Monthly Archives: November 2014

Lake Hinuma

Today was a lovely day so I decided to drive to another lake and try to cycle around it. I looked at the map and saw a good place to park.


When I arrived I found the place was a practically deserted nature park. The trees where I live and in Tokyo are just starting to turn, but this place is further north and the trees were stunning. I left the bike in my car and wandered around.

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Look, told you it was deserted. But the carpark is huge so I think it must get really busy sometimes.

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Looking at the map there are hydrangers, cherry trees etc. So it doesn’t matter when you come there is something to see, but this is autumn.

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Stunning colours, a few people were taking pictures, but it wasn’t overwhelmed by people.

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This is the dragon fly bridge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This spider is very common in Japan, be careful if you walk off the path as there are webs everywhere.

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I didn’t stay in the park long as I had looked at the map and knew that there was not a path all the way around the lake. I expected to have to take detours and didn’t know how long it would take.

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Compared to the lake I cycled around last week this one seemed much more “natural” as far as things can be natural in Japan. As you can see in the picture above many of the paths were rough to say the least. A cross bike or mountain bike is needed, do not attempt this with a road bike. The sides of the lake were still covered by concrete in most sections, but there were incidents of a sandy shore.

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There were many more birds here too, cormorants, swans, herons..and I swear I saw a stork…or it might have been an ergret on steroids.

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The lake is used for many things. The day I was there I saw fishing, wind surfers, fishing, boating, camping, fishing..there were many fishermen. The north side of the lake did have some long sections of cycle paths, but the south side had none, and for some of the route you had to move away from the lake entirely.

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A relaxing fisherman, being respectful of others…unlike the fishermen below who completely blocked the path and forced any one else off the path. I was looking at the birds at the time and almost ran into the rods, kind of wish I had.

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Following Google Maps can be interesting at times. How it knew this temporary bridge was here I don’t know..who adds that to the map?

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There were many ginko trees around the lake too. I love the colour yellow.

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The route I took seemed to be about 28km, not so long. After I finished a friend who lived nearby invited me for lunch which was just the thing I need as I didn’t snack or eat all the way round.

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Kasumigaura Bay

Today I went on a 40km cycle around the top section of Kasumigaura Lake, the bay part. The main lake is 97km around and I didn’t feel up to that today.

Here a the map of the area, zoom out to see the whole lake.


It was a lovely winter day, blue skies, not too cold or hot.

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I drove there and left my car in an evacuation area and park. There was nobody there and it looked a little sad, but then I noticed all the trees were of the cherry variety. So I guess it looks stunning during cherry blossom season. I will go and see. Parking here did mean I had a little jaunt before getting to the bayside. That meant I could check out a couple of distractions.

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Like this abandoned railway line and station.

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I did walk over the little bridge-thingy, and my legs shook the first time. If it was a line on the floor it would not have been a problem, but my fear of heights kept putting images in my head of me falling the barely 3 meters down. The second and third time were better, I almost skipped across. BUT the first time took forever for me to get moving, plus there were some annoying inner voices calling me a wimp.

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I took a few detours through little villages before getting to the lake.

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I don’t know if you can see the black dot near the tree. That is a jet. This area is fairly close to Ibaraki airport and today was a jet day, three of them noisily took off and flew around. From that point it was on to the lake proper. It was a stunning view, you could see Mt.Tsukuba in the distance.

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I was cycling clockwise around the bay area. I tend to always walk or cycle clockwise around ponds or lakes, I am not sure why. It just ‘feels’ wrong to go anti.

Anyway here is a little information about the lake. It is the second largest lake in Japan for starters. There is a marathon held there every April, so be aware of that when planning your trip. One of the attractions of Lake Kasumigaura are the sail boats known as hobiki-sen. I didn’t see any sails, but I did see many fishermen and a couple of boats. I also saw some tourist going for a ride or sail.

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After the big bridge to the other side of the lake I took another detour to Fujimizuka Burial Mound Park, which you can see on the map below.

These mounds are thought to have been created around the beginning of the 6th century.  They are some of the largest in the country at 78 meters.

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Again there was nobody here, I didn’t play as they are burial mounds. I did go up the steps to the top. On a day like today you can see quite far. This is also a good place to leave a car as there is an information center and carpark.

You can find the mounds here:

Back to the lake. People use the lake for many reasons; commercial and recreational. On the day I was there a few paragliders were buzzing around.

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As you can see from the picture below, the path around the lake is flat and smooth. Perfect for cycling on. There were only a few other cyclists and walkers using it, which made for an enjoyable day. As a point of note, on the 40km journey around the lake I didn’t see any convenience stores. So no water or bathrooms. There were both of these things where I parked my car and at the burial mounds.

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The lake is a haven for birdlife if you are a twitcher. Check out this website for a list of birds you might see.

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I saw a few great-crested grebes on my cycle, one of my favourites as a child…yes, I am that sad.

And that was my day. I will do the main part of the lake on another day. If you need a map or gps file for that, here is a very handy website. As you can see the route plotted did not go around the part I did today. That is why I did it. So next time – the other, bigger part following this map.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Kasumigaura

https://www.kasumigaura-marathon.jp/english/index.html

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/tv/journeys/archives20130925.html

http://www.kasumigaura-kankou.jp/page/page000062.html

http://www.cs.le.ac.uk/people/fdv1/BIRDS/kasumigaura.html

http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=941836