There is a small road that runs along the Kokaigawa River near Tsukuba in Ibaraki, Japan. This river is very long and from my starting point I could have gone north or south. This time I chose north as the weather forecast said it might rain and I knew the way home from the north side.
Here is where I started from.
If you go here during the cherry blossom season the south route has hundreds of trees…another reason for going north this time. Look out for the next post around April or May. Incidentally if you are every around here during July the park where I started from has a water feature for kids to play in that is pretty awesome. The huge slide is pretty cool too. Adults can only play when nobody is watching so no pictures here. I know the map makes this place hard to see, but it is at the bottom of the reservoir.
There is a free car park and two toilet blocks here. And on with the journey. As this route follows the river it is pretty flat and as it is quite rural there are quite a few hidden treasures along the route so keep your eyes peeled.
I cycled along for a while until I saw a sign for a local temple. This is also a good place to cross to the other side of the river. if you don’t cross here you might get lost later or run out of road. This temple looks deserted most of the time but it is quite active. They have festivals, bonfires for daruma in the new year and lots of other activities..including taiko drumming. A friend of mine loves this temple and made a wiki page for it, which you can find here.
This shrine is so friendly there is even a sign in English demonstrating how to pray.
As you can see I am on drippy today as I am fairly close to my home, no car journey today.
This is the view from the bridge. This bridge is quite old and was damaged in the 3/11 earthquake. It has now been repaired, but its use is restricted to small vehicles.
As you cycle along there are many small shrines, so if you are not in a hurry stop and take a look.
There is Mount Tsukuba.
My destination today was the Aeon mall in Shimotsuma. I have never been to this mall, but it was like most other malls in Japan. And look at that sky…no rain today, the weather man lied.
Of course being a mall there was an abundance of choices for lunch, but no buns dancing..disappointing.
Hmmm pizza. At this point I had cycled 26km, 10km to the park and 16km from the park to the mall. I have earned a small pizza.
Across the road from the mall on the right be looking at the map..if you move it up a bit to Shimotsuma, is Kokaigawafureai Park. This has a funky building in the shape of a butterfly. There is a small museum type thing inside with examples of other insects, I think from memory, I didn’t go in today. The reason for my non-entry is the fact that on the ride I got in the face by a large grasshopper and near misses from other. I was all insected out.
This place is a perfect place for a picnic and if I had remembered it was here I would have bought a sandwich or bento at the mall and ate it here. There are many things for children to do and a few things for adults too. Like a mini golf course and lots of flowers!!
Look at the size of those sunflowers, my hand is huge by the way, I really needed a banana for scale. (my hands are tiny)
As I was cycling I decided to use an app I downloaded a while ago, but never used…imotion. It takes stop motion videos on your phone or ipad. Here is one way of the cycle, 16km in 4:31 minutes.
I will do this trip again as it is good exercise, easy, and accessible for me. It is better with a friend though…you know who you are….now all my friends are going “me”…yes you 😉