Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day -1B: Haneda to Izumi

Izumi is one of Kagoshima Prefecture’s–and Japan’s, for that matter–little gems.

This little town in the heart of what was the Choshu domain that would usher Japan into the modern world from the latter half of the 19th century now markets itself largely around the tens of thousands of cranes that migrate there during the colder months.

But Izumi also has plenty of history, including a district of samurai houses, and wonderful natural surrounds.

Enough of the tourist stuff, though, because Izumi is the start of the Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto run by the indefatigable Japan Biking and Pedal Pedal Bicycle Tours.

Kangaeroo has worked the tour before and never really made it quickly from Kagoshima Airport to Izumi, a journey of about 60 km mostly over a mountain range.

Checking out the distance and time and comparing them with past trips, it seemed the same would be likely again. But Brommie was quickly unpacked, luggage repositioned to place weight on the front of the bike instead of the rear, and we were off.

The ride is a gorgeous one, mostly along National Routes 504 and 328. It starts with undulations among paddy fields ready for harvesting, then moves into the mountains.

Kanageroo arrived safely, losing only a bottle cage screw and camera battery failing. An overly hot onsen bath almost proved disastrous until Coke saved the day.

Brommie performed superbly despite not being made for the mountains (like the sexagenarian riding him). The trip ended with a glorious descent and the day was completed by dropping into the futon like a rock.

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