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June 10, 1999

Finishing the last check on the load, now let's set out . This is my first touring by motorbike. The destination is Hokkaido, Which is the most northern island in Japan. I am very excited and at the same time I am very afraid that I can manage it successfully (unfortunately this anxiety realized later ..... ). I am a beginner rider, who took a driving licence for motorbike just one month ago. What shall I do to the machine trouble? Can I run the motorbike on the difficult dirt roads in safety? It might be better to go on a tour after some more experience, but I couldn't hold down my exciting mind.
Starting from home in Kyoto in the evening, through the deserted road in the forest, arrive the ferry terminal in Tsuruga, Fukui Pref., at 22:00. After the check in, go into the ferry. I feel easy to find the second-class room, which I have booked, rather clean. I have to stay here for 21 hours from now on.

A canal of Otaru

June 11, 1999

I liked traveling abroad originally. Actually, I went on a tour for Australia and Thailand in last spring. I got very much impressed by Aussie terrific nature and then I came back. But one day just after heading back to Japan, I had a chance to take a friend of mine to some sightseeing spots in Kyoto. And I felt it was also wonderful. I was able to see the cultural structures or nature in Kyoto with more fresh eyes than those before the travel round Australia. "Japan is no less great to see than other countries" I felt happy and I decided I would travel and see Japan again. And the first place is Hokkaido.
The fare from Tsuruga to Otaru is 14,240 yen (7,420 yen/person, 6,820 yen /motorbike) one way. Much cheaper than by air or train. It get to Otaru at 20:30, on time.

It's a little bit cool outside. Of course this is Hokkaido. Head for "Pon-Pon Sen" directly. This accommodation, categorized as "Toho-Yado" , is an old Japanese inn with shared rooms of Tatami mats (3,000 yen/ person w/o meal ). The owner, named Mr. Matsuoka, is a friendly young gentleman. He sang some songs which were composed by himself for the guests with the piano. And after that we enjoy "The Traveler Game". That is a sort of card games and he originated it. He holds a patent on it.

June 12, 1999

It's morning. I have to get up. But it is very hard because of staying up late last night. When I got up, the sun was high in the sky. Looking over the blue sky from the top of the roof, I feel that I am really in Hokkaido. Very happy. After buying and sending some sea fish (salmons, crabs etc. ....) to my family and friends in the morning market in Otaru, I head for the north. Here comes my northern touring! Today I am to run for about 200 km. Through Ishikari and Ofuyu, today's destination is Haboro. The Ororon Line runs straight to the north and beautiful Japan sea is on the left. The wind makes me refreshing. Excellent!
It was in the evening that I got to a Toho-Yado, named "Kiri-Kiri" This hostel is famous for the big and delicious dinner. The owner Mr. Sakamoto, who was also a traveller and has settled in Hokkaido, gave me some advice about touring around Hokkaido. He also took me and another tourist to see the beautiful sunset. The perfectly red sun is going down under the horizon.

Coastline of Rumoi

June 13, 1999

Go to 2 small islands named Yakishiri and Teuri with Mr. Konishi, another guest of "Kiri-Kiri". They are 1.5 hours west of Haboro by ferry. We decided to visit there without motorbike and leave them in Kiri-Kiri. The first is Yakishiri. We enjoyed 6 hour walking in the primeval forest. Then we jumped on the ferry again and headed for Teuri island. Lots of tourists visit here to watch sea birds in this season. We walked 12 km round the island. It was quite hard to walk up and down the winding road.
We stayed in a Japanese traditional inn called "Minshuku". It looks like B&B, but most minshuku serve dinner. The name of the minshuku we stayed is "Kodama" (5,000 yen /person with 2 meals). After dinner, the manager of Kodama drove us to the famous spot to watch Utoh, a curious kind of sea birds. We can see millions of Utoh with some fish in their beaks heading back to the nests for feeding their babies. And what is more interesting is that sea gulls try to rob Utohs' fish and battles break out everywhere around the nest. It is really exciting.

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