Last Day in Japan
April 23, 2014
We had a relaxing morning today, a nice bath, then a wonderful breakfast, then some time to catch up on emails, and for Scot to do a 22 mile warm-up ride, before lunch.
Alyssa was a little under the weather today, so she stayed back to rest, while Scot and Keely went out to a fun afternoon tea for lunch at a wonderful small home called “Portico,” for afternoon tea, set in an authentic Victorian-era setting.
The proprietor really loves this period of history, so she imported furniture, china, curtains and all of the accoutrements, to turn her home into a fantastic setting for afternoon tea. It was a wonderful way to spend two hours before we hopped on our bikes to do some hill climbing and forest riding in the Yamanka area.
Our last ride was a 25-mile ride, underneath snow white cherry blossoms, and along a meandering river, through a number of small towns and villages, with a stop after 18 miles at the Natadera Temple. We spent an hour walking around this lovely spot and really enjoyed it! It was originally built 1,280 years ago, and sits in the midst of exquisite ancient cedar trees, soaring rock outcroppings and beautiful manicured gardens. The pagoda, temple, and related shrines are beautiful and very peaceful to walk around and take photos. Truly a special place!
The reward of the temple tour came after a long, tough hill climb, and then a steep five-mile downhill section. Although that was (almost) the last steep section of the day, it is still a bit challenging to get back on the bikes after an hour of touring a peaceful temple/garden setting in order to ride the home stretch.
We arrived back at our phenomenal ryokan, Kayoutei, to a welcoming reception with Suzuki-san and the staff, ready to pour some fine French champagne to celebrate our successful bike journey.
What a fun way to culminate our biking experience here!
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