After no sleep, I decided a short ride to Chiba would be a good idea. I contacted my couch surfing host to let him know I would be arriving today and he said that would be fine. So I set off on a 100km ride along the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture towards Chiba.
The ride was good because there were barely any hills, but when you start a 100km ride at 3pm, you’re going to be doing quite a lot of it in the dark. Strava link:
Along the way I realised that travelling alone also has its downsides. I planned to visit something called Hitachi Seaside Park, which looks like it’s a bit of a theme park. They have rides and such but I think the main pull are the flowers on display. I don’t usually pay any attention to the online images for these kinds of places, as any idiot can go in and add filters and turn up the saturation of photos these days to make something average look spectacular. I’m a realist, so I don’t filter or edit my photos unless it’s some kind of dark cave shot that needs some shadows brightened / outlined – Thanks for showing me how Kel 🙂
Yeah so as I was saying, going into a place such as this is a bit of a downer when you’re alone. So with spirits a little disheartened, I battled on towards Chiba. I tried riding as close to the coast as I could to get some views, but the wind was too strong and because of that the grounds were covered in sand. Heavy bicycles and sand do not mix well, and probably the closest I’ve come to stacking it this trip was along the coast when I hit a mound of sand and went all Tokyo Drift.
As the sun was setting, I finally crossed the bridge into Chiba and snagged an epic photo.
It was getting dark pretty quickly and I still had about a 20km ride ahead. I dropped into a conbini to grab some wine and chips for the guest and got so confused by all the overpasses, stupid ending footpaths and construction detours that it took me around 2 hours to get to his house. When I arrived Haru (host) had prepared a delicious green curry for me. He also assured me it was going to be delicious as ‘I’m a chef it has to be’.
We talked late into the night about travel adventures. Haru has done some really amazing and unique things. He’s actually a professional fire dancer, although I’m sadly unable to say I saw any. He has travelled all around the world just about and speaks amazing English. He offered to show me around the canal city Sawara (part of Katori city) the next morning which I had no idea was going to be so beautiful.
Haru was very knowledgeable about the town and told me more than I needed to know. He told me that in the Edo period (1600-1868 I think….), the Sawara area prospered so much from the river nearby that its reputation rivalled even Tokyo’s (all seems legit according to this website). However not much has changed since, and even the buildings and canals are in the same style. The locals also seem like they may be from that era, not many spring chickens about.
The canals and scenery reminded me of one of my favourite animes: Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X).
Thanks for hosting me Haru, hope to see you in Australia soon!
Katori City is located in the northeastern part of Chiba Prefecture, about 70 km from Tokyo and 15 km from Narita International Airport. I would highly recommend stopping by from Narita airport if you have time!