Monday, 28 September 2009

Tsugawa to Kitakata

Well for a long time I had wanted to cycle route 459 from the village of Tsugawa on the Agano river to Kitakata the famous ramen noodle town in neighbouring Fukushima prefecture. I have often taken the Banetsu Monogatari steam train which runs parallel to route 459 and thought it would make a pleasant ride. So at 6am on the 27th of Sept I picked up Brian my cycling companion and loaded his bike into the back of my van and we drove up the valley along side the Agano river to the small village of Tsugawa. Upon arriving in Tsugawa a little after 7am we witnessed across the other side of the river a vast amount of cars , buses & people preparing for a day of rowing competitions as Tsugawa was hosting the rowing events for the national sports festival. After using the amenities at the brand new Tsugawa station we headed up the road on route 459. Not long after leaving Tsugawa we were faced with the first of many tunnels but at least these tunnels were rather short compared to the other tunnels we were to face later on. The first place we came to was the village of Kanose and to our surprise we found a local art gallery which really had to be seen to be believed, it certainly would not have looked out of place in the center of Tokyo but here ? , up in the mountains what were they thinking when they built this place. Not long after the crazy art gallery we had a chance to stop at a natural spring and take a drink - these spots are great for cyclists in search of fresh drinking water. Not long after that we came to the next village of Hideya where we stopped for a chat with a couple of locals.

Pictured above are the 1st series of photos that were taken along route 459

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