Tea Tour with Manseki and Gorm
Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

A couple of weeks ago I had a nice 130km (80 mi) ride with Manseki and Gorm, in an area to the south-east of Kyoto I'd never been. Here's the trip as seen at Strava:

Heading Out Early 8am along the Kamo River in Kyoto photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Out Early
8am along the Kamo River in Kyoto
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

Our exit from Kyoto was on the riverside path toward Osaka. We used my new egress route to avoid the bone-jarring mud and bumps of the riverside route in the southern part of the city, then continued on the riverside path that I first posted about here.

After crossing some big rivers, instead of heading southwest toward Osaka, though, we headed southeast toward Uji. It was my first time on this route.

Heading Toward Uji photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Toward Uji
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

We were suddenly in tea country...

Rows Of Tea Plants -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Rows Of Tea Plants
Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

In the background of the photo above you can see the Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋), a simple wooden bridge known for being swept away by rushing water fairly often. It just reopened this year after having been closed all of last year after it had been swept away the year before.

Walking Across Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流 れ橋) -- Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋) -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Walking Across
Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋)
Thick Wire Rope -- Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋) -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 43mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Thick Wire Rope

I'm not quite sure what the wire rope is for. The bridge gets swept away fairly often.... of late, it was swept away in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. After 2014 there was apparently some resistance to spending money to replace it yet again, so it took until this spring for it to be replaced. I was told that this time they used thicker wire ropes, but in looking how they're lightly attached, I'm not sure what they're for. I'd think they'd want them parallel to the force of the water, not perpendicular.

This is normally the kind of situation where I'd think well, someone must know what they're doing., but considering the bridge's recent track record, perhaps not.

Gorm and Manseki -- Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋) -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 31mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Gorm and Manseki

We eventually made our way back to civilization and stopped by a convenience store. They had a bike stand for road bikes, where you hook the seat over a bar. One doesn't see this at convenience stores often, so it's an indication of how many frequent this particular location.

Manseki Parks His Bicycle -- セブンイレブン -- Joyo, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Manseki Parks His Bicycle

Finally, 35km (22mi) in, we get to the start of the real ride, a 360m climb (1,170') though what seemed to be a jungle...

Finally Heading Up -- Tsuzuki-gun -- Tsuzuki-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally Heading Up
Raw, Natural, Overgrown felt like a jungle -- Tsuzuki-gun -- Tsuzuki-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Raw, Natural, Overgrown
felt like a jungle

Most mountain roads in this part of Japan pass through forests of farmed ceder trees. They seem rough and wild, but the trees are all ceder and are well spaced and exceedingly straight. They don't feel farmed in that it might be 20 or 40 years of human non-interaction between harvests, but once pointed out, the wildness and variety of an area like the one seen above is stark in comparison.

Another Kind of Cyclist -- Tsuzuki-gun -- Tsuzuki-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Another Kind of Cyclist

As I went past, I slowed a bit to chat. Never having ridden a recumbent bicycle, I'm left with the impression that it looks awkward and scary. He said it does take some getting used to, but one immediate benefit, he said, is that your butt doesn't hurt.

On that tangent, I usually don't wear real cycling pants because I don't like the bun pads they have. I think they look ridiculous but would use them if I felt they were needed, but I guess my rear is whatever-enough to not require them. I've done multiple 200+km rides without them and I'm fine. But you wouldn't believe the crap other cyclists give me because I don't conform to the diaper-pants norm.

Anyway, Gorm, Manseki, and I eventually made it to the top, where other cyclists were already resting.

Rest at the Top photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/60 sec, f/3.1, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Rest at the Top
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

Continuing down the other side, we soon came to our first nice view of the day...

Expansive View -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Expansive View
Three Musketeers photo kindly taken by a passing cyclist -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Three Musketeers
photo kindly taken by a passing cyclist
Beautiful, But Sadly Hazy -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 60mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Beautiful, But Sadly Hazy
Mini Tea Train -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 30mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mini Tea Train

The view spot was at the top of a mountainside tea field, and at the edge was a little monorail used to bring equipment up and down. I would have loved to ride in it. 🙂

The descent down the other side seemed ridiculously steep, and I was glad at the moment to have done it the longer, less steep way.

