Has it really been nearly a month since my last post? Day-to-day life has managed to distract me completely from the ritual of crafting new blog posts and, in doing so, reliving the memories behind them. By mid-July, I’d already spent a wonderful month crossing Japan by bicycle, and Mie Prefecture still managed to blow me away with its stunning scenery. After encountering hot, hazy weather and crowded roads, it was refreshing to pedal up and down sparsely-traveled, pine-shaded hillsides with lush rice paddies flourishing in the valleys.
While a welcome change, the region’s remoteness did present certain challenges. Restaurants and convenience stores were practically non-existent in such small towns, and my dinner that evening consisted of a grapefruit, salty and crunchy fried broad beans, and some green tea biscuits- not a very substantial meal after the day’s efforts! I knew I’d have to push on until I reached Matsuska, nearly two dozen kilometres away, after a bit of granola and yogurt in the morning. Luckily, the ubiquity of vending machines and their unusual offerings (Jungleman Calorie Off soda, anyone?) ensured I was always well-hydrated. I slept soundly that evening under a stand of towering, fragrant pine trees, with the hum of a rushing stream providing peaceful white noise.
The next morning I lingered by my campsite, allowing the rising sun to dry off my damp belongings while I jotted down notes on my surroundings. What a fantastic place, really.
I reached Matsusaka by late morning and happily consumed some red bean cakes and grilled chicken. Food is an important priority for the calorie-devouring cycle tourist! When I reached Ise city a while later, I explored the Ise-jingu Shrine, sometimes called Geku. As always, it offered a peaceful spot to wander. Japan has a seemingly infinite number of temples and shrines, and I have always felt welcomed within them.
By late afternoon, I’d made it to the coast, and a dip in the ocean was greatly appreciated. I ended up camping alongside the beach and jumping in the Pacific yet again the following sunrise. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe how lucky I was, enjoying the soothing hum of the waves so frequently. There are still so many stories to tell from my six weeks in Japan- I look forward to sharing more!