The Kanto Region
The Kanto Region includes the cities of Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kawasaki, where we live. For this reason, all of our short-range touring is in this area. Luckily, There are several choice touring spots in easy distaｎce of the bustling capital.
The Izu Peninsula
2000.6.6 Golden Week trip to Izu.
The Izu peninsula is a popular vacation spot with several famous onsen and features the spectacular Izu Skyline toll road that runs down the middle of the peninsula with views of Mt. Fuji and the Pacific Ocean.
Shuzenji Onsen is a resort town so old that it was frequented by the Tokugawa Shoguns. The Tokko-no-yu bath is carved out of a boulder in the middle of the river at the source of the spring. Not terribly private, but very hot and relaxing.
Kurone Iwaburo at Hokkawa Onsen is built in the rocks on the shore of the Pacific.
Painted on one of the rocks in the bath is the unlikely catch copy "the bath you soak in while looking at America." Our eyesight isn't quite that good, but the sound of the waves crashing around as you relax in the hot bath is quite soothing.
On the other side of Tokyo is Chiba's Boso peninsula. This has some amazing riding such as the Boso Skyline and some great beaches.
Boso is also the site of one of Kanto's only rider houses, Papasunchi, owned by veteran rider Papa-san. It is being built by the voluntary efforts of a bunch of Kanto area riders.
The Five Lakes of Fuji
Mt. Fuji is ringed by five major lakes, Yamanaka-ko, Kawaguchi-ko, Saiko, Motosu-ko, and Shojin-ko. There are several good campgrounds in the area, our favorite being the Saiko Lakeside campground, which has a good take-out curry shop within walking distance.
Something we often discover when we get home and develop our pictures is that while Fuji is often clearly visible and always breathtaking, it rarely shows up in pictures.
Nikko is historically important for many famous temples and shrines, including Toshogu, which commemorates the first Tokugawa Shogun, Ieyasu, but the beauty of the surrounding mountains, especially the famous Kegon no Taki Waterfall and Iroha slope, famous for flamboyant autumn colors, makes it a worthwhile destination even if history leaves you cold.
Lake Chuzenji has a great campground.
Kawaji onsen is not only is mixed bathing, but is also in full view from across the river.
(Not that this stopped us. In fact, we recommend the place.)
Sado Island doesn't really belong in this section, since it's located in the Japan Sea, but we didn't want to leave it out as it is exquisite. Accessible by ferry from Niigata, this island has a dramatic landscape and a laid-back populace, most of whom live in quiet fishing villages. The sushi is fresh and delicious.
The cherry trees bloom late in Sado, so we had the pleasure of riding through windblown cherry petals during our Golden Week trip.