Cycling along the bay from Kirishima to Kamikawa

Panniers attached, water bottles filled, I finally set off from the guesthouse onto the open road. It’s the first day of cycling and the conditions are almost ideal. A lot of clear sunshine and a cool breeze, I’m riding against the wind and uphill at times, but mostly just pedalling along flat coastal roads. The plan is to make it 75km from Hayato to the campsite in Kamikawa.

The views are great and it’s nice to be able to switch off a little – I just enjoy the cycling. Supposedly you can see dolphins in the right weather, but no such luck. With the bay on my right all the way, I see Sakurajima coming up ever closer as I wind around. If I had some more time, I would do a loop of the volcano, but having set off just before midday, I need to make it to the planned campsite before dark. Still, I feel I’ve enjoyed the view of the volcano plenty up to this point, with its caldera always smoking.

Coastal roads along the bay
Stopping at an abandoned shrine for a snack
Last view of Sakurajima before going south

Struggles on the southern stretch

Turning south, I continue cycling in the sunshine, stopping off at the occasional shrine or rest stop to have a drink and some convenience store snacks. There are some lovely views and places all along the coast, and I find I’m sharing the road with a lot of motorbikes and campervans. As it starts to grow dark in the late afternoon, and the hills become more numerous, I struggle to make it through the last 10km, losing energy. Perhaps I set myself too high a challenge on the first day? But luckily there’s a long descent towards the end, and I blaze through 5km in ten minutes or so.

A shrine on the beach
Resting up
Japanese energy snacks

Soon enough, I’ve arrived at the campsite with enough light to get set up. I meet an Aussie named Matt there, having just come from Cape Sata doing a similar route but in reverse. We grab a konbini dinner and he uses his bushcraft skills (apparently taught to every schoolkid in Australia) to make a beach bonfire from bamboo and logs. We have some beers and chat about all sorts, from bike issues to culture shock, before heading off to our tents. It’s a windy but dry night with the stars out, a decent one for camping.

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A Japan-enthusiast from the UK, with a particular interest in history and the language, as well as cycling, writing and rock climbing.

1 thought on “Cycling along the bay from Kirishima to Kamikawa

  1. Thank goodness you made the campsite. No needs to push yourself so hard, you have three months! Well done.

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