Ninohe to Hiranai
Distance: 68 miles
Total Distance: 1496 miles
Photo Album

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We woke up very early in the park at Ninohe, and quickly packed up our camp–the sun comes up early here, and that generally means a lot of senior citizens doing exercises around our tent when we camp in a park. After getting everything put away, we cleaned up at the park bathroom and then chatted for a few minutes with a couple of people out jogging.


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Remains of castle walls in the park in Ninohe

The ride out of town was very nice as the streets were empty at this hour, and we again enjoyed the interesting buildings lining the river as we crossed back to rejoin Route 4 again. After a quick breakfast at a convenience store, we set out on the road. Our goal for the day was to get within 20 miles of Aomori so that we would have an easy ride into town to catch the ferry the next day. Of course, this meant that we had a lot of distance to cover today!

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View while biking out of Ninohe

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A small temple dug into the riverbank in Ninohe

The first hour saw a mix of climbs and descents as we worked our way through the *nohe cities: Sannohe, Gonohe, and so on. We stopped for a quick snack and hot drinks at a road station in Gonohe and I saw a poster in the bathroom advertising a “Road Station Stamp Rally”–every participating road station has a unique rubber stamp that you can use in your journal. After seeing this it has become my mission to collect as many as possible, even though we have missed a lot already!

As we kept riding through the rest of the morning we gradually descended down into a flatter valley region. After stopping for lunch, we hit a long section of rolling hills that really began to tire out our legs: uphill for a kilometer and then down again, only to do it all over again. Just as we were really beginning to feel worn out, we had one last longer climb and then dropped the rest of the way down to the coast in the small fishing town of Noheji. From there, we turned along the coast and followed it north and west in a big curve that would take us to Aomori the next morning.

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Vegetables for sale in a road station; the pictures show the farmer that grew each product

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Statue outside a store that sells funerary and temple sculptures

Another 20 kilometers or so took us to the town of Hiranai, where we intended to stay for the night. Our campground was in a beautiful city park that covered most of the base of a small mountain just southeast of the city. In addition to a cactus garden, koi ponds, aspen groves, a ski lift, and tennis courts, the park also had an amazing campground at the base of the mountain (no climbing!) with a nice view of the surrounding area.

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Koi pond and flowers in the Hiranai city park

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Our campsite in Hiranai--the building in the background even had showers and laundry!

After a nice dinner of hot ramen and sushi, we crawled into bed and soon fell asleep–we were completely worn out by our longest day of riding so far, and we still had a little bit more to do in order to catch the ferry to Hakodate.