Day 1
Aug 7, 03
Kamikawa - Karisaka tunnel (about 8 km before)
58 km
Weather: Cloudy

Well, this is it. After a few unsuccessful attempts, we'll finally see the mountain of Japan - Mt.Fuji.

Early morning my bike was already packed, waiting for me outside. I wanted to get up as early as possible to escape the afternoon heat. When I got up at 6 the sky was overcast and I decided to stay in the bed for another couple of hours. It wasn't gonna be sunny that day and there was no need to leave at 7 as planned and I slept for another 2 hours and left at 9:30.

We were a little short of time, so I decided to cycle to the tunnel by myself and meet with Ewa and Pierre near the tunnel. Our friend Pierre agreed to take us through the tunnel to the other side (the Karisaka tunnel between Saitama and Yamanashi prefectures is over 6 km long and it is over 2000m above the sea level. Walking and cycling through it is not allowed).

The first few kilometers were a nightmare. The night before, I had a few beers and my head felt it the next morning. The first climb came after 5 km in Kamiizumi, leading to Nagatoro and Chichibu on the other side. I had never considered that climb as a difficult one, but being hangover it seemed really steep and very long. I cursed every car that passed me. I reached the pass and were glad to be going down. After the pass the road leading to Chichibu city ran through an interesting area in the mountains. There were many old, Japanese style houses along the road and almost total lack of modern, concrete architecture created a great atmosphere.

I reached Chichibu in an hour and made the first stop just outside of the city in Arakawa at the beginning of the climb to Karisaka tunnel. I tried to call Ewa from there because I realized that I forgot to bring a tripod, but they had already left. After a quick snack of salty cucumbers and some rice, I was on my way again. It was the perfect cycling weather. Overcast skies and warm temperature. It wasn't raining, but rain hang in the air. The temperature was much lower than the average for that time of the year in Japan. The summer that year was cool. It was quiet, but the storm, one of the strongest typhoons that year was just a day and a half away.

To my surprise, the first 20 km of the climb were very easy. I expected uphill road all the way to the tunnel, but it turned out to be up and down with short, easy hills. Most importantly, there weren't many trucks on the road. The R140 follows a stream that is deep below in the valley. It looks very beautiful. The whole area is a beautiful place with the river in the deep valley and huge mountains on both sides. The mountains are a part of Tama-Chichiby National Park and there are many popular hiking trails. I felt like going down to the river for a swim and if it was hot that day I probably would have done it. The real climb began passed Otaki Village. It was steep. I reached the roller-coaster, the spiral bridge that crosses the valley from one side to the other and back. That wasn't easy. After the bridge, the road became even steeper, but fortunately the randez-vous point with Ewa and Pierre was just a few hundred metres up the road.

For some reason I thought that the place was right before the tunnel, but later it turned out that the tunnel was 8 km away. Anyway, Pierre and Ewa came, we loaded my bike onto Pierre's car and drove through the tunnel to Yamanashi prefecture. While crossing the tunnel, we discovered that there is a sidewalk, so it is possible to ride or walk through it. Later we saw a guy in Yamanashi who walked through the tunnel.

We quickly found a nice spot on the shore of a small dam lake and set up a camp. There was a small building (some kind of museum, but really small, the size of a one storey house). Next to the building was a shelter with a roof and sink with fresh water. We had to cook the lunch under the roof because the nice, sunny Yamanshi sky turned gray and it started raining.

When Pierre left after lunch, we went for a short walk on the main road. Up the road were some houses, a general store and something that looked like a local onsen (hot spring/bathhouse). When we returned to the tent, we had a fire and cooked dinner. It stopped raining after Pierre left, but started again in the late evening. We noticed that somebody else decided to spend the night in that place. It was the guy that I saw earlier walking on the Saitama side of the tunnel. He must've walked through the tunnel. I never asked though. He slept under the roof in the back of that tiny museum. He had nothing with him except for a small back pack.

After he went to sleep, Ewa washed herself under the sink that was there. She was practically naked there. Fortunately, the guy was asleep or at least we thought so. We couldn't fall asleep that night.

Day 2
Aug 8, 03
Karisaka tunnel - Kawaguchiko
58 km
Weather: rain and wind

I opened up my eyes at 6 and couldn't sleep anymore. I went to the sink and noticed that our neighbour was already up. He was washing his balls. He had a top on, but naked from the waist down squatting next to the sink covered from possible cars passing on the main road. He never expected anybody come from behind. Perhaps, the guy didn't even know that we were camping there that night. He saw us in the evening, but probably thought that we left after eating dinner. When I saw him, I quietly turned around and went back to the tent. He didn't see me.

