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Motorcycle Paradise

Islands of Japan Motorcycle tour – part 5

Goto Islands

Day 9


Today is the day I go to Goto islands.

But first I am off to Mt Unzen to see another view point. (part 4 is here) I had wanted to visit this place last time I came to Nagasaki to see Gunkajima (Battleship island) but it rained so heavy. Not so today.

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Incredible views.

A little further on the mountain was covered with wild flowers.

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There was a ropeway to the very top but the views were fine from the previous spot for me.

I took a quick look at the onsen town of Unzen. Plenty of steam.

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The road down the north west side is fantastic.

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And nice coastal ride before things got urbanised as I got closer to Nagasaki.

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I detoured from my planned route above along the ocean more only getting on the expressway closer to the city.

I had a bite to eat at the port then the ferry had already arrived and I was boarding about midday, 40 minutes before departure. The fare was just 5000 yen and it is a four hour trip so that is value. Compare back to day one the ferry was 4100 Yen for 40 minutes.

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I had the boat to myself for awhile being the only motorcycle then a few drivers came on and eventually a heap of people came onboard as walk on passengers.

It was a four hour sailing with a stop first at the northern part of the Goto Islands so I found myself a spot and fell asleep for two hours. Must have been really tired to do that.

A couple of more bits of trivia about Japan while sailing the ocean. Pizza is marketed as specialty/gourmet food and priced double the already overpriced Australian pizza caper type prices. Soft serve ice cream is also another marketing triumph and priced very highly compared to 50c cones in Aussie Mcdonalds. I think there are a few odd ball things like this that tourists select to support the myth that Japan is expensive. They don’t however then mention hotels and food in general is 1/2 the price of Australia or USA and a bottle of Jim Beam is $10.

Goto islands is famous for their flying fish and I heard a lot of voices so grabbed my camera and went for a look. Quite incredible these fish jump up fly along just barely above the water having small wings before dropping in again. I tried and tried but was not able to capture one in a photo, my small lens is better for landscapes. 

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The ocean sure is a deep blue out here.

We docked at 4.20pm and feeling well rested I set off to the other side of the main island. Whilst this trip is about the journey not the destination there was a place I had set as a goal and the time to visit that had now arrived. I was so lucky this afternoon to have fine sunny weather.

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But first a refreshing interlude at a vending machine standing on the side of road.

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Ok, rehydrated, off again.

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A small fishing village near the end of the road. Can you see what is the odd thing in this photo? It’s the cross on a small church. Japan is not a Christian religion country. There are a few small pockets of Christian religion on these islands along with a few churches.

Then in very short order I arrive at my goal - the Otosezaki lighthouse observatory point.

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I’m very happy to make it here today. A place I saw an image of 6 months ago and wondered if I could get there on my motorbike. And now here I am.

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I stayed quite a while soaking in the views. Lovely warm afternoon I had the place to myself. Not the highest but maybe the best view point I have been to in Japan. 

I had to make a call to either watch the sun set totally or get back to the town while still light. It was 40km back and the roads were lovely sweeping corners so I thought why not enjoy them again now in the setting sun and then find the hotel before dark.

The town centre was deserted. This is a common thing now in regional Japan.

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I walked to the local convenience store and amongst a few cheapo wines spotted an rather uncommon but good quality red so in the basket it went to celebrate reaching this point in the ride. Sadly no cheese available to go with the wine. Japan doesn’t ‘get’ cheese, they mostly just have processed slices that I don’t consider to be cheese. 

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Day 10.

Next morning I did a lap of the island. It is a very pretty place.

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Lovely beaches, nobody there at all. The house/cafe in the photo was abandoned. Would be priceless elsewhere but real estate is quite reasonable in Japan once out of big cities. Tokyo can be costly although not like Sydney prices but away from there it is entirely possible to buy a older house in regional area for under $50K as a person I chatted to the other night recounted then even with good renovation it is under $100K house and land.

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You can see the skies clouded over just in the space of 10 minutes between these photos. I arrived at this spot just in the nick of time.

Had a long late breakfast at a Joyful cafe and just relaxed before I needed to make my way to the port for the ferry to the northern Goto islands.

Upon disembarking I took a spin up the nearby hill to find a small park next to another abandoned hotel of which there are so many across Japan.

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Watching my ferry leave into the ocean was a bit odd, like being left behind.

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I set off to explore the islands. I arrived at a different port to the one I thought so first went to the start of my GPS route then enjoyed nice easy riding roads north.

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The riding here is terrific, so much that I did not stop to take photos but the roads were closed in with trees and not easy to photograph and the skies all grey. Alas the weather that had been so kind to me up to know changed and some light rain started. I decided against exploring the northern cape but was satisfied with what I had seen and getting a nice ride in before the rain.

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I had to choose to stay or go and while I had only seen half the forecast was rain increasing all tonight and tomorrow. I went to check the port and just decided to buy a ticket for the afternoon ferry to Sasebo. This would be ferry number eleven on this journey.

I had a light afternoon meal sitting at the dock enjoying the slow life feel the small town had. Could see myself in a place like this. Well perhaps not this exact place as would get sick of the roads available very soon haha. I did not want to start the journey back to Tokyo. But then as if on queue it started to rain as the ferry arrived, so I said farewell to the Goto Islands and rode onboard.


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Ferry life. Three salary men having a nap. The ship was almost empty on the 3 hour sailing to Sasebo. I was not tired on this sailing and got to thinking too much about what was I was doing living in Japan. I often miss Australia of late. I enjoy everything being a bit different, new or uncertain but other days wish I was ‘back in the matrix’. 

The rain proper arrived in route to port but I had just a kilometre to my hotel upon disembarking so as last light faded did not bother to put my wet gear on. Hotel parking guy directed me to put the bike undercover in small space just right size for a motorbike, thank you sir.

I went looking for the famous (in Japan) Sasebo navy burger but found there was not one particular place but everywhere offering a Sasebo burger which took the gloss off the whole thing. So I ate at Gusto chain instead.

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With soup (out of shot) this is another family restaurant chain offering value meal options and even if you add the drink bar option it is going to be under $10 all in.


Forecast is steady rain, what to do then about tomorrow. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Join me again soon for the conclusion to my journey as I ride back north through the scenic prefectures of south western Japan.

Islands of Japan Motorcycle Tour first appeared on Motorcycle Paradise


Part 6 is now posted here

2 comments

  1. Love the combination of the blue of the sky and blue of the ocean in the sunny day photos. I am glad you had some sunny days mixed in with the rain.

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    1. Thanks Brandy, it was incredibly beautiful on the sunny days, much more than I could capture in photograph, the expansive views were breathtaking.

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