After completing our tour of Shikoku, we decided to do the island hop, which starts at Imabari and ends at Onomichi. Its an 80km stretch that spans across 8 islands and seven bridges. It has some pretty spectacular scenery with parts of the islands looking almost tropical and other parts looking totally industrialised with shipping ports and metal work factories.
We planned on catching a ferry back from Onomichi to Imbari but we found out on arrival there were no ferries, so we had to ride back again. We camped for the night and set out again the next morning, it turned out to be quite a day.
Going back across the islands was lovely, we had some great food along the way. 80km into a nasty headwind we then had another 40km to the port of Sanjoi to get the ferry to Osaka. We got lost and arrived late and had to wait 5 1/2 hours to get on the next ferry which left at 10pm, then it was a 6 hour ferry ride. At this point we had run out of money and all the foreign ATM banks were closed. Arrived at Osaka and tried to find an open post office to get some money out, it was too early at 6am so we decided to ride straight onto Nara through 60km of full on traffic. I was so over it at this point. I hadnt slept in 24 hours, hadnt showered for 3 days, was covered in road grime, dirt and god knows what else, was hungry and tired and all I wanted to do was sleep. Tarn went off to go and find some fruit for me, he came back with this….
I didnt have the stomach to even taste it, it smelled like the strongest smelling banana youve ever come across in your life. Tarn had a few bites and then tossed it, only to come out with a vegetable Kit Kat!!! I stupidly tasted that one and regreted it immediately.
Then we arrived at Nara, found a hotel and it was like heaven! We stayed at a traditional ryokan with a zen garden running through the middle of it, hot shower food and sleep then I was ready for the deer. Nara has a ginormous park that is home to over 1000 deer that live and roam freely. I always get quite excited by deers so I was off to go and pat them and make like Snow White. There they were, looking all doe eyed and innocent, and as I soon found out, absolutely not to be trusted. I went and bought them some deer biscuits so I could lure them over and pat their cute little heads, unfortunately this was not to be the case. No sooner had I had the biscuits in hand than I was head butted in the arse by a rather lively male. I had thought it was cruel that they had chopped all their antlers off, but I could now see why. I spun around only to be head butted again by said deer. They were coverging on all sides, I felt like I was in Night of the Zombie Deer, I ended up throwing the biscuits at them and legging it, so much for bloody Bambi.
After a couple of days rest we decided to get the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Tokyo. It was a choice bewteen an 18 hour ferry ride from Shikoku to Tokyo, or a 2.5 hour ride from Nara to Tokyo, no choice really! It was awesome, it travels up to 300kmph, it’s quite disconcerting going that fast whilst being on land. The only thing I can compare it to is travelling down Foveaux St trying to catch Em and Jay at the last Alleycat ride I was in (hehe). The timing of the trains is unreal, you could set your watch to it, we left and arrived to the minute exactley as scheduled.
Arriving in Central Tokyo Station was a complete jolt to the system. Tarn had to build the bike back up in the middle of the mayhem while I rung around trying to find a hotel. I thought we were going to have to set up camp in the Imperial Gardens after 12 no more rooms available calls. We finally found one and then got lost several times trying to find our way there. Riding through Tokyo is a bit like being in The Fifth Element, added to that is Tarn who navigates through traffic like a maniac. I feel like Im strapped to one of those crazy NYC messengers and I cant get off the ride! I do love Tokyo, its sensory overload from every angle. We re going to check out the CWMC tommorrow, im really looking forward to it!