Friday morning up bright and early. I didn’t sleep well the night before, I was too excited, anxious, nervous, scared….. I wonder what it must be like for people actually embarking on a really epic journey around the world the night before?
I live on the west side of Tokyo and need to ride up to the north side and pick up the Tohoku Express that runs out of Tokyo and right up to the northern regions of Honshu. I head to Sendai which is about 400 km and takes approximately 6 hours.
A great run up the expressway with light traffic. I take the Vara up to speeds that would take a lot of charm and explaining to wangle my way out of a speeding ticket/ suspended license.
Stop en route for some lunch. Only bike in the parking area. Haven't seen another bike on the freeway yet today which is very rare.
Noodles for lunch.
Nice bike parking sign Kanji thingy.
Get up to Sendai at around 2 pm.
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Over 7 hours riding the Varadero and not a single ache or pain. Sublime machine. Thirsty though. It burnt its way through a full tank of 25 litres and then some. I forgive the bike's drinking problem because it's such a comfortable beast.
The toll on the freeway from Tokyo to Sendai was about 5,000 yen ($50).
Not a lot to see historically for the traveler in Sendai. The place was totally destroyed in WWII. About 50 km up the coast is Matsushima (Pine Island) though. This is a bay dotted with over 250 islands all covered with twisted pine trees. Matsushima is considered one the most beautiful places in Japan. I figured I'd go take a look and see what all the fuss is about before searching for my hotel in Sendai.
Bridge to Godaido Hall of Worship. This is part of Zuigan-ji temple that I intend to visit tomorrow.
There are some very beautifully carved animals under the eaves and on the supports for the roof.
The interior of the hall is said to be very beautiful housing 5 statues of Buddhist figures. You would have to wait around a while to see inside though because the hall is opened only once every 33 years!
This looks like a nice crib. I was tempted to knock on the door and see if they would let me crash on the floor for the night.
I like their style.
After asking half the population of Sendai for directions, I finally find my hotel.
The Japanese like to be vague.
Me: Excuse me, do you know where this hotel is?
Vague Dude: Oh, that one. Yeah, it's over that way.
Me: Over there?
Vague Dude: Yeah, pass some buildings and then turn right.
Me: Very helpful.
Vague Dude: Indeed.
Very clean business hotel. 4,000 yen ($40) for the night.
Treated myself to a nice soak in the bath after a long day's ride.
Then outside, lo and behold a steak house materialized before my very eyes. I'm there!
And in a flash I was back at the hotel and before you could say boo to a goose, I was in the arms of Morpheus and sleeping like a new born.