Day 11: Imabari to Saijo via the hinterland

The rain had stopped. It was overcast and coolish, but the forecast looked ok.

We had a filling breakfast at the hotel. Our ride as today was not a long ride (68 km). It was the second consecutive shorter ride before our three final tougher days.

The northern section of Shikoku is quite populated and we could have had a much shorter ride to Saijo if we’d proceeded directly. Saijo was lining us up to head into Oboke Gorge tomorrow.

So to make more of the day we headed inland towards Matsuyama, up in the hills. the Towel Museum had a very striking billboard.

The clouds were hanging low over the surrounding mountains.

All around Shikoku roads, there have been signs like this one. Whilst this sign mentions an onsen, others might have a major JR (Japan Rail) station, or indicate a particular cycling route.

We started climbing. The first climb was about 5.5 km long, with 185 m ascent. It was a comfortable climb along a very green valley.

Plenty of rice fields and other crops.

The road was narrow, but there was minimal traffic being Sunday.

The top of the climb did not have a view due to the dense vegetation. As we descended we could see settlements.

Only 1 km into our second climb this large building appeared.

This is the famous Towel Museum. This region of Shikoku is Japan’s capital for towel manufacturing with in excess of 200 towel manufacturers.

We visited the cafe and shop, buying three small items to take home to my grandchildren. I am sure they would all prefer these giraffes though!

Back on the road we finished the climb and again descended. In places it looked like it was raining higher up in the mountains and hills.

We took a wrong turn and found this red crane.

Saijo is decent sized city of around 105,000 and we headed into the city around the water front where there are a series of small canals, with small homes and agricultural activities adjacent.

It was about 1.30 pm and we’d not eaten since breakfast. We found our favourite supermarket, Halows.

Today we took turns to go in and choose some food to eat. This was my choice. It was very nice, and cost about $11. Very cheap.

Our accomodation was a bit out of the city and we headed off turning left to follow this river.

Our Hammerhead computer map insisted we were at our destination, but none of the houses seemed to look like the one I’d booked. I walked up one driveway, but nope, not that one.

A vehicle pulled up and a man jumped out. I presumed he was from our accomodation, but no, he was a neighbour and had seen me wander up the driveway.

He walked us up the next driveway, we were only one house away!

It’s a great house, that we have to ourself. We have washed our clothes and it’s out drying.

Rear view of the house
Rear garden

This is Toshi, our knight in shining armour. He asked for a photo so we took one of him too. He’s a fascinating chap, speaking English amazingly well.

Transpires he is a retired University Professor, specialising in pharmacology and cancer interactions. Guess where we are having dinner tonight? Toshi’s! He is picking us up at 6-ish!

A random meeting but we are blown away that he would invite two strangers to his home.

So what was a fill in day, has become another highlight, just like that. This is one of the beautiful aspects of cycle touring. People are curious about what you are doing, and always supportive.

Toshi quoted Steve Jobs, Stay hungry, stay foolish. It is an interesting quote, and pertinent. Never be satisfied, push yourself (stay hungry). Keep trying things people say cannot be done (stay foolish).

I think we’re in for an interesting evening.

Thanks for reading, smile on 😊❣️

4 thoughts on “Day 11: Imabari to Saijo via the hinterland

  1. Sharon, I’m so enjoying your trip vicariously! I love your spirit of adventure and I’m sure this trip is special for many reasons, especially as your come-back tour post open-heart surgery. Just wanted to say, RideOn, from Seattle, WA, USA. You were one of the first and most impressive people I ever met on Zwift.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou for,your kind comment, and yes this trip is special….per the Steve Jobs quote really. I had some who said ‘you can’t do that type of trip anymore’…none were my cardiac team, so it’s like…’game on’. 😊❣️


  2. CR

    Was going to ask about prices. The locals sound super friendly. I had an interaction with a non English speaking aged Greek gentleman in the Peloponnese, filling the bottles. We signed as best we could and he let me hold his rather ancient walking type stick. Which I knew was a big deal. It still makes me smile, always will. Hope you had a fab evening. Smile on

    Liked by 1 person

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