My bicycle was taken on this trip to Izu with the idea in mind of doing some rides on future weekends but I was quite keen to get this particular one out of the way in the knowledge that I’d have a couple of recovery days afterwards. Plus I didn’t quite know when I would next be in town.
Whilst my other two major cycle rides on this trip had started by heading south, this one was going northwards. Route 135 took me to Ito City Hall (2-1-1 Ohara, Ito-Shi, Shizuoka) but just to snap a couple of shots of it’s architectural design. It’s a route I’ve done many times by car but never by bicycle. It’s nice and easy as it’s pretty much all downhill.
Usami Beach (135 Usami, Ito) soon comes into view but it’s a cloudy day so it’s not so pleasing on the eye.
In the distance I can see my destination up in the mountain. It’s the awesome Usami Kannon-ji Temple (3496-205 Usami, Ito-Shi) which I first visited on foot a couple of years ago. Today probably won’t be too different as I know I’ll have to push my bike up much of the winding road.
It’s a sweaty task and just over an hour after setting off I reach the temple. It was deserted last time because I was there before opening hours. It seems no different this time. There isn’t a soul in sight and I wonder if it’s even open. I would’ve thought one of the passing vehicles might pop in to take a look but I don’t see anyone at all.
It’s certainly not the clear and bright day I’d hoped for and there are brief moments of drizzle throughout the day with the first one being just after the kannon as I head on up the mountain road.
It takes about 30 minutes to get to my next port of call which is perhaps the main reason for this cycling adventure. Izu Velodrome (1826 Ono, Izu-shi, Shizuoka) will host the track cycling at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and it is really difficult to get to if you don’t have your own wheels!
Click here to read ‘A Long & Steep Ride To Check Out The Cycle Racing Track Which Will Be Used At Tokyo 2020’
Getting to the next place on my list proves to be the most problematic by far and one that I hope to never repeat. It all starts off fine and the views of pure greenery are lovely.
There’s even an abandoned petrol station somewhere in Hiekawa along Route 12. I’m really not sure how Dorothy’s ruby slippers (from ‘The Wizard Of Oz‘) have ended up here!!
Not much further along is the start of the Izu Sky Line where I am gutted to discover that bicycles are not allowed. A Japanese workman quite rudely tells me this with the overly used (and very annoying) cross armed X gesture. I’m sure if I was a Japanese person he’d have told me far more politely.
Subsequently I find myself looking for an alternative route and wondering if I’ll even be able to get to the next place. A bamboo forest and deserted back-streets and lanes eventually become full-on countryside as I follow the walking route. This part of my journey is undoubtedly the worst and I end up pushing the bike for ages along paths like that seen below.
The one bonus was this giant dog advertising a nearby bath, dog run and pasta restaurant. Quite the mix! It turns out that this point means I’ve gone slightly in the wrong direction so I have to backtrack for a few minutes to the turn-off point I missed.
The religious cult building known as Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan (1524-4 Hiekawa, Izu-shi, Shizuoka) is what I’ve come to see. Like everywhere else on this cycle ride, it is closed but that’s not going to stop me given the time and effort I’ve put into getting here……not that that justifies sneaking in to the grounds!
I end up on the Izu Sky Line road after that and eventually come to one of the toll gates which cars have to pass through. I really do wonder if I’ll be stopped. There’s a toilet block opposite the man in the booth so I go in there first and then afterwards I try to walk with my bike past him whilst he’s busy taking toll money from a driver. I’m already a few metres past him and on the other side of the road when I can hear him saying hello to me (in English) to try and get my attention. I’ve got my headphones in and pretend I’ve not heard. A few more steps and I just decide to hop on the bike and race off without looking back. Catch me if you can!
Safely beyond him and I am quite literally on a downward spiral speeding my way back to civilisation. This part is great fun and speeds by in no time at all. I’m not actually sure where I’ll end up but the road eventually splits and I have to make a decision. I don’t realise it straight away but the beautifully shaped Mount Omuro-yama is close by and just begging for a couple of celebratory photos!
Round the corner from there is Izu Shaboten Zoo which has to be one of the most expensive zoos out there with entry costing 2300 yen. The theme of these cycle rides seems to have been going to places and then not entering them so it’s perhaps fitting that I don’t go in here either!
Shortly after that I rejoin Route 135 which I had cycled along just a couple of days prior to this on ‘Cycling In Izu #2‘. This time I manage to get a photo of the wild boar sign which is on a bend not too far from the Maboroshi Museum.
This particular cycle route ends up being about 70 kilometres which is a long distance in it’s own right but that doesn’t tell the full story given the elevation of those more central parts of Izu.
Click here to read ‘Cycling In Izu #1 -The Stunning Jogasaki Coast Plus Teddy Bear & Cat Museums’
Click here to read ‘Cycling In Izu #2 – Route 135 Sights In Ito City’