Niigata to Gatsugi
Distance: 53 miles
Total Distance: 1176 miles
Photo Album

IMG_4037 We woke up early after sleeping on the beach, feeling refreshed and looking forward to a nice day of riding. After packing up camp, we took our food down to the jetty below the dunes and ate near a group of early morning fishermen. We got a little lost getting back to the main road from our campsite, and then had to ride around another port area, so it was actually a little late by the time we truly got out of the Niigata area.

The scenery was very nice as we rode on, especially in comparison with the previous day. For the first couple of hours we rode parallel with the coast, surrounded by pine trees but still able to see the ocean from time to time. Unfortunately, there were a lot of trucks here and we did not have any kind of shoulder or bike lane, so we were forced to pull over often to let traffic pass. Finally, a path opened up on the right side of the road and we rode much easier after that.

There were not many buildings in this area, so we were quite surprised when we rounded a corner and found a huge concrete statue–at least seven or eight stories tall–towering over a walled garden and onsen! We couldn’t figure out what the meaning of the statue was, or who it was supposed to represent, but enjoyed taking pictures all the same.

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Random huge statue, temple and onsen on an otherwise deserted road.

We stopped for lunch on the outskirts of Murakami, and then spent a pleasant hour riding through the town. There, the road pitched up sharply for a mile or so, and then dropped down around a corner to reveal a long stretch of beautiful coastline. We had a wonderful afternoon riding through this region: a nice flat road along wide sandy beaches and gentle waves, passing through a few small towns but generally on our own except for a few other tourists. The coastline was composed of the first white-sand beaches we had seen so far, alternating with amazing rock formations and caves.

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An amazing display of fish at a grocery store where we stopped for lunch. If only we had a kitchen!

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Beautiful, rocky coast with a view of the mountains.

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Aaaaah...

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Cruisin'

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Lots of caves everywhere

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We couldn't get over how beautiful this coast was

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Short tunnels with bike lanes - we like these!

We rode all afternoon and finally stopped at a closed campground (actually an old parking lot) on the beach at Gatsugi. There weren’t any facilities, but we chose a patch of sand, set up the tent and once again had dinner while watching the sunset.

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Watching the sunset from our parking lot campground

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Good night.