The quite banal tourism consortium "El Pośpiech" invites you to an entry from Japan in the version for those in a hurry. It has been stripped of content to the absolute minimum. To feel like us on vacation, read it in one long breath. Then, like us, you will be happy to sit at your desk in your office and rest. Remember that you are reading the testimony of people who, as the main attractions of the trip, planned a trip to the museum of cats waving their hands near Nagoya and a big robot in Tokyo. The main culinary attractions, in turn, are a visit to 7-eleven.

An acronym for Japanese bikepacking for people in a hurry

… But before it comes, the most important conclusions and thoughts. Bulleted because I know you are in a hurry. The conclusions, of course, are based on a 2-week stay and exploring a really small part of the country, they can have as much to do with reality as nothing.

 


Cheaper than you think

Cheaper than at home.

It's cheap, really. Japan has always reminded me of Switzerland, while the prices of everything turned out to be lower than in Poland. On 12 nights will spendWe spent a total of PLN 3466. It is worth noting, however, that we stayed in very sensible hotels, most of which your employer from the IT industry would not be ashamed of. It seems to me that by sleeping in hostels / capsules, this price can be easily reduced 3 times, and by staying in "guesthouses"2 times. Unfortunately, we like to have a dark, quiet and our own dedicated bathroom at night. Especially when you stay overnight after 10 hours on a bike and dream only of sleeping. It is worth adding here that a visit to a Japanese bathroom is a real delight for the butt. Upon our return, we consider purchasing an electric toilet seat.

I have the impression that prices on Saturdays jump up twice, and an overnight stay at Mount Fuji Panorama Glamping for PLN 534 did not help lower the average - but if you plan to visit Mount Fuji on a national holiday, in perfect weather, you can expect that with the availability of accommodation will be hard. We do not make any reservations more than a few hours in advance.

The average cost of a solid dinner in a small local pub is yes PLN 15-30 for a meal. PLN 30 is usually the largest ramen that is available. The most expensive dish in a typical sushi restaurant in Kyoto - PLN 100. I would call them "luxury board" (not to be confused with the toilet, which I also called there).

Flights are expensive because all long haul flights are now expensive - 50% more than a year ago and 100% than two years ago. We pay after PLN 4,000 per person. The unlimited SIM card for 2 weeks is PLN 180.

We cover almost all local transport with the Japan Rail Pass. Behind PLN 1400 per head for two weeks we can use almost any train on the island, including 300km / h Shinkansen. You drop by the station and get on (almost) any train, you can even punch a reservation on the phone or the machine.

That makes 14446 for 2 people + food. Food is the price equivalent of our Chinese food and slightly cheaper Żabki.


Japanese

Ant people

The first thing that catches your eye is that the whole country works like a perfectly planned machine. As in Lemmings, where your lemming blockers bet on every dangerous spot, and breaching each one will result in an endless series of misfortunes. If there is a hole in the asphalt, then even if there was no car to the horizon, and you appear on the horizon riding your 13km / h bike, you can be sure that the complicated system of people waving glowing swords will help you avoid it.

When in Wakayama we plan to get on the ferry a dozen or so minutes before its departure, on the horizon we are greeted by a few Japanese shouting at us. They wave their flags and place us on the exact centimeter of the deck we should be on. A few seconds later, the bikes are taken from us, attached with ropes to the railing, and pads are placed under the wheels so that they do not accidentally drive off somewhere.

Nobody speaks English unless they have the function of an English speaking person. Really, I haven't been to a country where English isn't spoken that much. Add to that the fact that the Japanese bow a lot and apologize a lot, communication is pleasant but a bit burdensome.

Fortunately, I speak Japanese perfectly, because I am brought up on Japanese fairy tales in Polonia 1. I mention this already during our airport interview for television, but it turns out that the journalist does not know the fairy tale Gigi la trottola. It was a joke for the kumats, best regards.

The most famous Pole is, of course, Lewandowski.

