Friday, 25 June 2010

Matsumoto Castle Japan - On the bike again..!

Friday morning, a wonderful big breakfast made by Midori, and it's time to pack up the bike and start heading south.


The quintessential Mum - making sure I have something to eat on the road..  ;-)  I love it..

Grandpa checks out the bike.


I try my best to explain that pannier is where my computer lives..

They gave me some more detailed maps, since my Garmin gps does not work here.. but wonderful Hiroyuki decides to take a day off work and escort me to the next town on his KTM 640 Adventure!


He has several bikes to choose from..  there are 3 more not pictured here, 2 of them are in the house! The ones he and Midori rode on their 15 month honeymoon..


First stop is to get me some motorcycle insurance.. I had great advice from an American born Japanese rider about details for riding in Japan.  On his website..  http://www2.gol.com/users/chrisl/japan/

Everything worked well except one, and that was insurance.  I printed out his pre-made request in Japanese, and after 4 shops in Tokyo and many phone calls to other shops from my helper in English at a hotel, we got nowhere.

So today, with Hiroyuki's help, we got a "No" as well at the first shop, but the second shop came through.. Hallelujah!


And how cool is this guy at the shop!!

Off we go on the most gorgeous mountain ride!  I have never ridden in mountains before.. so I was a bit slow.. as usual!  Very steep downhill hairpin turns, with all my gear was something to be careful about I reckon!

The amount of concentration needed for all the gear shifting and speed adjustments and trying my best not to go over the edge.. it was scary!  I think it is good for the brain to have to be calculating that much, so the brain doesn't get too lazy... this is how I justified sticking through it when it was getting a bit tough.. ;-)


I wish I had photos along the road to share, there were that many "wow!"  moments along the way.. the snow capped mountains, massive waterfalls, gorgeous little alpine villages with old traditional Japanese homes... what an amazing ride!!

If anyone is planning on riding to Japan, this was the most beautiful ride ever, and I highly recommend it!!

I will share this photo, even though I shouldn't.. taken by Hiroyuki..  it just made me laugh so hard - not much I can say to defend myself....


Finally made it to a little town for a fuel stop..



We then ride into Matsumoto, an interesting town with a bit of history.. Matsumoto Castle..

Matsumoto Castle (Matsumoto Jo) is one of four castles designated as National Treasures of Japan the oldest castle donjon of which remains in Japan. Because of the elegant black roof, Matsumoto Castle is sometimes called Crow Castle.





Hiro explains to me that Japan used to be divided into over 100 little countries, and the Castle had an Emperor and many warriors for protection. 


I seriously don't understand how the warriors could fight effectively wearing all that metal.. 


As usual with Japanese custom, no shoes on inside!  I take my big motorcycle boots off and thought they held them at the entrance, but we instread put them in a bag and have to carry them..  


Gee whiz I am spoiled, Hiro carried my boots!!  Such a kind man, and as much as I tried, he wouldn't let me carry my boots.. He says, "My job to carry boots, your job to take photos.."  I can do that, but not without feeling horribly guilty!



Thank you Hiroyuki, I really enjoyed visiting the castle, I love history!


Now it's time for lunch!  Still learning for me, Hiro helps me order a hot dish this time instead of cold.. I asked for vegetables, this is what I got..


Mountain vegetables with Udon noodles.  I didn't recognize anything but the noodles, but it was darn good!!  I loved it!  And Hiro ordered exactly what Midori and I had for lunch the day before.. cold Soba..



After lunch, on to our final destination for the day, where I am now.... Takayama.. he knows a man here who has affordable hostel, and with his iphone gps, we drove straight to it... Hiro, can you escort me through the rest of the country please!  It is so convenient!! ;-)




Bike parked at the entry door, put the cover on and settle in..  Hiro has a coffee before he starts the long journey back to his home, back through all those gorgeous mountains and endless tunnels!  I find this a cozy little alpine town, and unpack and head out for a beautiful peaceful evening walk.. Another great day in the life of Sherri Jo...
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2 comments:

  1. Sherri Jo, I have been following your story from the start of the journey (leaving your home) What a great experience. And the fact you are doing it yourself with no support team is amazing. Cant wait to hear what you have been up to next

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  2. Getting caught up on your trip. I'm so impressed by everything you've accomplished. It was a surprise to see Matsumoto! My buddy and I visited there back in 1998, and we have the same picture of the samurai armor! Brings back great memories. I've really enjoyed living vicariously through you.

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