It turned out that we were a little bit late in the season to see the migratory geese at their most raucous, but Miyajima Pond still delivered with an awesome sunrise. Our route up to Akabira was not one that was originally planned, but the Iwamizawa Plains gave us all a glimpse of some classic Hokkaido scenery.
Seeing the geese take off at sunrise meant rousing ourselves, well, before sunrise. The chatty group from yesterday was understandably subdued as we fought off the fog of just-woke-up to get to the pond before the geese disappeared for the day.
Just a 3km ride from the campground, we didn’t have far to go in the morning half-light.
From the campsite, we set off on our bikes, hugging the hills to the west of the Iwamizawa Plains. This resulted in a decent amount of up-and-down hills, but kept the roads traffic-free and gorgeous.
We stopped for lunch in Hokko Park in Sunagawa City – perfect for a lunch-stop as there is a supermarket and bakery close-by. Monika, on a length-of-Japan trip, took the opportunity to get some advice from Rick on where the best spots were in Honshu to cycle.
The second-half of the day saw us following an excellent, unexpected cycle path along the Utashinai Valley. While it was a climb all the way, we appreciated being off the main thoroughfare.
We stayed at the excellent Akabira Elm Kogen Campground, with onsen attached.