When we returned to the sink an hour later, our guy had already left. We wanted to start a fire to cook breakfast near the tent, but it started raining. We moved everything under the shelter roof by the main road and cooked breakfast there. The rain was getting stronger and stronger. It was the beginning of a 2-day long typhoon. After breakfast we waited for about 2 hours and despite of continuing rain we decided to go. A few minutes later we were soaked and cold. On top of the summer being cool that year we were still almost 2000m above the sea level and it was cold especially going 20 km/h down the mountain in the rain.

When you climb a mountain and reach the pass, the descent is usually a reward for the hard work. I remember thinking about it while cycling to the tunnel the day before. Well, it wasn't a reward, but a punishment on that occasion . We couldn't go too fast because it was too cold. On top of that, in order to slow down, I had to squeeze my breaks very hard and I had to stop every 10-20 minutes to let my hands rest. There was definitely something wrong with the breaks. It was a nightmare.

Under different circumstances this road would have been a great ride. It follows a stream which is on the right. There are small villages with straw roofed houses in the valley with beautiful mountains on both sides. From time to time we could see a road sign warning drivers before suddenly appearing monkeys on the road. It would have been great, but not that day. After stopping in a tiny shed, we continued downhill and stopped at a service stop (michi no eki) before Yamanashi city. The typhoon was getting closer and it was already pouring rain.

After 30 minutes we were back on the road. The rain seemed to be even stronger now. The typhoon was just around the corner. We reached Yamanashi city and stopped at the Yabohachiman shrine. We found a dry spot under the main gate and had hot noodles there. By then we were completely soaked and freezing.

The shrine looked very interesting, but we couldn't go near the main building. It was just to wet. The main gate under which we found shelter was entirely made of wood. It looked "real" compared to those concrete gates that the Japanese seem to be in love with. After an hour of waiting we continued cycling. The rain became stronger and then suddenly stopped. We wanted to take an advantage of that break and find a camping spot.

We left our dry spot and continued cycling. The main route followed a river and when we got to a bridge and crossed the river, we noticed that the water was raging. Normally that river is shallow and small, but this time it was 3 times as wide and very fast. There was also an announcement coming from the public speakers around the city that warning people against getting near the water. It looked dangerous, just like a Northern Canadian river with rapids.

After crossing the river we had to make another stop because it was impossible to ride. The rain was that big. It poured for a while and then it suddenly stopped. We continued down a main road of Yamanashi city which was deserted now. We were moving towards Yamanashi station. The front of the typhoon was already upon the city and most of the people were safely hidden in their homes.

There was a park near the station where we decided to camp. Unfortunately, it was to early to set up a tent and after getting assured by the park employees that the rain was going to continue until the next day, we decided to go to a local onsen, get warmed up and come back to our spot in the evening. The park people showed us the way to the onsen which turned out to be closed down.

It hadn't started raining yet and after quick look at the sky and deciding that there was a great chance of not getting soaked again we were on our way. Our goal was to get as near Mt.Fuji as possible that day. Our mood changed quickly. We were happy. It wasn't raining and it wasn't far to Mt. Fuji. The volcano was only one mountain pass away.

A few km outside of Yamanashi city we began climbing again. This time it was long, extremely long. The road that we took is one of the main routes to Mt. Fuji and it was just crowded with cars. The first 2 or 3 kilometres were lined up with grape and corn shops. Apparently, Yamanashi prefecture is famous for grapes and Japanese pear. The owners were getting ready for the fall. I remember thinking that I couldn't imagine how crowded that place must be in September and October, during the grape harvest. The traffic was heavy enough on that day.

When we finally reached the tunnel after kilometers of winding road, Ewa came up with an idea to spend the night before the tunnel on a little parking lot that had a toilet and fresh water. After thinking about it for a while, we decided to keep going and were on our way to the tunnel. We wanted to pass the tunnel and be on the other side that day. At that moment it seemed like the typhoon had passed already. We were fooled.