Japan is a nightmare for bikefittersbecause saddle lifting has not yet been mastered and everyone pedals their knees side to side.

Japan's best thing is kei cary, that is, little cars, little men. Apart from the main cities, there are almost only them, which means that the smile does not leave our face.

Cycling is comfortable. The roads are narrow, but drivers drive almost Scandinavian - as if hitting a cyclist could lead to life imprisonment. In cities, there are a lot of bicycle paths within the road, but they are mainly used as temporary parking places for cars. We were honked 2 times, but in situations where I would have trumpeted myself.

The riding areas are divided into: city, shoreline along the ocean / river / lake and mountains with patches> 3000m / 100km, nothing else will appear. Like other pavements than asphalts. Gravele I don't think they will get there.


but worse than you think

I don't want to live there

Japan is one of the last countries that I would choose to live in. The fact is, it's clean, the people seem decent and the scenery is very strong. But let's agree, the landscapes in many countries are strong, even in Poland.

The cities are frighteningly empty and dark - very few cars, very few people, little life during the day - even in Tokyo. Except, of course, where the opposite is true. Conversely to the extreme. However, an exaggerated order is hard to bear for someone raised in Poland. At least for me. There is something unsettling about it.

The Japan we've seen also has little to do with the land of robots and the world of the future. It looks like the world of the future was here 30 years ago and has stopped.

As for the dogs - there are few of them. I am not surprised - not only there are no rubbish bins, but there are also no places where the dog could do his job. The lawn is practically an unprecedented luxury. Poodles dominate, pickled ones, then nothing for a long, long time and I put Shibs in 3rd place.


Days -1 and 0

2 planes, 2 trains, 2 km by bike


On Tuesday at 15 we fly to Dubai, we sit for a few hours at the airport and then to Osaka. On Wednesday at 18:00 at the airport, we buy a SIM card, leave our suitcases, pick up the train pass and give an interview to the local television. We leave the airport island by train, change to another train, go to the hotel, look for food at 7 eleven, sleep overlooking Wakayama Castle.

On the plane to Dubai, we sit with 350 people straight from Patryk Vega's films - but they really exist.

A 20-minute television interview makes us realize how few points we have planned. I cannot answer the question of what we want to see and why we came. Our goal is to experience unexpected adventures, moving between the most obvious places of central Japan, such as Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, Mount Fuji, etc. Taught by experience, all the best meets by chance. The plus is that journalists, after interviewing us, know about the existence of Shikoku dogs, named after the island of Shikoku we are going to. On the island, the knowledge of these dogs is the same.

There are so many trains departing from every place and so often that I mainly use the schedule on google maps and adjust the planned time to the one I see on the displays. We miss the first train, even though we are standing at the appropriate platform. It drives so quietly and the people exchange is so smooth that we only see it when it leaves.

Although maybe it's because it passes by us too panda train and the Hello Kitty train and it's hard to concentrate.


Day 1

1 ferry, 1 train, 89km by bike


At 8 am we check in on a two-hour ferry to the island of Shikoku, we go from it to the train station, the local train takes us an hour to the end of civilization, so we have time to look for accommodation on the Booking. We spend 8 hours on a bike, two of them surprised by the total darkness and surprised by the fact that there are no overnight stays at the end of civilization. There are also no young people, shops and Shikoku dogs that we came to see and the magnets we were supposed to buy. There are (few) people surprised by the presence of tourists. We have the most local accommodation imaginable. And even more so.

There is not much civilization in the south of Shikoku Island, and there are even fewer young people there. Our arrival seems to have lowered the average age significantly. The accommodation is the best of the best.

I think the host set up a guesthouse to meet people and drink sake together. In addition to us, there is also a student who travels the island by bike. The host takes a picture of us and hangs on the wall next to dozens of other photos, the student writes a letter to us in the morning that he had to leave earlier, but invites us to Osaka when we're finished.

