2017 Golden Week Goose Hunt Cycle Tour – Day 4: Akabira to Mikasa (Hokkaido, Japan)


Just as we were thinking we’d go an entire Golden Week cycle tour in Hokkaido without any rain…today we got soaked. Just as we were inching up and then screaming down the pass on the remote 452 highway towards Yubari, the skies opened with cold, drenching rain. This is the day that made this tour a ‘real’ Hokkaido Golden Week tour!

Cycle Touring Naganuma, Tsukigata, Akabira, and Mikasa (Hokkaido, Japan)

The day started out much more mellow, however. We had a large pot of rice left over from the evening before, so Monika made up an incredible Malay/India-style impromptu ride porridge.

Cycle Touring Naganuma, Tsukigata, Akabira, and Mikasa (Hokkaido, Japan)

Cycle Touring Naganuma, Tsukigata, Akabira, and Mikasa (Hokkaido, Japan)

Unlike previous days, we were now heading south, and the howling tailwind we’d been enjoying for the past few days was now in our faces. I’ve never been so grateful to be cycling with a group that includes at least two round-the-world cyclist in prime cycling fitness. They set the pace and dulled the wind for the rest of us.

Thanks to the group peloton, we made good time up till lunch. We were happy to find a relatively sheltered spot out of the wind for lunch, just off the main road.

Cycle Touring Naganuma, Tsukigata, Akabira, and Mikasa (Hokkaido, Japan)

Cycle Touring Naganuma, Tsukigata, Akabira, and Mikasa (Hokkaido, Japan)

It was after lunch that the skies opened. All the rain did make for some impressive waterfalls along the valley route we were following (Route 452). Photo below by round-the-world cyclist Adam Szabo.

Photo by Adam Szabo

Hardly surprisingly, I don’t have any photos from the torrential downpour in the late afternoon. It was rip-roaring fun for the most part. Dodging massive potholes as we careened down the pass to Mikasa…then on to the onsen to warm up.

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