The Big Ride

Japan: Our journey’s end – Part II of II

Great food - everywhere, Polite people, Clean and organised
Very expensive, Lots of rules, The rain and cold
Things we are loving
The interesting culture and the amazing sights of Japan


Our tour through Japan continued south after Nikko where our morale began to dip for a few days, the rain started almost immediately after we left the temples and it was pretty cold too. I have discovered that although my tolerance for hills has improved dramatically since leaving England, my dislike of being soggy hasn’t at all. I still really struggle with the wet. No matter how much I try to keep my spirits up I can never manage it for long, and my mood is inevitably affected. We also encountered some very unfriendly locals, it doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s always disheartening. Damp, cold and with darkness descending fast we cycled up to a warm and cozy looking café, set back off the road and surrounded by lots of great camping land – it looked like the perfect place to stop for the night…we were very wrong. A combination of miscommunication, desperation and being a little cheeky – despite being told we couldn’t camp outside or near the café we cycled a little further from the café and set up the tent behind some disused outbuildings, fairly confident it would be fine, especially now it was dark and late. After dinner however the very unhappy husband of the woman in the café paid us a visit and was clearly angry about where we had placed our tent, we decided to pack up and be on our way however, before we even had a chance to start packing up the police arrived! This was one of many encounters with the police in Japan, although they were always kind to us it was a little annoying to have to deal with the police regularly, and Japan was by far the country where we had to deal with the police the most! We found it kind of unbelievable that the guy had called the police on us so quickly. After a chat with the police officers they moved us on to the only place nearby that was deemed okay for us to camp – a horrible, concrete layby next to some toilets and vending machines, and a pretty busy main road. It rained heavily all night and as we were on concrete the water pooled under our tent and we woke up the next morning floating in a puddle on our thermarests! Everything was wet and to make it worse it was still raining hard outside – blah. We had breakfast in the porch of the public toilets, not our preferred choice of location but desperate times…


Scott Newland

Claire and Andre’, I have really enjoyed reading your Big Ride blog and seeing your photos – often extraordinarily beautiful. Your ride was of course a major achievement and congratulations for having completed such a long, varied, multi-cultural adventure. It has been a pleasure to vicariously experience it through your words and images. Best wishes for success in life back home!


Thanks so much for your kind words and for reading through our adventures! We hope you are getting out there and tasting what the world has to offer. Keep peddaling, and hopefully we will have some new adventures one day soon to share with you and the rest of the internets.

Big love!

Robert Keys

Hello Andre’ & Claire

Thank you for a GREAT blog.

Really enjoyed reading it and loved the photographs.

Take care & seasons’ greetings!



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