Mino to Shoukawa
Distance: 50 miles
Total Distance: 783 miles
Photo Album

IMG_3542 We had a very tough day of riding today, with lots of climbing and an incredible amount of rain at the end of the day. However, our new jackets kept us much drier, and we rode through some very beautiful scenery–up a river valley that gradually disappeared as we went over a tall pass and then descended down to the Shoukawa and Shirokawa rivers.


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View of the river valley north of Mino

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These guys were slightly faster than us

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Just south of Gujo-Hachiman

Partway through the day, we stopped in the small town of Gujo-Hachiman, where we watched a TV drama being filmed at the town’s tiny train station. Lots of scenes of well-dressed actresses standing on the platform looking serious and pensive, while Vicky and I sat on a bench in the background drinking CC Lemon. I’m fairly certain they changed a couple of shots so that we wouldn’t appear :(

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The station museum at Gujo-Hachiman

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A very dramatic moment: has Gujo-Hachiman disappointed her somehow?

When we discovered that I had a flat tire, we spent some time changing it, aided in no small part by a helpful octogenarian who was passing by. Despite not being able to understand a word he said, we somehow managed to have a conversation that involved a lot of laughing on his part. Vicky got a great picture of him trying to help pump up the tire, although I was afraid he was going to burst a blood vessel while straining so hard!

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Some advice on how to change a tire

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More advice on how to change a tire

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He wanted to make sure we got up to 85 psi

We had a tough decision towards the end of the day, when our intended destination did not work out well as a place to stay for the night. Minutes after riding on for another road station about 10 miles on, it began pouring–easily the hardest rain we have had so far! Within minutes, our hands and feet were soaked, but our bodies and heads were warm: at least the new jackets were working as well as advertised! We considered simply stopping on the side of the road just to pitch the tent and have something over our heads, but we decided it would be a little too miserable.

By the time we reached the road station in Shoukawa, the rain had eased off, and we were able to set up camp with little difficulty. We were very happy to find a bath house at the road station, since Vicky had not been to one yet. Needless to say, she loved the experience! For just a few dollars each, we were able to spend more than an hour cleaning up and soaking in a series of hot baths and saunas. When we finally emerged, we were both clean, dry, and much more relaxed. After a filling dinner of pasta and vegetables we slept well that night, looking forward to seeing the World Heritage villages of Shirakawago the next day.

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The expressway dominates the landscape through this area

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Vicky, hiding from the rain

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A temple just before we started climbing

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Words of wisdom on the window of a white water rafting outfitter. We agree!