Cycling in Japan is an exciting adventure and in March 2021, we set off on our first week-long bike trip through Tottori to Shimane Prefecture. This is the second part of our cycling trip – the journey starts here and continues here.
Day 3: Tottori’s Sakura Lane & Castle Ruins (20 km)
It was only our second day of cycling when he heard a strange noise near the pedals of J’s mountain bike and we were extremely lucky to have found a bike shop that agreed to have his bike fixed by the following morning. Once we picked it up, we set off on a cycle along Tottori’s “sakura lane” to see all the beautiful cherry blossoms at peak time. We then stopped by an excellent cafe (with possibly the best coffee we’ve had in Japan?) in an old converted building before taking a look at an ancient shrine set by a tranquil pond in a forest. We were tempted to take a walk around the pond, but were put off by bear sighting signs.
Time to see the famous castle ruins! With the cherry trees in bloom all around the vast park area, this place really exceeded our expectations. There was a small scale cherry blossom festival going on and we were able to buy a taiyaki (fish shaped waffle) and sit by the castle walls after having enjoyed the view from the top. When visiting the castle ruins, it’s hard to miss the French-style villa on the huge castle grounds. Even though there’s not much inside the building, the admission fee is very cheap and makes for a nice half-hour wonder with great views and a relaxing time sitting in its adjacent Japanese garden.
As if we hadn’t seen enough cherry blossoms that day, we cycled to huge sakura park to end our sightseeing for the day. Although it hasn’t been a strenuous cycle that day, we’ve done and seen a lot and decided to try out Tottori’s roadside “super onsen“. Despite me being sceptical at first, I actually really enjoyed it as there were so many different types of hot springs in this spacious onsen.
Day 4: From Tottori via Shikanocho to Lake Togo
On our fourth day of the cycling trip, it was time to leave Tottori City and we set off to cycle to Shikano town 20 km west of Tottori, which was a little detour to our final destination by Lake Togo, but the sakura photos in a tourist brochure were convincing enough. Before leaving Tottori city, we stopped by Lake Koyama and cycled onto a tiny island where we just sat in the sun, listened to the birds chirping and enjoyed the stunning scenery of flower fields and the lake.
Off to Shikanocho! For this cycle, we chose backroads and weaved through extremely well-maintained farmlands. When we arrived at the quaint castle town of Shikanocho, we visited its park famous for seeing the cherry blossoms which did not disappoint! After these two intense days of cherry blossom viewings, we do understand why everyone in Japan is so crazy about them – it just feels magical when the white and pink petals slowly fall down from the trees just like soft snowflakes.
From Shikanocho, we still had a 27 km cycle ahead of us to our final destination of the day – staying at Hawai Onsen (a hot spring town) by lake Togo. To be honest, I booked to stay there for the night, as we love lakes, the place sounds funny and to make sure we cover a good distance. It was already late afternoon and a tough cycle which we did almost in one go, as we just wanted to get there.
Once we arrived at Lake Togo, we rewarded ourselves with a corndog and highball and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere at the Chinese Garden ‘Enchoen’. Right after checking in to our guesthouse, we had our best dinner during the whole trip at an izakaya run by a quirky and welcoming chef. The two drunk Japanese men next to us were in a good mood and invited us to fried oysters and sake!
I can’t wait to tell you more about our bike trip! Next up: Detective Conan town, Yonago Castle ruins, staying on a lake island and more.