The tunnel passage was terrible. The length was about 3 km and there was no sidewalk. Not even a shoulder. On top of that the cars, including some giant trucks and buses carrying tourists to see the ultimate sight - Mt. Fuji, were constantly moving through the tunnel. And there was no ventilation system, but that we didn't know until being in the tunnel. Instead of biking we walked through it. We decided to walk after a tunnel-truck experience early that day (we were descending before Yamanashi city going through a few tunnels on the way down. Before entering one of those tunnels that was no more than 150 - 200m long, I looked behind and saw no cars. Ewa was ahead. Since it was short and empty, I told Ewa not to get on the sidewalk. When we entered the tunnel, I looked behind again and this time I saw a dump truck flying down the mountain in our direction. When I looked in front, I noticed a turn halfway through and heard another truck entering the tunnel from the opposite direction. Ewa was 10 m ahead and I screamed to her to step on it. When I got to the turn both trucks were already in the tunnel and the noise from their engines was terrible. It seemed like the truck behind me was right on my ass. I remember thinking that if I entered the curve and the truck behind me would emerge from it, he would notice me at the last moment and wouldn't have enough space to stop. He wouldn't be able to go around me because of the other truck. I made a quick decision to let it pass me before we enter the curve and pressed on both breaks to slow down. I pressed way too hard because the front tire started skidding and suddenly my bike started falling to the right side, towards the center lane. At that moment, I was sure that the truck was right behind me and I started feeling hot in my upper body. In the split second I let the bike fall and jumped off of it and towards the sidewalk. I got to the wall, turned my head and expected to see the truck crashing the bike. To my surprise the truck was still about 20 m behind. It was all that noise that confused me. Still he was going very fast and upon seeing my bicycle in the middle of his lane slammed on the breaks and stopped before my bike on 45 degree angle. The other truck stopped as well. At first I couldn't move. My legs were numb and shaking. When I picked up the bike, I used the side walk to get to the end of the tunnel. Ewastopped 50m passed the tunnel and waited for me without knowing anything about my incident. We both agreed that saving a little bit of time by riding on the roads wasn't worth it and from that moment on we would be using sidewalks).

Getting through a 3km long tunnel, without a ventilation system and full of cars was terrible, but we made it. When we finally got out we were happy to breathe fresh air again.

We expected to see Mt.fuji on the other side, but it still wasn't there. We began descending. The road was curvy with mountains on one side and steep cliff on the other. It was cold and it felt like rain again. It was also getting dark. After 15 or 20 minutes of cycling downhill, we reached the place where we planned to spend the night. It was a park that we saw on the map with monkeys in it. It looked like it on the map, but in reality, it was some kind of a private park that was already closed. There was a huge building with stores and food shops. One of the souvenir shops had an entrance to the park and there was an entrance fee to the park and to see the monkeys which were most likely locked up in the cages or tied up to metal poles. The park was the first sign that Kawaguchi-lake town wasn't going be a pleasant place to visit. A few minutes later when we entered the town, we discovered that if we knew before what this place was like, we would have never included it in our plans. It looked like Niagara Falls.

It was quickly getting dark and locating a suitable camping spot and an onsen to warm up were the only 2 things on our minds. We needed the hot, soothing water of an hot spring badly.

The lake was lined up with hotels, restaurants and other fancy buildings, but fortunately the shore had a public path. We found a spot among the trees right by the path and a water fountain nearby and went to look for a hot spring. After finding one resort to which we were directed to by a 7/11 guy we went in and paid Y1000 PER PERSON!!! It was the most expensive onsen ever and yet it was nothing special. Just a regular kind of building with normal water. Ridiculous! Maybe regular building with regular tab water, but right next to MT. FUJI! There isn't a better place.

Anyway, we didn't care. We were cold, wet and in need of hot water. The little drizzle stopped when we came out again. Instead the wind became stronger. It was a very pleasant, warm, summer wind. It felt good to be dry and warm again. We made a camp and went to bed.

The wind picked up the speed later and around midnight it felt like the tent was just going to fly away with us in it. It was very warm though. We fell asleep.

Day 3
Aug 9, 03
Kawaguchiko - Yamanakako
22 km
Weather: morn. to aftern. - rain
aftern. to eve. - great

Around 6 o'clock, the wind was still strong, but not as strong as during the night. We survived one of the strongest typhoons of 2003 right on the shores of a lake. We left the tent and saw some people on the pathway. They came to see Mt.Fuji that was visible now despite the overcast. The mountain was there and right above it was a kilometer thick cloud belt that covered the entire mountain from both sides and on both sides descended together with the slopes. It looked like a thick carpet laid on top of the mountain and from where we were standing it looked like cross-section of Mt. Fuji covered with that cloud carpet. It was white as opposed to the rest of the clouds that were dark gray.

