Cycling Japan – day 32 – Itoigawa to Sobama campground (Sado Island)

← previous                                                            next 

  • Day 32 – Itoigawa to Sobama campground (Sado Island)
  • Distance: 68km
  • Ascent / descent: 774m / 760m
  • Weather: sunny and hot
  • Accommodation: camped at Sobama campground, ¥900 

Today was a great day!

I didn’t sleep well (again). It turned out I chose an area very popular with fishermen who were fishing all throughout the night. So I was up at 4am (it’s light here now from around this time), hoping to be able to cycle the 50km to the ferry terminal to try and make the 9:40am ferry to Sado Island. I left at 4:45am and watched the sunrise ahead of me as I cycled. Soon I was on the Kubiki cycling path which runs between Itoigawa and Joetsu and it’s one of the best cycling paths I’ve ridden here. There was no-one around and I was flying along it parallel to Route 8, then sometimes above the highway through a series of tunnels, sometimes along the coast and through small rural areas. I passed many elderly people tending to their neat gardens and veggie patches as early as 5am.

Kubiki Bicycle and walker road - this was an excellent cycle path and I was flying!!

Kubiki Bicycle and walker road – this was an excellent cycle path and I was flying!!

Kubiki Bicycle and walker road - this was an excellent cycle path and I was flying!!

Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Views from the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Views from the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Views from the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Views from the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Temple views from the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Temple views from the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Great signage along the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Great signage along the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

A thatched roof temple as seen from the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

A thatched roof temple as seen from the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Views from the Kubiki Bicycle and walker road

Tunnel time

Tunnel time

I surprised myself by making it to the ferry terminal in time (I’ve never cycled 50km before 8:30am)! I didn’t know if there were any tickets available so I joined the queue, and was in luck. The price was also cheaper than I was expecting considering I didn’t want to have to carry my bike onboard in a bike bag, but wheel it on instead (I don’t know how I could physically carry my bike in a bag on one shoulder, and my panniers on my other shoulder – I don’t have enough arms)! The price for me and the bike was ¥5760, which was ¥1400 more than if I had carried the bike on, but for that price, I’ll wheel it on any day.

Waiting for the ferry I met a couple who had cycled 70km from Nagano that morning and they were planning on cycling around the whole of Sado Island just over 2 days with one night accommodation – hard core!

Sado Kisen ferry from Joetsu to Sado Island

I made it to ferry, 50km before 8:30am! Sado Kisen ferry from Joetsu to Sado Island

Sado Kisen ferry from Joetsu to Sado Island

I’m not sure it’s a good idea that my bike is on a slope?… It took two men to hold it and tie it on.

Looking back at the snow-covered peaks

Looking back at the snow-covered peaks

On board the ferry I was able to charge my electronics, have a rice ball for breakfast from the ferry shop, and then I met a group of elderly people who were on an outing to Sado Island. One of the men was blind and his carer said he had touched my bike while I was queueing for the ticket – the butterfly handlebars are a bit unique in Japan so I often get people asking me about them. It turns out this man was an avid cyclist before he lost his sight, so we had a good chat about cycling and shook hands before they left.

I went straight to the tourist office near the port in Ogi on Sado Island and the helpful staff gave me lots of good tips about where and where not to cycle. ‘Up-down’ was mentioned quite a lot. I was recommended to visit Sado by a ‘Cycling Japan Facebook group’ but not one person mentioned the ‘up-down!’ The staff also told me of a campsite that would be good for tonight and arranged for someone to come by when I was there to collect the fee – you’re supposed to call the caretaker at the campsite when you arrive, so I explained I wouldn’t be able to make a phone call from my phone without wifi. I left the tourist office very excited for the upcoming days of exploring Sado Island.

Drying fish on Sado Island

Drying fish on Sado Island

Drying fish on Sado Island

Drying fish on Sado Island

Houses in Ogi, Sado Island

Houses in Ogi, Sado Island

I stopped here for a delicious sushi lunch, recommended by the tourist office

I stopped here for a delicious sushi lunch, recommended by the tourist office

Sushi lunch in Ogi, Sado Island

Sushi lunch in Ogi, Sado Island

A Buddhist statue at Kaichoji Temple, Ogi, Sado Island

A Buddhist statue at Kaichoji Temple, Ogi, Sado Island

Maple leaves at Kaichoji Temple, Ogi, Sado Island

Maple leaves at Kaichoji Temple, Ogi, Sado Island

Of course I had to have a go in one of these ‘wash-tub’ boats called a Tarai-bune, it was ¥500 for the experience and great fun!

