From Yokohama we continue South on the coastal road towards Towada. We didn’t initially plan to take this road, instead we would cross the peninsula and ride the Pacific coast, but the weather forecast wasn’t looking great, we both wanted a rest day, and there wasn’t anything in particular we would miss out on if we didn’t cross, so we took the most direct route to Lake Towada. The road sucks: busy as expected of a coastal route), bad pavement and no shoulder to ride on; we are holding up a row of trucks, pull to the side whenever we could and then let them all pass. We ride like this for most of the day, but luckily for the last hour and half we escape to a smaller road through tiny villages and forests, which totally saves the day.
The next morning it is time for the final stretch to the lake, only half a day riding. The road is much more quiet now, it is not really going anywhere except to lake Towada. The valley we are riding through narrows and narrows until we are riding in a canyon: Oirase canyon. A rushing river to our right and steep rocky cliffs on both sides. Trees growing on boulders covered in moss on top of ferns: everything is so green. In two weeks this will change when the canyon transforms to a palet of yellows, browns, oranges and reds for autumn and fills up with tourbuses to watch this spectacle, but for now there are just fifty shades of green and a handful of tourists that hike the trail along the river. Every few hundred meters there is a waterfall flowing from the valley walls feeding more and more water into the river, but as we are following it upstream it just becomes smaller and smaller until suddenly the canyon opens up and there is the lake.
24 hours of rain
Along the shore is our campsite for two nights, we figured this would be a good place for a rest day. Twenty minutes after we set up our tent it starts to rain. Luckily there is a covered cooking area where we can make lunch. We nap in our tent. We do laundry and cover all available surface with our drying clothes (there are three other people in the campsite so this seems ok) while waiting for the rain to stop, which it does only the next day, after a solid 24 hours of everything from a light drizzle to downpour.
The moment it is dry we take all our stuff out of the tent because the ground underneath our tent is not draining the water anymore so everything that was not on top of our sleeping mats, is wet. We move the tent to what is hopefully a better spot, and then cycle to the next town for lunch and an onsen. On the way back it rains again, just enough to soak us, and as if the sky is taunting us on purpose, it stops the moment we arrive at camp. Another night, on and off rain, but at least the tent stays dry this time.
The next morning, of course, is sunny. Our tent dries in no time and finally we see the lake in all its glory, as we head out. Such is campinglife 🙂
For the visually inclined: