Fukuoka - The Arrival
Our Kyushu-Bicycle-Ride would be our introduction to Japan would be on the Island of Kyushu, the west most major island of Japan.
We were instructed to be at the ferry terminal at 5.30pm to collect our boarding passes and check the bikes. Boarding started at 7pm but the boat didn't actually leave the port until 10pm.
The boat surpassed all our expectations. Other than a large Korean walking group there were just a few other passengers. The cabins were very comfortable. We had bunk beds but there were also Japanese style ones with mats on the floor. Toilets and showers were communal and everywhere was clean and neat.
There was a small restaurant but using it was not as straightforward as it may seem. The menu was displayed outside and available in three alphabets, Japanese, Korean and English. To order food you had to put money into a machine and press the button for the dish you required.
Sounds simple but the buttons only had Japanese and Korean labels. It took us ages to work out which one had the corresponding sequence of squiggles to the chosen dish. Then we had to hand the dispensed tickets to the waitress who delivered our food trays.
By the time we woke the following morning we were already docked at Fukuoka and just had to re-assemble the bikes and ride into the city.
Arriving in Fukuoka
Assembling the Bikes
Leaving the gear at the hotel we set off to organise a Japanese SIM card for the phone. Having done this in every other country we have visited we didn't anticipate any problems but eventually gave up and decided to do without Google maps and the tracker for the next four weeks.
So we did a bit of sightseeing and fortified ourselves with some Nepalese ten bean curry in tiny little basement restaurant where we were the only customers.
We had read that Japan has a law which bans cyclists from riding on pavements. What we found is that all of the places we visited now have shared use signs for all pavements where it is physically possible to ride a bike. Cycling is very popular here but most people use their bicycles in the towns. The majority have utility type bikes with mud guards, baskets and back racks. There are very few mountain or road bikes.
Our ride descriptions give an account of the ride that we completed. As
part of the description we also provide links to google maps and
elevation profiles based on mapping data available through the internet.
The ride profiles are smoothed to give what in our opinion is a more
beneficial view of the profile. We use paper maps, GPS and on line data
to plan and conduct our rides. We are happy for you to use our
descriptions, but be aware that we do not guarantee the accuracy of the
information provided as situations surrounding any ride change over