Tuesday, 28 August 2012

JAPANDEMONIUM pt 2 - Tsushima Island Cycle Trip

Part One - Part Two - Part Three (conclusion) coming soon.

DAY THREE (Thursday):

On Thursday we decided that we didn't want to head up North, but we would instead head back down to the Ayumodoshi campground near Uchiyama. We met a couple of Korean riders that were just staying in Izuhara and doing day rides from there. We didn't want to spend anymore time in that city, so we decided that Uchiyama would be a nicer place to stay at.

Asou Bay Park
We woke up to glorious weather on Thursday and also a massive spider's web which had been spun overnight. Time to get out of here.
Massive Spider Web Design
I love the simplicity of this design.

Highway 382 Bike Traveller Tsushima
We met a lone bicycle tourist on the way back down south on Highway 382.

Red Cabbage Supermarket
We stopped off at the Red Cabbage supermarket in Izuhara to buy some supplies.

There's a lot of insects in Tsushima and a lot of insecticide.

Cooling off
Riding in the sunshine made me so hot and exhausted that I had to stick this towel on my head and hang out by the coolers. I might keep rocking this look.

Sausage party imminent.

Decisions. Decisions.

Red Cabbage display
The displays at the Red Cabbage were bonkers. Sharks, T-Rex, Godzilla...
Red Cabbage display

We headed back south from Izuhara on highway 24. The weather was a different kind of brutal this time, but the blue skies meant the coastal views were a million times more spectacular. Doing the same route a second time meant that it was much easier as we literally knew what was coming round the corner.
Highway 24 Highway 24 Highway 24
Jenny demanded that I take a photo of this bright green moss.

Highway 24 Highway 24 Highway 24
The bum bag. A modern day sporren.

Highway 24 Uchiyama
One of the great things about Japan is that there is a drinks machine in almost every little village so as long as the stretch of road that you are cycling on isn't too remote you can always get an icy cold beverage. I wonder if that house owner makes any commission?

Uchiyama Uchiyama
This isn't a bus shelter. It actually has local farm produce in it. You can just take the produce and leave some change for it. We bought some tomatoes from one of them as modelled below on the back of Jenny's bike.

Groceries Uchiyama Uchiyama Uchiyama Leopard Cat
Beware of the Leopard Cat! We met a woman who had lived on the island for 30 years and never seen one.

Ayumodoshi Natural Park:
This place was the perfect spot to camp. After an afternoon of cycling the river was perfect for taking a dip and instantly cooling down. It's a popular spot for families and tourists, but we managed to avoid them as we headed off cycling before they turned up and came back just as most of them were leaving. There are loads of natural slides and one big pool that you can jump into.

Ayumodoshi Natural Park Ayumodoshi Natural Park Ayumodoshi Natural Park Chocolate sandwich
Cheese, ham, lettuce, locally grown tomatoes, wholegrain mustard and is that wholemeal bread?

Chocolate sandwich
No, it's chocolate bread. Nice one Sean!!! Hahaha. It was still a tasty sandwich nonetheless.

Flowers Dragonfly
Ayumodoshi Natural Park Camping
Our home for two nights.

Ayumodoshi Natural Park Ayumodoshi Natural Park Ayumodoshi Natural Park Ayumodoshi Natural Park Ayumodoshi Natural Park Beer
We tried an array of different beers. Japanese beer is a thousand times better than Korean beer. Sorry Korea, it's true.

Butterfly Moth Beer run
We went on a beer run to the "local" store which was a few kilometres away. It felt so good to ride without all our gear.

Beer run Beer run sweat Snake roadkill
Dinodon rufozonatum. Snakes are easily the most common roadkill in Asia. I see them all the time, yet I have never seen one alive. I'm still waiting.

Getting served
At the local store we got served our booze by some kids.

Beer run
What's Sean speeding away from?...

Scariest spider ever
Only the scariest, fattest spider on the planet. Well, not quite. But I'm British, not Australian (contrary to what many people keep telling me), so of course I think this is huge. There I was thinking it was the most deadly venomous spider but it turns out it is just a Japanese Garden Spider or something. Can someone please verify this for me.

