Big In Japan: 4 cities in 1 week
Ouf! It’s incredible how the time is just flying by…We just finished our 3rd week already… It’s incredible the things that we saw in that time.
For this week we ran and cycled 362km which means a total of 857km, we predict that we will reach 1000km in the beginning of next week. So, we got an average of more than 50km a day…Wow….I am impressed by my body that I able to cope here, I did not expect that at all 😉
We start the week with a really tough day, we experienced for the first time Japanese mountains….Ouf….In the beginning of this day we were just impressed and completely amazed by this stunning scenery. We were surrounded by the mountain and even now, we can not find the words to express how great was the landscape !
But, we still had to pass through this mountain with our bike, trailer and our selves. That was not easy at all….after a few kilometers we realized that the Japanese mountain were not jokes….It was not just a normal road with some elevation on it, it was really, REALLY, steep.
Running and cycling with a stroller that weights 70-75 pounds is not easy…And you have to keep in mind that the Japanese road and sidewalks are really tiny, so our trailer had some difficulty to pass there.
Surprisingly, there was a lot of traffic in that mountain road, the trucks and cars drove fast. We underestimated the road and though we would just walk it easily, fools. That’s without mentioning that we did not store on food or water because we didn’t expect such a challenge, so of course, in the middle of the mountains, there were no convenience stores….
So, at the middle of the day we ran out of water in one of the hottest days we experienced….But thankfully we still had some food that a generous Japanese person gave us the day before! We were so grateful.
In that moment, we had no other choice but to keep going. Of course, in the middle of our route, we discovered an awful tunnel of 4km. I think that was my worst 4 km ever….The side walk was so tight that we struggle to just put the stroller on it, but we had no others choices, we manage to simply continue. I think that the 4 km took us more than an hour and we had to be really careful because the car and the truck was driving so fast….Finally, we made it!
Thankfully after that we discovered a little sake shop that sold crisp, nuts and drinks, so we never been so happy to stop and buy some food! After that, we realized that we were running out of time, the sun was going down quickly, so we just ran as fast as we could to get out of this nightmare. But, we underestimate the mountain (yet again)….
After only 35km accomplished, the dark came, we realized quickly that even with head torched, we were not visible enough for the cars that were driving at crazy speeds. We decided to build our camp in the mountain, not such a bad spot because we were able to see the stars and weren’t disturbed! Fabulous location!
Kyoto, Nara and the Japanese route
This week was the week of some major cities stops, in the same week we saw Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. Running wise, we did a lot more than expected.
Even if we reviewed all our maps of our route before we had to adjust with the reality. We have to adjust our maps on a daily basis because we are always surprised with the actual routes…So we have to understand that a 45km can easily turn into 65km 😉
Our way to Kyoto took us more time that we expected, but we were so glad to make it! Kyoto is a Japanese treasure, temples, the spirit of the city and the people are once again amazing!
We decide to have a run-walk day, that was a great decision. We had a lovely run near the Kamo River, we saw the shrines in the mountains, walk in the city, it was nice day. After our stop in Kyoto we were on our way to Nara, we did a 62km under the rain…We were so glad to arrive. The day after we did a great walk in this awesome park, with the deers, the Japanese lanterns and we finally saw the Big Buddha!
Night run to Osaka
After Nara, we were on our way to Osaka. On the map that we had initially planned it was an easy 35km, there were no need to stress! So on the morning we took some time to walk in the Nara Park.
Stupid decision, I did not learn from my mistakes, again… On that particular route we had to pass through 2 mountains… I probably dreamt that a mountain would just be a small elevation, with some hills like a normal mountain road.
Of course, I was wrong. When we passed through the first mountain it was more like hiking through the smallest roads with cars….It was really an awful experience…I still can’t figure out how our stroller passed that mountain. Once again, we could not predict that kind of road and challenge with our gps or google map….So an easy 35km became a tough 65km!
After the first mountain we met Michelle, an extraordinary lady who lives in Japan who’s originally from America, such a lovely person!!! We chatted with her and we used the occasion to ask her some questions about the road that we had to take to go to Osaka. We did not want to have the same nightmare from the first mountain (because on the initial route we had another mountain to pass through), she told us that it will be really really difficult to get there, even not safe to go at night, because the mountain was more like a hiking mountain then a normal road.
After explaining our situation, she offered us to come with us at the police station and helped us translating. The police officer gave us an alternative route to go to Osaka, the route that the policemen gave us was the run around the mountain instead of running through the mountain.
It was quite a useful route, except our initial 35km transformed into a 65km…So we ran and kept going during night time. It was one of the safest route that we ran but we finished around 4am.
We were exhausted….Keep in mind that Japan is in my point of view one of the safest country that I never been in. We never ever felt insecure running and cycling through Japan. I truly believe that Japan is the best country to do my adventure. I know that I wouldn’t be able to run at night like we did in others country.
We had to eat to eat and to eat again. We feel like pigs! Japanese is the paradise of delicious food but in or day to day routine, the food are not that extraordinary…Our major food distributor is the convenience store 7/11, and now we know every brand and type of food that we can find there!
We usually eat cooked chicken breast, cook fish, Onigiris and crisps. In the evening we try to cook food as often as we can. When we find proper grocery stores it’s a party: fish- pastry- fruits….
After those 3 weeks, we felt the first signs of tiredness, we have no choice but to deal with it. On a daily basis we run between 8-11h, after we have to find a place to sleep and be sure that we have enough food. That routine makes us really busy and sometimes we think that our bodies do not have enough rest time to handle the physical pressure of the project, we just need to catch up with rest and sleep, I guess. Our bodies are fine, just tensions here and there but nothing major. We are really impressed of how strong our bodies can be! I think that we have to be sensitive, listen to our bodies and maintain the thin balance between push ahead and rest! Another great thing about Japan is that they have Onsens (hot springs) which have miraculous recovered propriety!
We decided to have some easy days in Osaka, just to give a chance to our bodies to have a little more rest. For the next weeks coming we will return to the coast and will most probably reach the 1000km early next week, we expect some great days of running!
Our next major cities will be Hiroshima- Nagasaki but we have a few km to do before that!
On and on we go!