Besides that cloud carpet over the volcano, we noticed some really weird cloud shapes much higher in the sky. One of them was a very dark gray cloud with very light gray sky in the background. The shape of it was almost round with smooth edges. It was a weird site. We were right in the middle of the typhoon, but it was quickly passing. The wind was slowly dying and when after going back to sleep we woke again at 8 o'clock it had died completely and was replaced by rain once again. We went back to sleep and woke up a few more times every hour until it was noon. By 12 it was still raining, but we couldn't stay in the tent anymore. We decided to go somewhere. There was an art museum a few hundred metres away and we rode our bikes there. When we got there in about 5 minutes, we were soaking wet. There was this one-room building by the entrance to the park of the museum for workers during their breaks, I think. Anyway, we hid under the roof in front of the shack and a few minutes later a lady opened the door and called us in. We accepted the invitation and went inside. At least it was dry there. The place had huge windows on three sides, so we could easily monitor the outside situation. The lady went back to work and a married couple with 2 kids came in, also hiding from the rain.

We chatted a little and played UNO together. The rain was getting smaller. The rain finally stopped at around 2 or 3. We were told by the couple that the rain would continue most likely until the next morning, but fortunately it didn't and it seemed like it stopped for good. The rain and wind died, but the clouds although still very dark were very high and didn't seem like threat anymore. After packing up in the shortest time possible we were on our way to another lake in that area called Yamanakako, about 22 km away. On the bridge across the lake, wind was still very strong, but the weather began improving. In the Fujiyoshida town we noticed some breaks in the clouds and during the sunset, there were scattered pieces of thick clouds across the sky. The colours looked spectacular in the setting sun. The volcano was partly covered by clouds, but it was all changing very quickly because up there it was still very windy. At one point we noticed that famous halo cloud hovering above the peak that is so often seen in many Mt. Fuji photographs. It looked like it was gonna be a great morning the next day. Our mood improved and after 22 km we were on the shores of Yamanaka lake buying beer at 7/11.

The weather here was different. It was windy and we could feel a little drizzle. The clouds reappeared above our heads, but we knew that they weren't going to last. The typhoon had passed and there's always a beautiful weather that follows it. We took a bike path that followed the shore and decided to cycle until we found a suitable camping place. Next to the path was a road and on the other side of the road we tried to see a park in the darkness. There was nothing except for food shops, cabins and hotels. Despite that it didn't look like Kawaguchiko at all. It was much more quiet and undeveloped. The lake was on our right and by this time there were clouds hovering right above the water. It wasn't pleasant.

Finally, we located a shelter with a table and most importantly a roof. It looked like a perfect place. We stood there for a while and watched the mountains on the opposite shore. They were visible again, but all of the sudden the view disappeared and we noticed this fast moving cloud right above the water level moving at a fast speed in our direction. It felt like the wave of quickly moving mass was going to sweep us off the ground. It was a very strange feeling. These weather swings weren't a surprise considering that we were at more than 500 m above the sea level.

The next goal was to find an onsen. There were maps every couple of hundred metres on he path, but no onsens were marked there. Fortunately, there was one only few hundred metres down the road.

It wasn't a real onsen, but it didn't matter. The atmosphere was great. First of all, it was only 2 of us, so we could do some clothes washing. After an hour of soaking in a hot tub, we came out and sat in a sitting room. It was like any other Japanese traditional sitting room, but the combination of smell and lighting created a very special atmosphere plus it was completely empty. It felt good. We were even treated with green tea and sugar ginger. It was very relaxing and we spent there almost an hour chatting and looking through some coffee table Mt. Fuji books.

Later while leaving we were approached by the owner's family and discovered that the place was run by an Indonesian family. It had a slightly different feeling from the other onsens. We got back to "our" camping spot and noticed that the clouds from the lake disappeared and Mt. Fuji became more and more visible. Most of all despite some clouds the air was very clear. It was the official end of the typhoon. When we set up the camp, the mountain was totally uncovered and for the first time we could see it completely. We watched it while eating supper. In front of us was the main climbing path full of lights. The entire side looked like a Christmas Tree. It felt like we could touch it. We could see camera flashes going off from time to time at 2000 m or higher from where we were located. Later the peak disappeared again and when I got up during the night to have a cigarette, the entire mountain was hidden behind the clouds once again.

