Cycling Japan – day 2 – Nejime to Sata Misaki

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  • Day 2 – Nejime to Sata Misaki
  • Distance: 42km
  • Ascent / descent: 792m / 797m
  • Weather: overcast all day
  • Accommodation: Odomari free campsite near Sata Misaki hotel

I didn’t sleep very well with the crashing waves that sounded like thunder so I got up with the birds just before 6am and slowly started packing everything away. I had a small breakfast of dried mango and nuts. 

After about 5 minutes of cycling I passed the first vending machine of the day and bought a coffee, but in my sleepy haze I bought a cold one, not hot! At least I could guzzle it down quickly. I kept cycling and decided I’d buy an energy drink at the first opportunity I could which brought me to a stop outside an elderly lady’s home. I bought a grapefruit flavoured ‘real gold’ energy drink in the hope it would help me up the hills I was starting to encounter. The lady came out of her house and we had a good chat and I told her the conundrum I was having with naming my bike. I told her it was heavy and slow so I was thinking of a heavy name and she suggested I try the opposite and give it a light and speedy name, so that got me thinking ‘Nozomi’ which is the fast bullet train but it’s also my best friend’s name and I’m not sure what she would think about me naming my bike after her! Then I started thinking ‘kami’ which means paper and god (paper thin and light was my thought process) as well as ninja as they’re light on their feet and quick… (dad thinks ninja isn’t original!)

I asked the lady if there were any shops on the way to the cape and she said there was an ACoop further up so that got me excited thinking I could buy a more substantial breakfast and lunch. 

Welcome to Kagoshima!

Welcome to Kagoshima!

Unfortunately the ACoop wasn’t open yet (opens at 9am) but an elderly man there told me of a small shop at the end of the street that would be open. And it was, hooray. The owner was very friendly and apologetic that it was a small shop and she didn’t have obento boxes but it did have a great fruit selection and snacks. At the checkout buying my enormous apple and rice crackers, the lady handed me a very large bunch of bananas as a gift. This would be a great source of energy and a wonderful gift except that I really don’t like bananas 😦  How could I convey this?? I thought about it for a moment and said that I was very sorry but I thought the bananas might get squashed in my roll top bag (not the real reason but an equally legitimate one) and so she turned around and pulled out 2 mandarins for me – ‘perfect, they’ll make a great breakfast tomorrow’ I thought to myself. I left the shop and decided to eat the apple straight away and I was quickly handed a crate to sit on outside her shop. While sitting there I smelt something delicious coming from next door so I slid open the door and it was an obento shop. I asked if they were open and another elderly lady came up to me and said yes and started running through the menu, although she could see I had a partially eaten apple in my hand. I ordered a ¥50 yen croquette and she gave me a piece of fried chicken for free 🙂 I went back to my crate and this all made for a very satisfying breakfast! I don’t think I realised at the time just how much I needed this energy but the rest of the day was all about staying in either first gear or pushing the bike uphill, it was hard and once again I wished I could pass a post office so I could get rid of a lot of gear!

8km until the southernmost tip, Cape Sata

8km until the southernmost tip, Cape Sata

The last 8km to the cape was particularly hilly! When I arrived at the 31 degree landmark there was no one else there so I went about trying to set up my camera to get a picture of me and the bike. During this process a stream of cars pulled up with everyone jumping out and taking photos so I was luckily able to ask someone to do the honours for me.

One of the people who stopped was a 65 year old man on a touring bike with just a plastic basket on the back with a jacket and a few snacks. He said he had cycled from Hokkaido forty years ago but because he lived nearby he had never cycled the last 70km. So here he was doing it now. He told me I needed to continue to the car park which was just a further 100m on and then do the walk from there for the best views.

31 degrees, Cape Sata

31 degrees, Cape Sata

31 degrees, Cape Sata, and me

31 degrees, Cape Sata, and me

I was surprised to see at the car park that there was a tourist office with free wifi, charging points, souvenirs and some snack food. The wifi came in handy to let family know I was doing ok – although this last section was tough with a heavy bike!