A 'Tarai-bune' (washtub) boat, traditionally used to collect seaweed and shellfish

A ‘Tarai-bune’ (wash-tub) boat, traditionally used to collect seaweed and shellfish

Enjoying a ride in a 'Tarai-bune' boat

Enjoying a ride in a ‘Tarai-bune’ boat

Enjoying a ride in a 'Tarai-bune' boat

Enjoying a ride in a ‘Tarai-bune’ boat

A 'Tarai-bune' (washtub) boat, traditionally used to collect seaweed and shellfish

A ‘Tarai-bune’ (washtub) boat, traditionally used to collect seaweed and shellfish

A Sado Island manhole cover

A Sado Island manhole cover

Iwayasan Cave, Sado Island

Iwayasan Cave, Sado Island

Buddhist statues inside Iwayasan Cave, one of these is supposedly carved by Kobo Daishi

Buddhist statues inside Iwayasan Cave, one of these is supposedly carved by Kobo Daishi

Buddhist statues outside Iwayasan Cave, Sado Island

Buddhist statues outside Iwayasan Cave, Sado Island

The roofs of a traditional fishing village called Shukunegi

The roofs of a traditional fishing village called Shukunegi

The houses of Shukunegi fishing village

The houses of Shukunegi fishing village

The houses of Shukunegi fishing village

The houses of Shukunegi fishing village

DSCF9145

A boat shaped water feature The houses of Shukunegi fishing village

Inside a house in Shukunegi fishing village

Inside a house in Shukunegi fishing village

An old post office in Shukunegi fishing village

An old post office in Shukunegi fishing village

Shukunegi fishing village

Shukunegi fishing village

Shukunegi fishing village

Shukunegi fishing village

Houses of Shukunegi fishing village

Houses of Shukunegi fishing village

Peonies (botan)

Peonies (botan)

Drying seaweed

Drying seaweed

Coastal views on Sado Island

Coastal views on Sado Island

If you met me in Japan, you’d know that I love Taiko drumming and will go out of my way to find an arcade with the taiko drums game… so it made my day when I realised there was a Taiko Centre on the island and that I would be riding right past it. I called them initially from the tourist office to see about booking an appointment and thankfully they said just to come along anytime. It’s located ON TOP of a decent climb that I was half riding and half pushing my bike up and maybe cursing a little bit about the fact it was on top of a hill… until I got there and saw the beautiful building, incredibly friendly staff and found out I could have a private lesson banging on all the drums for only ¥1000. It was soooo much fun and the teacher was amazing.

Taiko drumming at the Sado Island Taiko Centre - so much fun!!

Taiko drumming at the Sado Island Taiko Centre – so much fun!!

Taiko drumming at the Sado Island Taiko Centre - so much fun!!

Taiko drumming at the Sado Island Taiko Centre – so much fun!!

Rice planting machine

Rice planting machine

Sado Island rice fields

Sado Island rice fields

Sunset rice paddy reflections

Sunset rice paddy reflections

I arrived at the campsite just in time to watch the sunset. The caretaker came along and I paid my ¥900, then he showed me around. The shower was coin-operated with hot water; ¥100 for 3 minutes. I definitely wasn’t planning on having a shower assuming it was just cold water as it gets pretty cold here as soon as the sun sinks. However, with hot water I decided it was probably a good idea. I was also able to charge everything with the outlets in the bathrooms, sweet!

JB32 - elevation profile from Garmin connect

JB32 – elevation profile from Garmin connect

JB32 - google map from Garmin Connect

JB32 – google map from Garmin Connect

Advertisements

6 responses to “Cycling Japan – day 32 – Itoigawa to Sobama campground (Sado Island)

  1. I haven’t seen posts if Day 33 on. Are you okay? Why am I not receiving the posts anymore? Hmmm!

    Continued safe wishes and good health.

    My husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed your blogs. My husband learned about about and purchased Kamoot because if your post!

    Our best to you!

    Sally and Doug Leland Freeport, ME Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi,
    I am a cyclist who boarded a ferry with you.
    After leaving with us at Ogi Port, You seem to have had a wonderful experience.
    I look forward to your blog very much. Have a nice trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad to hear you are okay. Was getting worried with no posts for several days. As usual, enjoying your wondrous travels.

    On Mon, Jun 3, 2019, 11:01 PM followingthearrows wrote:

    > followingthearrows posted: ” Day 32 – Itoigawa to Sobama campground (Sado > Island) Distance: 68km Weather: sunny and hot Accommodation: camped at > Sobama campground, ¥900 Today was a great day! I didn’t sleep well > (again). It turned out I chose an area very popular with fisherm” >

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to followingthearrows Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s