Day 4
Aug 10, 03
Yamanakako - near Tokorozawa
95 km
Weather: Sunny & hot

The first thing we did when we woke up was uzipping the tent to see if Mt. Fuji was there. After all the mountain was the reason why we were there. Our tent was placed with the entrance towards the mountain.

Ewa woke up first and managed to take a few photos of the volcano. When I got up the peak wasn't there anymore. The weather was great though. It was sunny, clear and very warm. The sky was clear except for the kind of a cloud crown hanging above 3/4 of the volcano making the peak invisible. Above the water was slowly disappearing cloud of mist.

The combination of clear air and the cloud crown that hang around the peak created this great effect. In this clear air the mountain seemed very close. We could almost touch it. The cloud crown was casting shadows on the base of the volcano. It was only one place in the sky with the cloud. The mountain looked really awesome and at the same time strange being the only mountain in the area. It just appeared in the middle of nowhere.

The path was already getting crowded. Before we even got up, we heard bunch of people walking next to our tent. They must've been very disappointed being unable to use the picnic table and the seat. People knew that what follows a typhoon is always a beautiful weather with clear air. As always there were small groups of old people wearing the same hats and whole families with fathers carrying tons of equipment hanging around their necks. Every minute they would switch between still and video cameras. Their wives on the other hand would try to place the kids in front of the mountain and take pictures with their phones. It wasn't sort of a place that we would normally choose, but we had to see the volcano after so many times of trying and failing. After so many attempts, it became personal.

After a big breakfast, we packed the panniers and took off. The first 15 to 20 km were done on a quiet, mostly flat road with small hills. We cycled through small towns and villages. At one point we passed what seemed like a huge summer camp place for the middle school students. We reached the first climb and I had to wait for Ewa near the tunnel. It wasn't steep nor it was long, but it was the third day of cycling for her and her bum was sore from the seat. Anyway, after that the road went downhill for many, many kilometers all the way to Kanagawa prefecture. It was really great. It was a main road connecting Kanagawa prefecture and other roads leading to Yokohama and Tokyo, so it was crowded. Fortunately, it was mostly one way traffic in the direction of Mt. Fuji, so our lane was almost empty. It was unbelievable to see so many cars, motorcycles and bicycles going towards their country's most popular spot. The road was going gently down passing through very scenic places. There were beautiful mountains on both sides of the road and on the right side were some rice fields and a stream.

We stopped at the first service stop what turned out to be a mistake. The place was unbelievably crowded with millions of noisy people who stopped there to buy souvenirs for their bosses, co-workers and family members. It was pure chaos especially in the building were the stuff was sold and the parking lot where bunch of old guys with their red sticks were trying to direct the cars coming in and going out. While walking towards the building we noticed an older guy with this rare, extremely expensive dog that belonged to the SPANNIEL family. I tried to pet him and almost lost my right hand.

We used the toilet, entered the huge souvenir shop and left immediately. The road continued downhill and we could enjoy the views of beautiful mountains. It was getting kind of tired though with all those cars moving towards Mt. Fuji. We were glad that we weren't going to the mountain, but away from it. When we reached Kanagawa there were a few climbs that we had to endure. It was already very hot and there were more cars on the road now in both directions. We decided to take a back road. The road was also up and down, but much less crowded. We stopped by a dam to look at diving/fishing cormorants. Half of the surface of the reservoir was covered in all sorts of debris brought down from the mountains by the typhoon rains. We noticed some of the birds diving among it.

Later, Ewa started complaining about her gear shifters. They were the twist kind and were pretty worn out already. It was difficult to change gears and she got blisters on her hands. After having lunch at one of the convenience stores we reached another main road with traffic. We crossed it and tried to find a tunnel that connected our small road with another one leading across the mountains to Hachioji city in Tokyo prefecture. We couldn't find it and tried to ask an old, partly deaf man. He eventually showed us the way to the tunnel that actually was 100 m away, but not before we spent 15 or 20 explaining to him where we wanted to go.

After going through the tunnel, we began climbing for the last time in that day. It turned out to be the longest and the steepest climb of the trip. It was passed noon and extremely hot. Ewa burned half of her back what was still visible in December, almost half a year later.

The only good thing about our road was that it was empty. There were hardly any cars. We passed through a couple of quiet, mountain villages and stopped at one to rest and cool off near a stream. It was impossible to swim in it though because of the weeds almost covering it completely. We just dipped our t-shirts in the very cold water and put them on. It was refreshing.

