TT-919 ( Tourism Edition) -- Racing Typhoon Lan in Noto Peninsula (on Bikes!)

Japan Travel
* * * * * * * * TERRIE'S (TOURISM) TAKE - BY TERRIE LLOYD * * * * * *
A bi-weekly focused look at the tourism sector in Japan, by Terrie
Lloyd, a long-term technology and media entrepreneur living in Japan.

Tourism Sector Edition Sunday, Oct 22 2017, Issue No. 919

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+++ Racing Typhoon Lan in Noto Peninsula (on Bikes!)

I'm writing today's Terrie's Take from the coffee lounge of the Yashio
onsen in Wajima, Noto peninsula (Ishikawa-ken). Outside it sounds like
demons are trying to get into the building, as wind gusts of over
100km/hr cause the floor-to-ceiling windows to flex and yet not break.
Typhoon 21 this year is a reminder that even the best laid plans can go
awry, and we are now wondering how to get to our next stop at the top of
the peninsula, a delightful place called Suzu, with the winds expected
to continue above 50-70km/hr...

Traveling by bicycle has its good and bad points. On the good side,
there is a real feeling of achievement as you crest each hill, and the
closeness to the sights around you. The smell of cedar forests, the gold
of soon-to-be-harvested rice fields, and the general friendliness of
country folk. The most popular Noto ride is from Kanazawa city, up the
east coast to Wajima, then around the top to Suzu, back down to the
onsen town of Wakura, before ending up at Shin-Takaoka Shinkansen
station for the journey home. The quickest you could probably ride this
route is about 4 days, and for my group of semi-fit but not extreme
cyclists, we have allowed 5 1/2 days.

The negatives of cycling are, well, typhoons and gusting 100km/hr
headwinds, and unexpected obstacles along the way. These can range from
poorly repaired road surfaces creating tire-snagging cracks in the
middle of the road, shells and spikes from fallen chestnuts, slow snakes
(in forested areas), and rotting autumn leaves which are dry on top but
wet and slippery underneath.

Of course if you've experienced these hazards, you can reasonably avoid
them, but for foreign tourists new to Japanese cycling, they can mean a
visit to hospital or worse. Indeed, one tour that I was on last year,
run by a famous (but unnamed) foreign travel agency, resulted in one
lady breaking her eye socket in 16 different places and her having to
spend an extended period in a Japanese hospital!

[Continued below...]

------------------ Kashima Arts "Bisai" -------------------

Kashima Arts is holding a special exhibition and sale called "Bisai"
until November 5th at their gallery at Kyobashi, Tokyo. Around 430
selected Japanese traditional and contemporary artworks - from
calligraphy to paintings - are on display and sale. You can request a
free digital catalogue of every artwork on display by applying to the
link below. (up to 20 people)

Access: Kashima Arts Gallery, 3-3-2, Kyobashi Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 10am - 6pm *open every day during the exhibition

But the risks are worth it when you're cycling in a place like Noto. The
landscape starts off with a quaint city (Kanazawa), then morphs into a
long beach line with pines and ocean vista, then fishing villages, then
mountains and grand vistas of rocky chasms, then finally bucolic rural
scenes and inland seas. The photo opportunities are many, and cars on
the secondary roads are few - basically the area is a cyclist's heaven.

Today I wanted to cover the gateway to the Noto Peninsula, which is the
segment from Kanazawa city up to a little place called Togi (part of
Shika City - but in name only, since "cities" in Noto are far-flung
rural towns amalgamated for easier administration and taxation). The
best way to get out of Kanazawa city is to cut across the old quarter
next to the Sai river, then down the river embankments. I don't know why
Ishikawa-ken doesn't do a better job of promoting its various cycleways,
because they are amazing, and this river route is one of them. It
features about 10km of cycling and running paths that extend all the way
to the sea. The wonderful old houses and temples on the southern banks
of Saigawa make for great photos, as do the various nature refuges, and
eventually the fishing port. (Sai River cycling blog)

Coming off that cycle path, as is often the case in Japan, you are
inexplicably removed from the next cycleway by about 10km of urban roads
and bridges. The good thing is that you can angle in a couple of blocks
and be among some of the oldest still-inhabited wooden homes in Japan,
which is a great cultural introduction to foreign guests.