There is a very complicated system of slippers at home. Separate for the house, separate for the bathroom, shoes left on the right sides, etc. Sleeping on futons is great, but not necessarily paper walls, because you can hear everything and the light flies by. From that day on, we also do not see transparent windows - all matte, eternal darkness.

On the ferry, the best is a large sleeping rug on which local guys they spend two hours of the course without shoes. Sylwia gets free candies from a stranger, old lady. From that moment on, until the end of the trip, she is already in a suspiciously good mood.

We eat dinner in a hidden, rural pub. Not only do we not know how to order anything, we do not know what to do with these warm towels, etc. Sylwia climbs to the heights of eloquence and orders rice tea in Japanese - I get ice water. We already understand why the host wanted to come with us to the pub so much.


Day 2

1 bus, 2 trains, 100km by bike


In the morning we set off early, because at noon we have a train to the mountains (painted in Anpanman) - we cover 50 km in 5 hours. After that, it is comfortable 5 minutes to change to the bus that will take us even higher. Another 40 km by bike up the hills and we should wait at the station for the train, but somewhere along the way I confuse the intersection and we press our feet on another one to be there 6 minutes before the departure of another. An hour on the way to the city is just enough to find accommodation and plan the next day.

What can I say, the Shikoku mountains are great and I am suffering there are no big bikes with us. Autumn is also beautiful, everything is beautiful. The contrast between the cities and the surrounding mountains and the ocean is huge.

Riding bikes on an autobust is not particularly comfortable, but no one has ever paid any attention to us. The payment systems are ridiculous too, and let me not try to explain them here. I will just say that most cash settlements consist in the fact that a person issues a bill, and change is thrown into the machine, also in 7-eleven.

We sleep in Marugame - finding food there outside of 7-eleven is not easy after 8:00 PM. As it turns out later, cities die quite quickly in the evening ...


Day 3

2 trains, 1 Shinkansen, 3 ferries, 100km by bike


Because the next day begins with the hour-long train at 8:06 AM West, where probably Asia's most famous cycle route starts - Shimanami Kaido. 75km is just for a full-day, easy ride with a compiler, but I remember that on the way we pass an island with rabbits. So there are two ferries and 40 km before any overnight stay it is already dark. We hit the ferry that takes us to Fukuyama, from which our Shinkansen will start in a few minutes. We see a young man there for the first time. We cover the next 250 km in an hour. On the way, I find accommodation - it is 22.00 and we are in Osaka.

If someone says "bicycle" and "Japan" in the same sentence, they may have two things in mind. A mother carrying two children built in a tent to school or Shimanami Kaido. The hike is strong. Not so much, of course, that it makes an electrifying impression in Europe, but it is really good, and the bicycle entrances to the bridges are impressive.

On the way, we catch an island of rabbits. The Japanese produced gas on it during WWII, and the rabbits stayed there after the experiments. However, we know well that the real reason is to add to the image of the island. I see this council in government:
- Guys, what are we doing with this unfortunate island?
- Boss, how about bunnies? Everyone likes bunnies.

We are riding the Shinkansen for the first time. The Shinkansen is very fast, but when it misses the other Shinkansen, the WTF expression remains on the face.

When it comes to bikes on trains, you can, but only in bags and there is no right to protrude a piece of the bike from it from the moment you enter the station. The bicycle is lava, and if it touches anyone, it will die if it is touched.


Day 4

75 km by bike


In the morning we cycle north - to Kyoto. We pass fifteen hundred baseball fields filled with kids. A bit of sightseeing along the way makes Kyoto go around darkworm, as usual. We do see monkeys and many Sunday cyclists banging along the rivers with embankments - I'm starting to appreciate Gassy. In Kyoto, we first fall into a market packed to the brim, and then we are alone in the "old town" - blast and championship.

Kyoto is very cool, especially when everyone is gone after dark.

Driving the embankment near cities is bad, because there are pathological slowdowns all the time (as in the photo).

When it comes to baseball, I think I could become a fan or even a player.