I bought some postcards and while putting them away in my bike lots of people came up to me to say hi and one group of 4 gave me a hot coffee! I walked to the observatory for sensational views – although it was overcast and must be even more incredible to be able to see the nearby islands in all their glory – especially Yakushima where I was hiking with Howard last week. I also went to the old lighthouse keepers house built in stone  and I saw what I think was maybe a tanuki? Or some other small orange animal. It was straight ahead of me but as I was looking down watching where I was stepping, I looked up just as I had scared it off so I only saw the behind of a small orange furry creature with a short tail. I walked past the spot where it had been and waited for an age for it to come back with no luck. I have wanted to see a living tanuki forever!! Oh well…

Views from Cape Sata

Views from Cape Sata

DSCF7251

This flower smelt incredible!

Cape Sata lighthouse

Cape Sata lighthouse

View of Kaimon-dake Peak from Cape Sata

View of Kaimon-dake Peak from Cape Sata

Cape Sata Observatory

Cape Sata Observatory

Cape Sata Observatory

Cape Sata Observatory

Fauna and flora around Cape Sata

Fauna and flora around Cape Sata

The original lighthouse keepers quarters built in the British style

The original lighthouse keepers quarters built in the British style

The original lighthouse keepers quarters built in the British styleDSCF7277

A Shinto shrine at the Cape

A Shinto shrine at the Cape

A view of the observatory from near the information centre

A view of the observatory from near the information centre

Cape Sata views

Cape Sata views

I started back along the same road and then reached one of the big hills I had flown down but was now pushing my bike up! As I was passing some road workers I also passed a sign for a turn off to the campsite so I asked them about it and they said it was a shortcut and would definitely be better than going back the way I came. It was definitely shorter but it was also straight uphill which required pushing my bike in a way with all of my strength (like pushing a car) up then clinging to my brakes on the way down. It brought me directly to the campsite – some lawn with a shower block, WC and ocean views, about 200m from the hotel. Out of curiosity I asked about a price of a hotel room (¥6400) and also asked if they served dinner – they did for guests but if I told them the exact time and what I would like to order (katsu curry, ¥1,000), they would allow me to come. So I said 6pm, then went and set up my tent and did admin until dinner time. While eating dinner, a staff member asked if I wanted to use the onsen (I’m pretty sure I didn’t smell too bad as I had changed out of my cycling clothes) and I jumped at the opportunity. I had wanted to have a shower but the water was cold and there was also a cool breeze so I couldn’t bring myself to do it. A soak in a steaming hot onsen with a chance to wash and dry my hair however, yes please! Use of the onsen was ¥390 and ¥100 for use of a small rental towel as mine was in my tent. The onsen was wonderful!! As was the free wifi at the hotel and the chance to charge my three most used electronic devices – phone, GPS & GoPro.

I walked back to the tent in a slight drizzle, tightened everything up in case it got windy and fell into a very deep sleep with the sound of the rolling waves and rain on the tent.

Camping at Odomari free campground

Camping at Odomari free campground next to a nice hotel (where I had dinner, an Onsen and charged some electronics!)

Camping at Odomari free campground

Camping at Odomari free campground

JB2 – elevation profile from Garmin connect
JB2 – google map from Garmin Connect

2 responses to “Cycling Japan – day 2 – Nejime to Sata Misaki

  1. Love your travelogue! You are the ultimate adventurer. Was thinking of a name for your bike…how about a combination Kami +nja (last part of ninja) = Kaminja!

    Safe travels Kat! One of your many followers and admirers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sally,
      Thanks for making my day! And it’s an awesome name too, but I think I’ve settled on momiji which means maple leaf 🍁 in Japanese because of the colour of my bike (and leaves are light) 😉

      Like

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