Ayumodoshi Natural Park

Ayumodoshi Natural Park Ayumodoshi Natural Park
Time to cook dinner.

Hungry egg
My quail's egg is hungry.

Dinner time!
Another ramen feast, followed by a rice course. Be sure to bring mosquito repellent. You will get eaten alive.

Dead Moth
This moth was dead, but it's eye pattern still looks alive.

stunning moth
This moth looked like a blazing inferno!

DAY THREE (Friday): 
As the first 3 days of riding were all pretty short - but mountainous - we decided to leave most of our gear at the campsite and try to do a loop of the south island on highway 24. In the end the mountains defeated us and we took a shorter loop part way along highway 44, and then onto some much quieter roads up a river valley and over a mountain pass. It was to be another exhausting day of cycling.
Highway 24 Highway 24 - Kunehama
Looking east from Kunehama.

Highway 24 - Kunehama Highway 24 Highway 24 Highway 24
Hill bombs! Fast ones at that! The south coast was so much fun to cycle. Bombing down the roads in the shade of the pines trees is so refreshing. The breeze is such a welcome change from the intense heat of the climbs. The other problem with cycling uphill is that you go slowly enough for the horseflies and mosquitoes to follow you and pester you. They have some nasty bites.

Highway 24 - Shine Highway 24 - Shine
Shiine has the sharpest, most rectangular hedges.

Highway 24 - Shine Highway 24 - Shine - Stone Roof Storehouses Highway 24 - Shine - Stone Roof Storehouses
These stone roof storehouses are unique to Shiine.

It took me forever to get a close up of one of these hawks. They hate to stay in one place for more than a moment.

A shrine in Shiine.

We took a little lunchbreak at the harbour in Komada and started to melt in the sun.

Highway 24 Highway 44 Highway 44

Sean nearly ran over this turtle in the road as headed down from the final mountain pass.
Tsushima Turtle Tsushima Turtle Heat Exhaustion!
Heat exhaustion makes you look like this.

Horsefly spray
Jenny decided enough was enough. Screw those horseflies. It's WAR!

Whereas Sean just let them land on him then crushed the life out of them.

Uchiyama tunnel
The tunnel along highway 192 that cuts under Uchiyama pass.
Uchiyama tunnel Uchiyama vallry Ayumodoshi Natural Park
Cooling off with a beer.

Ayumodoshi Natural Park
Jenny moments before wiping out on the slippery rocks.

Dragonfly Suntory times
Night time = SUNTORY TIMES!!!

Suntory times Mosquito coils
Suntory times Suntory times
"What the hell was that?"

Suntory times Suntory times Suntory flash filter red ramen pack flash filter Eaten alive
The mosquitoes in Tsushima are unrelenting. These are bites, not a skin disease!

road rash
Jenny took a slam on the road after being hit in the face by an insect.

Tsushima burger
Before boarding the ferry, we popped into Tsushima Burger for this unusual feast. It's the first time I've seen a "burger" with grilled meat and a fried egg in it.

Tsushima burger Asahi Red Eye - tomato beer
Asahi Red Eye - a ghetto Asian michelada. Not that bad. Could do with some salt and lime though.

Heaven/Hell No Korean Tourists
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this sign. I hope it got lost in translation. A lot of Korean tourists come to Tsushima and I'm not sure if the locals enjoy the Korean brand of inebriety.

Final snacks
One final snack and a beer before the ferry ride.

Mountain bikes galore
Most Koreans ride mountain bikes, even though they usually ride on paved roads. This group of tourists all had Seven brand bicycles. Despite seeing tons of bicycles on the ferry we only saw a few cyclists on the roads in Tsushima.

Sick bag
Get ready to bounce and barf!

On the ferry to Busan
Moments later we got upgraded to business class. Hahaha.

Part One - Part Two - Part Three (conclusion) coming soon.


  1. absoluted enjoyed reading these posts. I too am thinking of a visit to the island to cycle. seems like a very tough hilly island to cycle through. but surely worth visiting at the pinnacle of my strength, which I hope to reach within this year.

  2. thanks for such a great post on Tsushima!