So I went to the infamous Miyajima (shrine in the water) on Itsukushima. I went here a few years previous with the Dogg (Luke Poggi) and had a mad time hiking up the mountain so I wanted to do it again.
It was as good as I remembered, except a lot more sweaty this time. I also wanted to set a Strava record if possible, but had my watch on a wrong setting so all my efforts didn’t count for anything. Although… I think I would be at least top 5, if not first for the up route I took.
On the way down I had a blast trail blazing down the rocky stairs and hairpin bends. At the bottom I saw a bunch of lazy tourists waiting for the minibus to take them to the chairlift / ropeway up. Someone even stopped me to ask if I had caught the chairlift up. I hope I didn’t audibly scoff.
I chilled with a few deer near the gate before catching the ferry back and riding to meet my first warm showers host, Bob.
We met at a beach park in the small bit lovely town of Yuu.
It’s basically a small village in between a valley filled with luscious green rice fields and great cycling paths. There’s also a nice beach and a psycho Japanese dude at that beach.
We were sharing some stories over a few beers when a strange middle aged Japanese man came up and started talking to us. Then invited us for a few drinks at the izakaya ‘over there’. He started acting strange by asking if we wanted any girls then asked 2 very young school-aged girls if they wanted to join to chat… They seemed very repulsed and refused. As the dude failed to open a locked back door to somewhere, he went off into another weird room. One of the girls came up to us asking if we knew him and that he seemed crazy so we should probably avoid him. We both started having big doubts here and agreed to bail.
The guy came out and saw we weren’t so keen and was like “what did they say about me!?” in Japanese. I just responded many times with “sorry I don’t understand”. He then spotted the girls and stalked over to them yelling angrily. He even seemed like he was confronting and potentially going to push or harm them, but Bob realised this early and jumped in to stop it. We told him to calm down and that we were leaving, while the girls also told the local lifeguards.
That’s the first time I’ve had a crazy come up to me… Out of the tens of cool people who have given me great things and stories, there’s always a weirdo.
We rode off to Bob’s house and through the great cycling roads of Yuu Valley and eventually arrived at a small stream to have a river shower. For my first ‘warm showers’ experience it was not so warm…
We went for dinner at a local restaurant and made a few new friends, Norman (Japanese Bass Player and retired traffic control guy) and Kirby (Sumo Wrestler / Traffic control guy).
If in the area I highly recommend it, it’s a beautiful place with some great things to do.
P. S. warm showers is an app like couch surfing except focusing on cyclists.