tobitabi トビ旅

just another travel blog

Lake Biwa via Yodo River


Destinations: Yodo River, Uji, Lake Biwa
Distance traveled: 150 km

My second and so far longest bicycle trip took me to Lake Biwa and back to Osaka again. As often the case I tend to be a bit too optimistic, having planned to do 150 km with quite ease and time for some sightseeing withouth feeling stressed about getting home before dark. Well, theory and practice did not meet and as the sun set I had about three hours back to Osaka :/ I’m also, as a result, revising my 41.000 km around-the-world plan a bit, from an about 260 days trip, to a one year journey.

At 8 AM I left my apartment and headed for Yodo River. As always I got a lot of energy by the mere scenery it provides, and with some favorite music in the earphones the first couple of hours went really smooth. I reached the point where Kizu River and Katsura River merge with Yodo River. On my previous trip I followed Kizu River, but this time I continued along Yodo River, which further upstream is called Uji River, and before reaching Lake Biwa, Seta River.

It turned out that the Yodo River would get a lot more spectacular than I could never imagine, despite having followed it closely on google maps. Steep mountain sides and several suspention bridges and temples along the way made me want to stop every second minute for a picture.

After four hours I arrived at the city Uji and had my brought lunch on an small island in the Uji River, connected to the main land by a couple of bridges. From Uji it wasn’t far to the Amagase Dam that control the flood of the Uji River but also serves as a hydroelectric power station. It was the first dam I had ever seen, it was cool :)

From here to Lake Biwa there was no bicycle path available and unfortunately a lot of trucks came down this road as well. However, this place felt like a mini Grand Canyon of Japan and it was well worth the traffic, choosing this road. Finally, Seta River slowly started to broaden and at some point here, i guess, becoming Lake Biwa. I went along the east coast and crossed the Lake on the Omi Ohashi bridge.

A curvy and steep mountain road became my rout back to the Amagase Dam. I litteraly climbed some mountains, and even had to get of the bicycle and walk from time to time when my leg muscles couldn’t take it anymore. Here, at the peak of this mountain road I found a nice spot where I could sit down and eat. When getting back on the saddle it was about 5 p.m. and only one hour till it was dark. I wanted to reach Amagase Dam and Uji before the sun set, because then I would basically have a bicycle path to follow all the way to Osaka, and I felt it would be kind of creepy bicycling in the mountains in the middle of the dark. I stod on the brakes all the way down to the Dam, and by now it was dark. Even though I could only think about getting home at this point, I had about three hours to Osaka, but as I continued on the bicycle path with music in my ears the dark didn’t bother me at all as I happily paddled back to Osaka.

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