Day 5

1 Shinkansen, 52km by bike


In the morning we get into Shinkansen and hit Tokyo, because there is Halloween and we have a plan to find out what is happening in Shibuya then. I mean, we know what's going on, but we want to see it. Circling Tokyo by bike means that we actually get there only in the evening. On the way, we visit the Pedaled store and Rapha, which are as poor as cycling around Tokyo. But what happens to us in Shibuya is indescribable. Similarly to Shinjuku, where we have a hotel.

There are no words that can describe being at the world's most crowded crossroads on Halloween. The only thought is "I give up."

As for Tokyo itself, we haven't found anything to rave about. Outside the temple with cats, of which Sylwia is a psycho fan.

For the first time in history, I don't buy a hat at Rapha's store - it's so ugly. It also seems to me that I am close to including all of its stores in the world.

The weirdest thing about Tokyo is that you can be on the most crowded street in the world* and two blocks away there is silence, emptiness and darkness.

*exaggeration


Day 6

2 trains, 56km by bike


The Tokyo bike loop confirms our belief that this is the worst place during the whole trip. These are the top places I would not like to live. I would say it's a day of rest, but after the cycling loop we go to explore the city by train. The words "rest" and "Tokyo" do not go well together. The Taitō district saves the situation a bit, at least in terms of shopping. The rest of the city is a terrible job. We decide to run away.

There is a man standing in front of the nearly kilometer-long Rainbow Bridge. Its task is to mount each bike a trolley under the rear wheel. So that it is possible to push, but not to go. Who came up with it and why - I don't know, but it's funny.

Besides, we see the Statue of Liberty and many, very glowing districts that I'm disappointed with.

Mainly because I imagined, for example, Akihabara - a brave of games and electronics as the world of Pokemon, Hello Kitty and characters from the world of Nintendo. It is not there, it is mainly Manga, which I only associate with Dragon Ball. There are also a lot of gaming machines - the ball draw and the ball machines The claw pulling stuffed animals. Such a games room can have 8 floors and border on several others.

Even the 20-meter robot, which we are going to see especially (Gundam), turned out to be headless at the moment - because it was renovated.


Day 7

2 trains, 64 km by bike


In the morning we take two trains towards Mount Fuji. There, a local loop around 3 of the 5 famous lakes and we fall for the night in the dark. Due to the fact that the visor is good, but could be better, we repeat some places the next day. Fuji is amazing. We arrive on a national holiday, so finding accommodation is not easy. We sleep in "glamping", which turns out to be a luxurious caravan with a view of the mountain, which of course is invisible at night, and only fog in the morning.

There are no words to describe Fuji towering above the red trees, especially when it is visible. And as it turns out, such a phenomenon is unusual. Thanks to bicycles, we manage to go around half a hill to find a place without clouds. It is tight.


Day 8

99km by bike, 1 Shinkansen


It was supposed to be relaxing 100km down, it was "100km a little up, a lot down, but against a mega wind". Reaching Fuji takes us over 9 hours, because on the way, for unknown reasons, we decide to hike in the mountains. In the evening we catch Shinkansen to Nagoya, where we plan to visit the cat museum the next day. On the way, however, we come across one of the best sunsets in our life.

After our climb to the top of Arakurayama, I begin to regret that the itinerary does not include hiking in the mountains.

This is one of those days that I can't write much about, because the photos show everything much better.


Day 9

77 km by bike, 1 train, 1 Shinkansen


Museum cleared. Now we carry more cats in bags than clothes. Of course, we extend the trip and enter some random hills - covering 80 km takes us over 8 hours. I am beginning to regret that we are not big bikes here, because the mountain roads here are perfectly as well and perfectly empty. After all, Japan is divided into empty mountains and full cities. We catch a train to go back to town and then the Shinkansen to Kyoto.

I suspect that the visit to the Manekineko Museum is one of the main purposes of our visit to Japan. These are the kittens with a waving hand, although as it turns out - they did not originally wave, and the whole story of their creation is so "off the hook" that it is hard to believe how random things in the world can "grab". It is probably the equivalent of moderns virals.

