- Day 16 – Ako to Kobe
- Distance: 103km
- Ascent / descent: 758m / 710m
- Weather: overcast then sunny
- Accommodation: Warm Showers host Lachlan in Kobe
Today was my longest day yet! I should have left earlier than I did but I took my time packing up, hoping the heavy clouds and mist would clear away!
It wasn’t raining and the air was cool which made for good cycling weather.
Right at the start of the day I had to go over a mountain pass. It was a bit of a climb with no shoulder and a busy road so I tried to ride as fast as I could on the long climb. At the pass there was a monument to the famous Japanese event of the Forty-seven Ronin (a ronin is a samurai without a leader). Their leader, after an altercation inside Edo Castle, (now the site of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace) was forced to commit ritual suicide (seppuku). What I hadn’t realised about this story was their leader was from Ako, the town I had stayed in overnight. I’ve even visited the gravesites of the ronin at Tokyo’s Sengakuji Temple.
The path today largely followed the Shinkansen bullet train tracks so I watched a few go by and tried to take a video and photos – not so easy because of their speed!
I popped into Cycle Base Asahi in Himeji and had my brake cables adjusted – it felt like they were about to snap on many of the downhills! I wasn’t originally planning to but I decided to swing by Himeji castle (a 6km detour!) for old time’s sake. It looked just as magnificent as I remembered from my many visits as a guide.
There was a great seaside cycling path in Akashi with a view of Akashi Kaikyo bridge (the world’s longest suspension bridge) – the sun came out and again I felt like I was on holiday 🙂
The holiday feeling stopped when I got to the outskirts of Kobe and starting climbing up and down silly hills, it was the last thing I wanted at the end of the day! I eventually arrived after dark at Lachlan’s apartment – my warm showers host from Australia. He made pizza for dinner and we had a great chat about Japan and travelling. Thanks Lachlan for letting me stay!