Lake Shikotsu to Lake Toya – Thursday 30 May

When you go to your local shops for 5 minutes and return 3hrs later … my day today – I met up with my mates!!

Late leaving as the guesthouse staff did their best to get us accommodation at Setana … downfall we didn’t have a Japanese phone number.

We hugged the lake with glimpses as there was forest all around, lots of trucks, however there was a nice wide path. Also glimpses of patches of snow on a mountain. The chirping of birds was drowned out by the deafening cicadas.

Our first tunnel was 1.5km and cycle friendly … a lovely surprise at the end … we meet Peter from Melbourne, also cycle touring and spending 3 months in Japan – lovely to meet someone and have a chat.

Meanwhile back on the bikes and climbing, we lost the lake and had a steady 10km climb over the mountains.

We had not had breakfast only 2 cups of coffee and feeling hungry, another tunnel 1.6km and no path … within metres a ute stopped and asked if we were okay to cycle the tunnel … he sounded Aussie … at the end of the tunnel he was stopped … Harley from NZ … now owner/operator of a landscaping business here … he offered us a lift but we declined as it was now a great downhill.

Soon we came across the first food outlet – Mushroom Kingdom – what a goldmine! A truck and car stop and lots of choices of freshly prepared food, ramen, tempura and a bakery and mushroom products. What a find!

Not long, after we meet another tour cyclist, Kelvin Tan from Singapore who I have been conversing with over the months on the Japan Cycling Navigator site … lovely to meet him in person.

We find a nice path that follows the river without trucks for a while – nice to leave the traffic behind.

About 10km before Lake Toya we have entered an apple growing region.

Back on the downhill into Lake Toya and another tour cyclist, Ivan from Birmingham stopped for a chat – also from the Navigator website. What a great day to meet so many cyclists.

We enter Lake Toya and find our hotel, the promised lake views exceed expectation. A trolley for our luggage, our bikes are in the foyer overnight, an onsen and sauna which was very welcome – inside and outside baths, a man prepared our futon beds while we relaxed with a drink and admired the view.

We had a lovely Okonomiyaki at a restaurant not far away and at 8:45pm a fireworks display on the lake started outside our hotel … a lovely touch for the day.

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