The second best attraction of the day is observing preschoolers who pretend that the cartons are sleds and the grass is snow. They do it in a truly manga manner.

It is definitely a day that reminds you that driving on completely random roads is often the most interesting.


Day 10

1 train, 106km by bike


We set off on a 170-kilometer bicycle path (Keinawa Cycling Road) in the direction of Wakayama - we will travel as much as possible, and the rest by train - on the way we must visit Nara, where normal people enjoy the temples, and we enjoy the stags. After 107 km it is already so dark and cold that somewhere in front of Hashimoto we get on the train and land again in the city of our first night. On the way we pass crops and tea factories and bags are already stuffed to the limit. We also come to the time of burning crops, so we feel like in Otwock.

If anyone thinks that Japan is 100% ecology and greenery, I invite you to take a trip with us. Especially through the burning areas and villages where it gets surprisingly cold after dark.

Trying to buy tea in one of the "home shops" is the essence of our visit to Japan and how hard it is to get along with the Japanese, but they try very hard. It seems to me that the nice lady tried to explain to us for 10 minutes that we need a "teapot" to make tea and we will not be able to do it with a water bottle.

Finding a store also takes us a bit, despite the fact that Google Maps claims that stores are all around us. They may be, but you almost have to go to the hut, and the assortment fits on one small table.

We return illegally by train, because it turns out that the unmanned ones can only be entered through the front door, and we go "on the tourist" from the back. The surprise was so great that legends will circulate about us.


Day 11

2 trains, 68km by bike


There is no specific plan, so we go outside the city by train and huddle along the coast - it turns out to be much more undulating than we thought, so we also return by train, so as not to travel at night. The legs are now empty, like my part of the stomach for things unrelated to fish and rice.

jprdl.jpg how this bike is hard to ride on the hills. I don't know once in my life that I discover that driving along the coast does not mean driving flat. Although it may be the fault of the legs massacred for 10 days or the wind.

Two weeks of vacation is a very long time. I would even say that it was too long, but the discovery after returning that I could not log in at work because I forgot my password was beautiful.

That day, I also pee in the strangest toilet in the world - one where you can see everything - as in the photo below. Overall it is very nice and Wakayama Castle at night is a master of a master. We also eat the world's best ramen Maruman Ramen. An additional attraction in ramen is the lady who greets everyone (and says goodbye as well) with the shout of ARIGATOOO GOZAIIIMAAAAS! right in the face. Every time he does this, I check that I haven't been cut in a katana.


Day 12

2 trains, 30km by bike


The last day is the fulfillment of one of the points of "things that I would like to do in my life", i.e. a visit to the classic Japanese Keirin - a track race. On the spot, we mainly do not understand why we came, since we do not bet. After an hour (i.e. 2 races - about 4 minutes in total) we die of boredom and for the rest of the day we visit Osaka, to which we go by train. Then 11 hours of flight, 3 hours at the airport in Dubai, 6 hours of flight and we are at Okęcie.

This Keirin, however, is a higher driving school. I really read a lot of internet to find some party. It turns out that the hours are not given, because races can be held, for example, every half an hour, for 3 days in a row. It has no special background and is definitely more of a gambling event than a sports event. A bit of a letdown. Maybe the prefecture championship is not a big thing, but nevertheless I was expecting a larger audience than 20 guys with an average age of 120.

The plus is that the entrance to the event costs PLN 1.50. Yes - a golden fifty.


It was, I'm not lying. Although the entry may be struck by a certain skepticism generated by the interchange of expectations in relation to the existing reality, I strongly recommend visiting Japan. Although probably not as much as, for example, Hong Kong or Taiwan, where the level of exoticism and the "wow" effect are greater for a simple man like us, and logistics is not any more difficult. However, it is worth seeing the highest level of respect for other people that I have experienced so far. At least at first glance.