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.
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.
Like this abandoned railway line and station.
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.
I took a few detours through little villages before getting to the lake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The lake is a haven for birdlife if you are a twitcher. Check out this website for a list of birds you might see.
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.