Heading north on Route 5, you need to set Google Maps for a bicycle
store called Katsuri's, in Uchinada. Yeah, I know that this is
hyperlocal information, but the reason it's important is that just 100
meters further north from this cycle shop, on the same road, is the
start of one of the best cycleways in Japan, and yet one that I'm still
struggling to find on Google, even though I know where it is... The
folks in Ishikawaken tourism need to do better with simple details like
this. Google maps needs to start its cycling courses service here in
Japan as well.

[Continued below...]

-------- Kurashinity Housekeeping Service, by Pasona ------

"Kurashinity" is an affordable, top-tier housekeeping service produced
by Japan's leading human resource company, Pasona Inc. Kurashinity
provides skilled Filipina housekeepers who are hospitable, professional,
and trained to maintain the cleanliness of your lovely home. Packages
start with two-hour cleaning sessions twice a month for a 1LDK apartment
and three-hour cleaning sessions twice a month for a 2LDK location.

Monthly packages start at a very reasonable ¥10,000. Service
registration has just started, so if you're having a busy day today, why
not try our service? Our current service areas are Tokyo and Kanagawa.

Tel: 0120-700-809 (English and Japanese)
Register at

The cycleway from Uchinada really is amazing. It hugs the newish Noto
North-south motorway, and is fully concreted and landscaped for at least
30km. The prevailing views are the ocean and pine forests on one side,
and the motorway on the other - which doesn't sound that appealing,
until you know that the cycleway is mostly set lower, and so the traffic
is not really noticeable. You'll also have fun ducking in and out of the
many pedestrian tunnels that crisscross the motorway, as the cycleway
architects take you through some new forested area. The cycleway will
get you all the way up to this area's second hidden gem - which is the
Nagisa Driveway (also known as the Chirihama Beach Driveway). (Ishikawa-ken's photos for the beach)

The Driveway is actually a hardpacked sand beach that you can drive on
(with a car) - apparently the only one in Japan. It's about 20km or so
long, and every day you'll see cars, horses, Harley Davidsons, and of
course cyclists, trundling along next to the ocean. Yes, I don't
recommend doing this every day, since the salt and sand must surely take
a toll on your mechanics, but for a one-time experience, it's memorable.
This current trip I was able to take some arty photos of a family riding
horses, silhouetted against the water, then later on, some clown doing
360's in the sand in a Kei-car. Mostly, though, the beach features
families parked right next to the water's edge, fishing and cooking on
BBQs. Apparently there are no road rules for this beach, and
theoretically even unlicenced drivers can sit behind a wheel (my kids
would be delighted to know this!).

Very unique and chaotic beach for orderly Japan.

So what about the Typhoon? Yes, well the three of us on this trip
enjoyed surprising local people in hamlets along the coastline, as we
showed up in our wet weather gear and forged our way into (at that time)
50-60km winds. It was hard work, but at least we got to Wajima before
the main impact of the storm hit. The rain eases tomorrow, but the winds
will stay for the rest of the week -- all good exercise for us.

Kanazawa city is just 2 1/2 hours by shinkansen from Tokyo, and
Shin-Takaoka, at the other end of the Noto cycling route, is even
closer. You can take your bikes on to the train by breaking them down
(means just removing the front and rear wheels) and putting them into a
purpose-made rinko bag. I recommend the lightweight but well-made
Ostrich brand bags. (catalog of Ostrich bags, since the maker's own
site sucks).

...The information janitors/

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---------- ICA Event - Thursday 1st November --------------

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Details: Complete event details at
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RSVP: By 6pm on Monday 27th October 2017, TMT Bldg.,4-2-22 Shibuya,

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