Pachinko Palace & Pacific Coast (太平洋岸) of Iwate

I set off from the net cafe with a tum full of banana sangas and my poncho. I was heading towards Sendai in Miyagi prefecture along the pacific coast of Iwate. I thought it was a smart idea as coastlines are generally flat. To say it was rather mountainous would be a lie, it was consistently up and down the whole 300-odd kilometres. Funny that ‘up down’ also makes sense in Japanese (アップダウン – same as ‘up down’ but in a Japanese accent).

Over those 4 days I did (insert strava stats). I was also thoroughly rekt from the hike a few days ago which didn’t help at all as my quads were on fire up every hill. With a wound in my pride, I was pushing my bike up hills a lot more than I would have liked.

Over the last month I haven’t trimmed my beard or head hair. This is actually the first proper beard I’ve ever had and with it, I’ve been looking increasingly more like a bum. This was made fact by more and more people seeing me in all my glory; dirty shirt on its third wear without a wash, covered in road dust, speed dealer sunnies, sitting on the concrete outside of a convenience store eating my noodles – people started approaching me and passing me food. As I tried to kindly reject it, they persisted that I needed the energy. So I obligingly accepted their kindness/pity.

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The first night, I ended up passing by a good looking campsite near a very violent beach and decided to stop for the night. Since it was still kind of raining, I pitched the tent under a provided shelter. As I was cooking my food a wild traveller appeared ‘野性の旅人がしかけて来た’.

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In short, he’s a legend called Daiichi I’m guessing 第一 which means the first one. He is travelling all over Japan too, but on foot. This is his blog link.

He actually wrote a blog post about meeting me. This is the Google translate for all people to realise how difficult learning Japanese – English really is.

キャプチャ

His story is pretty accurate, but his face wasn’t blurred out like some JAV as some of you may have seen before.

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To be honest, I wasn’t super impressed with the coastline but seeing the devastation of the tsunami really made me realise how we can truly be at the mercy of nature sometimes. This is the ‘lone pine’. These pictures tell its sad story.

Takata-matsubara was a popular beach that arched from the mouth of the Kesen River to the Hirota Bay. There was a 2km long stretch of 70,000 pine trees, which had been standing for more than three centuries. Along with swimming, the beach was also a place for wind surfing, yacht, and sea kayaking.

The forest was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami, but a single pine tree remained – the miraculous lone pine tree. It stands as a symbol for the tenacity of the Iwate people.

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When cycling around Japan, there are a lot tunnels you need to get used to. Sometimes there are great like this one. Other times I’m racing through them as fast as I can because I’m almost getting hit by all the trucks flying past me in a dark, narrow, dust-filled, non-segregated tunnel. They can be truly terrifying.

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On the 2nd night, the rain had truly stopped and I had to consider where the least dodgy spot was to put my tent. The manager came into the onsen I was bathing in (a scorching 45 degrees) and started chatting. Eventually he found out that I had no plans for where I was going to stay and said I could pitch my tent in the car park. Naturally I accepted such a graceful offer.

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The next night I was tipped off by another convenience store Good Samaritan and went to another onsen for my nightly shower. However he never told me it was next to the greatest wonder of modern times: Pachinko Palace.

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As I made my way further south, the land started to flatten as I entered into Miyagi Prefecture. I could not have been more happy. Even the rain didn’t stop my high spirits as I camped under another park shelter.

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