While the crowds take the bullet train to Kyoto to see the autumn colors, I've got other plans.
But first this pond in Ikegami, where Nichiren delivered his final sermon. Pretty rad to some people; completely meaningless to others.
Anyways, Ibaraki is a couple hundred km north of Tokyo. My touring map doesn't recommend much in the area; an idea that my friends who live there expanded upon. The general consensus is that you should head north or west for really great motorcycle roads.
But just riding around randomly yielded some cool things.
Like this little temple up an inconspicuous hill on some tiny road. We wouldn't have had any idea if we hadn't have stopped to take some pictures of red leaves.
Seriously, this awesome little temple was full of beautiful relics. The place was totally unmanned and nowhere near any city. Why hasn't anyone jacked this stuff? By the way, please don't. Japan is good like that.
It was worth getting stuck in some mud for this shot.
A part of every inaka visit for me involves 3 things. Good food, good onsen, and good touring. The food was part of my Ramen Adventures. The touring you've had a look at. How about the onsen? On the way back to my buddy's place, the touring map noted a few hot springs to jump in. The one with the largest font is usually the best one. Logical, right? So we drove some crazy route (for some reason my GPS took us through a rice field) to get to Yagawa no yu. When we got there, the dude was like, "Why are you 2 giant foreigners here? You want to take a bath?" It was less of an onsen and more of some family's home. And not in any sort of rustic-wilderness-culture sort of way. They led us in to a bath that might have fit 1 tiny Japanese man, but there was no way 2 massive white dudes were getting in. We got out before we got in.
Later, a Japanese friend showed me the character for hemorrhoid (痔) in the description. So our dumb asses drove to the middle of nowhere for some sort of medicinal hot spring for people with anal problems. Great. I recommended a bran muffin instead.
Coming back we got all kinds of lost. At one point we were on what seemed to be the muddy construction of a future 8 lane expressway. It was whack, but worth it to see the look on the construction crew's faces.
The next day we went here.
That's more like it!
And a good onsen.
Rock on Ibaraki, I'll see you soon (from the expressway as I drive north!)