Biking Trip to Naruto – Day 2

After a superbly refreshing and absolutely necessary night’s sleep, I woke to find that the sun had already risen and yet, was not later than 6:15 am. After trying and failing to fall back asleep again for another 15 minutes, I gave up on that endeavor and got out of bed, at the same time conceding that this was for the best. Knowing that there was a long day of more exploration ahead of me, getting an early start would give me a much need edge. I dressed and then prepared another cup of tea for myself before packing my belongings back into my pack. However, soon enough, my tea was gone and my bag was packed, so I went downstairs to meet with the owner to check-out.

I was surprised to find that the owner had not yet woken up, so I meandered around briefly before he finally poked his head out into the lobby. Once we had settled and he had given me a small gift (a 9×11 sized calender for Sep & Oct with a picture he’d taken of me on the top), I took my leave and headed northeast, bound for the bridge I had continuously seen in the distance the previous day.

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My destination was Naruto Park (which is what the above sign reads), located at the tip of island where the Naruto Ohashi connects to Awajishima, and where, twice per day, the naturally occurring tidal whirlpools form. But first, I enjoyed a nice ride along the beach… (see map here)

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As I continued onward, the bridge got larger and larger on the horizon, and soon I was within the boundaries of Naruto Park.

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Compared to its counterpart on the other side of Awajishima, which is the largest suspension bridge in the world, the Naruto Ohashi only ranks in at 34th longest. However, it is still a fantastic sight!

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After a little bit more biking and climbing, I arrived at the top of a small peak overlooking the bridge…

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At a convenience store that I had stopped previously for a quick bite to eat, I asked the store clerk about when the best viewing times for the whirlpools were that day. She quickly disappeared and came back carrying a pamphlet which contained all the optimum viewing times for this month. Today’s time said 9:10 for the morning tide’s peak viewing time. Despite the above pictures being taken at around 8:10, the tidal current was still easily viewable. My next stop was the whirlpool viewing location. To get the best view, there are two options: one being a ferry that takes you right up next to the whirlpools, and the other being from directly above (approx. 45 m or 150 ft) via a walkway below the bridge equipped with windows to see through the floor. I chose the latter, assuming that this method was less time consuming and, more importantly, less expensive.

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I arrived about 45 minutes before the estimated peak viewing time and secured a location by a window, but not before walking around a bit.

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Once 9:10 had come and gone without an incredibly discernible difference in intensity and frequency, I took my leave, eager to go find a proper meal before beginning my long journey home.

After eating some curry rice and enjoying the view and breeze from my window seat in the restaurant, I took one last look before flying back down the hill, up which I had so tediously climbed before.

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Since going back the way I came would not only be boring, but going backwards as well, I chose the northern Route 182 in order to make my way back to Route 11, my homeward bound highway. Unbeknownst to me however, the route I had chosen was in fact, a mountain road! Despite the agonizingly slow and painful climb, this part of the trip turned out to be the most fun and most rewarding part of my journey. The distance from the bridge to Route 11 was only 11 km (~7 mi), but the traverse took me about 40 minutes, about 30 minutes up and 10 minutes down! Not at all surprisingly, I didn’t have to share the road with any other cyclists. The only other occupants that I came across were numerous sport bikes, sport cars, and the occasional family-fill hybrid, many of whom gave me the most bewildered and shocked stares as they passed me. Here is a shot from the top where you can see the bridge I was at previously off in the distance…

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It was all downhill from here, literally…

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It only took about 90 exhilarating seconds to make it from the bridge in the top left of the photo above to where it was taken… The hairpin on the right was quite fun! For this downhill I’d be willing to return every weekend if I could.

After this it was all familiar once again. Nothing but the slowly decreasing number on the signs indicating home…

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Needless to say, the return journey was a lot less interesting and a lot more difficult than the time before. Not only did this journey have a mountain-climb preceding it, but also the previous day’s distance as well. My motivation to be home was my driving factor and after about 3 hours since leaving the mountain road behind, my backyard mountain finally came into sight…

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…and I knew I was home!

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2 thoughts on “Biking Trip to Naruto – Day 2

  1. Pingback: From Kagawa to Kochi, and everything in between! part 2 | Dan In Japan

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