About 2.5 kilometres before the pass, it became really steep. Ewa's back, legs and arms were burned and we were both exhausted, so the reminder of the climb we walked pushing our bikes. Here the slopes were 10% to 13%. We were in trouble. There was hardly any liquid left in our bottles and no water springs where we could refill them. Fortunately, it became a little cooler near the top. At one point Ewa wanted to pee and she just went on the side of the road without giving damn about possibility of the cars passing by.

When we got to the top, there was no water fountain as we expected. Instead was a food shop and parking lot ran by an elderly couple. The parking fee was ridiculously expensive - Y500 per car. It was a mountain from which Mt. Fuji was visible, but reaching the viewpoint required walking to the top for a few hundred metres and we didn't feel like it. We were both thirsty and tired, so we decided to descend as quickly as possible.

The road on this side was totally among trees and it was very, very cold. A short while after the pass we noticed water flowing down the rocks on the side of the road and refilled the bottles. We continued down shivering and pressing both brakes with all the force. The lower we got the warmer it became. It was a pleasure to cycle the last part in the afternoon sun. The road ran through a couple of quiet, mountain villages.

I'm not sure why we decided to descend the mountain and enter Hachioji city at such a late time, but we did it. As soon as we entered the city we wanted to leave it as quickly as possible. After stopping at a supermarket and buying dinner food we wanted to cycle to Saitama prefecture. It was too far though and we decided to stop a few kilometers passed the city at a river park that we noticed on our map. Even though we left Hachioji city, we hadn't actually left a city. In Japan, one town ends and immediately another begins creating this continuing city especially on the Kanto plain around Tokyo. We got to the park that was full of people and finding a camping spot was almost impossible because it was a festival day. We found a toilet and decided to wash up. It was a handicap toilet, so we were able to completely undress and had a good wash.

It was refreshing. Later we had dinner, but the park was getting more crowded. There were many middle school punk kids making a lot of noise. We felt much better now after dinner and cold bath. We decided to continue after finding another park on the map. The place was 7 km away, but the further we rode the more empty the city became. We road along a main road lined up with restaurants and all kinds of shops on both sides. At first, there were many people on the sidewalk coming back from the festival, but the further we got the less stressful riding became. By the time we got to the park, we were hot and sweaty again. The night was a typical Japanese August night - hot and humid. The typhoon was already forgotten.

There were some people still in the park despite the late hour. Most of them were young people coming back from the summer festival that took place in several towns that night. We found a perfect spot and sat on a bench. We had to wait for an older guy sitting a few metres away to leave. As it turned out later, he was waiting for us to leave. Later, we realized that there were more older men sitting on the park benches. As it turned out they were homeless people waiting for others to leave so they could go through the garbage bins full of treasures on the festival night.

It isn't easy to be a homeless person in Japan. It's true that they get good help from the government and many of them put together wooden shacks where they sleep and some of them even have electricity in those shacks. They use kerosene powered generators. Others have dog houses next to their shacks or tents with dogs on a chain. Amazing. But despite all that it is sometimes dangerous. Many of those people fell victims to hideous crimes committed against them. Some were beaten to death some had boiling water poured on them. And the saddest thing is that these crimes were committed by middle school student. It seems like human life has a little value here.

We finally pitched the tent behind some trees on a grass hill and went to sleep. It was near midnight and we were exhausted. For the first time on the trip we were able to fall asleep right away.

Day 5
Aug 11, 03
Tokorozawa - Kamikawa
81 km
Weather: Sunny & hot

We got up, ate good breakfast and were on the road again. It was already hot. We had 80 km to go on the flat surface. We were on the Kanto plain and there were no climbs between there and Kamikawa. The only problem was traffic. We wanted to get home as quickly as possible, so we stuck to the main roads, full of cars and trucks.

As soon as we crossed the Saitama prefectural border, the road became narrower. The neverending city finally ended and now we had some nature again inbetween towns. We reached Yorii town which is located only 20 km from Kamikawa and I got a flat tire. Great. We had no kit and no spares, so we pushed the bikes for 2 km, but it was very exhausting. I decided to try to pump up the tire and ride it. Fortunately, the whole was tiny and it worked. I was able to ride the bike for 2 km before having to pump the tire again and ride for another 2. After that it was pump and go all the way until Kamikawa.

Lesson learned: Take a spare. It doesn't weigh much.

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