Quickly Down -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Quickly Down
Tea Even In The Switchbacks higher-quality tea plants are covered to protect from direct sunlight -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 40mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tea Even In The Switchbacks
higher-quality tea plants are covered to protect from direct sunlight
Small Tea Community -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 40mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Tea Community
Obvious Photo Op photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 27mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Obvious Photo Op
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
On the Move Again with tea fields tucked in everywhere around here -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
On the Move Again
with tea fields tucked in everywhere around here

Our route then took us up another climb to a plateau (sort of) where for the next 30km the road undulated up and down with many short (50-100m) climbs.

Little Rural Community -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Little Rural Community

The highest point for us was a little viewing area near where three prefectures come together (Kyoto, Shiga, and Mie).

Arrival photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Iga, Mie, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/800 sec, f/3.1, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Arrival
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

There was some drama in getting here, involving a bit of mis-communication and a wrong turn, and Manseki had mistakenly gone down the other side of the mountain past this point. He'd descended 100m of elevation before realizing his mistake when I asked him where he was (thank goodness we both had cell reception), and paid for the mistake by having to reclimb that 100m.

So we were all ready for a little break.

What a View -- Iga, Mie, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
What a View

Other than to cartographer geeks, I'd think that the point where three states meet would be fairly uninteresting, but the name of the area (三国, meaning three countries, or perhaps more properly in this case, three kingdoms) implies that it has a long history dating back to before Japan was a single unified country.

Considering the work it took us to get here on nicely-paved roads, I can't imagine what it must have been like 1,000 years ago, and why they wouldn't pick a more congenial location for inter-kingdom diplomacy.

As well as the highest point of the trip, it was the furthest, and we headed back north. We stopped in one of the small villages for drinks, which had a small traditional market that was the 50-years-ago version of a convenience store.

photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/800 sec, f/3.1, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
Rice-Farming Community -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Rice-Farming Community

The day's route was one that Manseki had done by himself recently, but for part of the return home I suggested some roads he wasn't familiar with, and it turned out that they were lovely.

Lovely Little CLimb -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Lovely Little CLimb
3:05pm - taken while moving at 15 kph (10 mph) -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
3:05pm - taken while moving at 15 kph (10 mph)

In particular, this descent was one of the most beautiful I've ever done. I've no photos because I was just enjoying it too much. It's a descent that one wants to savor and enjoy, so it's not a segment you want to PR on.

After working our way through Otsu and Yamashina and into Kyoto proper, I parted ways with Gorm and Manseki, to head to my corner of Kyoto. On the way I popped up to Shogunzuka, which I used to go to often to (try to) photograph the sunset....

Looking Out at Kyoto Shogunzuka Overlook (将軍塚) -- Shogunzuka Overlook (将軍塚) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Out at Kyoto
Shogunzuka Overlook (将軍塚)

One of my first posts from the area is Views of Kyoto From Shougun-zuka, nine years ago, but the list is long. You can get a sense for the variety of views on my photo-proximity search page.

This day the view didn't have anything special in store, with lots of haze and relatively flat light.

Shogunzuka Overlook (将軍塚) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 30mm — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

It's just as well, since I didn't have a real camera with me.

I felt great when I got home, but soon fell asleep in my La-Z-Boy, so I guess the ride took more out of me than I first realized.

All and all, a great ride with great people.


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

” I was told that this time they used thicker wire ropes, but in looking how they’re lightly attached, I’m not sure what they’re for.”

Handholds, for the people who happen to be on the bridge next time it’s swept down the river?

“but I guess my rear is whatever-enough to not require them”

Of *course* your butt doesn’t get sore. It’s protected by your helmet!

(I can’t believe there aren’t at least three other identical comments on here already!)

— comment by Marcina on July 5th, 2016 at 12:08pm JST (6 months, 15 days ago) comment permalink

What a great ride and photos–felt like I was riding along with you. Thanks as always.

Janet
Seattle

— comment by Janet Heineck on July 6th, 2016 at 4:36pm JST (6 months, 14 days ago) comment permalink

Funny, just today I saw a documentary about bridges in Japan (on NHK World), specifically explaining the idea behind the Nagare-bashi. You can find an explanation e.g. here as well: http://www.kiis.or.jp/kansaida/yawata/yawata03-e.html

— comment by Andreas Weber on August 26th, 2016 at 1:50am JST (4 months, 26 days ago) comment permalink
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