below the dam wall. What was that 80’s Australian song “Great Wall…” the Tenterfield dam (subject of that song if I recall) has nothing on this biggie. I stopped for some much needed fuel, both for the bike and sports drinks for me in the 33 degree heat. Lovely little spot but I am not sure about sleeping below that much water.

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And just in case you were thinking the roads were not as nice as the scenery…

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Eventually I exited the mountains and this gorgeous area area to arrive at the ocean. The ride north was a bit congested and I think the coastal route 42 is not the best riding option and it would be best to take the expressway to Kiinagashima where I turned off east on route 260 which is low traffic and becomes quite scenic.

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Above, route 260. Todays lonely drink machine photo at another abandoned shop

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It was getting late by now and so after a pit stop I really pressed on a bit and did not take too many photos despite the ride being very good. And so I arrived on the Pearl Route Seaside Line road about 5.00pm. By now I was starting to feel very fatigued. My photo here were not the best but the road is excellent, sitting elevated from the ocean with sweeping views and good surveying.

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Above and below - Pearl Route Seaside Line

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I was thinking it would be too late to try ride my last target road for the day which was the Ise Shima Skyline but I arrived and it was still open (toll road closed at night) so paid my fee which was just 650Yen for bikes not expecting much but was absolutely stunned at what I found.

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The beautiful mountain climb from the ocean. Even a low quality iPhone camera can capture something nice when the sun is in the golden hour.

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Well the light was now fading fast but I managed to enjoy the rest of the skyline which offers more superb views as you descend the other end. Just a beautiful way to end the most beautiful days riding I can recall in a very long time. My poor photos just do no justice to the sights and roads experienced.

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Todays route can be found here. Say what I might about the FJR, it does long distance.

3 comments:

  1. Very Nice. Japan, it's going on the bucket list.

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  2. What is communication like in Japan IC? Is there much of a language barrier?

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    1. There is a barrier at times. I find I can get by with just a little bit of Japanese I know and pointing and shrugging shoulders haha. However with written material I am stumped and have to find ways around things which I am succeeding with mostly. No doubt I will have to get serious about learning more Japanese.

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