Polite. Efficient. Clean. More than helpful. Simply fascinating.
Our introduction to the efficiency, helpfulness and trustworthiness of folk here started when bringing bikes in from the airport. It was no problem to put them on the coach (national express take note!) and we were able to leave them on the street with one of the coach staff keeping an eye while we delivered our other luggage to the hotel 10 minutes away. Perfect.
Having eaten the most wonderful sushi at the fish market in Tokyo amongst a few other things two days later we loaded our bikes onto a coach about to head to the mount Fuji area. Easy. That is until we needed to dispose of the cardboard boxes they were packed in. Fellow waste geeks take note…. We were in a scenic area…. It took a lot of negotion and kindness from the local tourist office thelp us on our way. They do not like waste at all here.
With a short ride to our first campsite at lake motosuko we pitched up tents. Our first nights Accomodation….. It was about to get interesting…
Leaving early the next day we had a hilly ride. We seem to have no way of finding campsites here and as the day moved on Accomodation was becoming an issue….. We moved on from a 10,000 yen hotel (about €100) towards a youth hostel option in miho. Unfortunately it had closed and the hotel in the same place was full. Doh. It was 615pm, going dark and we were homeless.
You can read in the guide about the helpfulness of folk but the next thing that happened was beyond our expectation….. Soon, we left this hotel armed with a free bag of rock, us, our kit and bikes loaded into the hotel coach to the motel 17km down the road. Amazing.
On arrival however we were baffled. We had been told we could not make a reservation but were surprised to find no reception and an electronic entry system….. All in Japanese. We had arrived at a love motel. Here you could book rooms from 3 to 8 hours…. I think an 8 hour guest looking to rest was rare though! As a bonus paying for a room like this was slightly cheaper, came with its own jacuzzi bath and a vending machine loaded with all sorts of goodies! It made us laugh. We were not allowed to leave the room and our only way out was to pay…. Another electronic system in Japanese…. After a slight freak out that we may be trapped, the machine took our money and we continued our journey.
We cycled along the pacific coast (again) and on looking for our next pit stop we found ourselves booked into a traditional Japanese ryokan. Sleeping on roll out mats, using shared bathing facilities and wearing numerous different pairs of slippers. The place was spotless though did cost us 16,000¥! Our stay here also included food and while John was not so keen I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful tradtional dinner set before us…. Breakfast the next morning was just as yummy…. I am really enjoying the food here after perhaps too many fries in the USA.
Last night we ended up booked into a business hotel… And got wifi! So, that’s Japan so far…. The cycling is tough in heat and humidity and for the first time this trip it’s starting to hurt! speaks peaking ofwhich… It’s probably time to collect the captain ( aka my bike) and hit the road.