Story & Photosshapeimage_13_link_0
Nuts & BoltsHokkaido_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlHokkaido_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlshapeimage_14_link_0

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  11  12  13  14 15  16  17  18  19  20


I'd arrived at the city of Hakodate, but gave it short shrift on this trip in order to maximize my time in places I hadn't yet been. Lake Onuma, on the coast north of the city, is actually three lakes joined together. It's normally pretty placid, but in the post-typhoon calm it was almost unsettlingly still. I stayed at the youth hostel at the lake. As in the rest of Japan, hostels are often located at extremely scenic places, and in some cases the food is surprisingly good - and that's a good thing, since the more scenic the place, the greater the chance that there will be nothing there but the hostel and thus no other place to get food. If there are better dining options, the hostel people will often say so quite candidly and recommend that you eat elsewhere. Once during a trip along Honshu's Japan Sea coast, I had some of the best unagi (eel) I've ever had in my life thanks to just such a recommendation.

One year in early August I crawled out from under a huge pile of work and wondered if I would be able to take a few days off to do some cycling. Twenty-four hours later I was on a tokkyu express train speeding up the Japan Sea coast of Honshu en route to Hokkaido. I’d done my route planning with a typhoon battering the walls of my apartment, but judging from the speed of the winds I figured it would roar up the archipelago pretty quickly. I was in luck; it did just that, and on the morning after my arrival on Hokkaido I found only clouds like this and gradually clearing skies.