Monday, December 1, 2008

Home Away from Home

Our accomodations ranged from campgrounds, youth hostels, rider houses, to ryokans and minshukus. Campgrounds in Hokkaido are some of the nicest you will find anywhere. Rider houses are unique lodging geared toward motorcycle tourists. They are quite rustic and pretty basic, a poor man's youth hostel so to speak.

On the other hand, youth hostels in Japan are very nice, almost like hotels, some with private rooms but most with the typical group bedrooms. Ryokans are Japanese hotels and minshukus are similar to our bed and breakfast inns.

The following pics show some of the places we stayed on our 6 week bike tour.

Note: To view enlarged photos, mouse over picture and click

Our first rider house was a converted passenger train. The seats were
removed and we slept on the floor.

One night we stealth (free) camped on a baseball field

These two pics are a beautiful campground in Central Hokkaido
in the town of Naka Furano

Up in the mountains of Daisetsuzan National Park we stayed in wonderful
youth hostel which was more like a hotel. A rushing stream swept right in front of the hostel.

A beautiful alpine design to the youth hostel with many nice amenities

The dining hall in the youth hostel served great food at very reasonable prices

The view of Asahidake Mountain from the hostel's reading room.
We hiked to the top the next day.

A real funky rider house which was in the warehouse district.
Man in black shirt, 2nd from R, was the manager and a great guy

The funky kitchen and dining room in the warehouse rider house

The kitchen wall was plastered with photos of previous visitors

Open sleeping in a big room on the second floor of the warehouse

Jay with the manager of the rider house.
He is 80 years old and cycle toured over 80 countries.

A very nice campground in Northern Hokkadio.
The green structures contained picnic table and sinks.

On the spectacular coast of Rebun Island, was a well-known youth hostel where the staff entertained the visitors with songs and stories. It was a most amazing place in a stunning setting.

The front entry into the youth hostel which was quite old and oozed character

In the main room of the hostel with the open pit fire place and cast iron pot

The bunk beds on the second floor

Watching the glorious sunset

At sunset watch, the entertainers come out and perform for the guests

A group sing to the sunset. A most unusual experience.

The next morning, they sing to the departing guests.
Wow, where do you ever get this kind of treatment?

Our most funkiest lodging experience. All five of us squeezed into this tiny hut
sleeping cheek to jowl but heh, it was only 200 yen ($2).

Another view of the tiny hut next to the geodesic dome huts
which were much more expensive

One of the nicer rider houses in Northern Honshu

We met this hiker who used a shopping cart to haul all his gear
rather than a backpack. Pretty smart idea.

The guys eating Genghis Kan dinner outside in the cold

The owner of the rider house dons his bear costume when we are ready to depart.
A funny ritual.

This glass building is a very nice youth hostel with onsen and great restaurant.
A very upscale place.

At another cool cool country youth hostel, I'm relaxing in the lounge area.
Many nice amenities at this hostel too.

We met these two travelling pupeteers at the youth hostel.
You meet the most intriquing people at youth hostels.

She lived in the US and spoke English and told us a very interesting story about life as a travelling pupeteer. She and her partner performs primarily at elementary schools.

Herb relaxing at a comfortable minshuku (bed and breakast inn).
These are the best.

With the very nice owner of the minshuku. She gave us free breakfast and saw us off.

In Nagano, we stayed in a 130 year old ryokan. The exterior has been remodelled over the years but the inside was orginal.

With the two owners of the Shimizuya Ryokan. These two were the nicest people who went waaay beyond the call of duty to help us so many ways.

Our bedroom at the Simizuya Ryokan . . . very comfy

Inside the 130 year old ryokan are off-set floors and many
stairs leading every which way. A Winchester Mystery House of ryokans.
A very funky yet cool place.

1 comment:

dAwN said...

great pictures of places you stayed and slept...awesum..cant believe that one fellow is eighty years old...whats he eating and drinking..or is it the biking?
the mountains are beautiful..the singing to the sunset cool..the send off costume crazy...
great blog..
and because i love your blog...I give you an award...tee hee..
your gonna think this is silly but u are getting it anyway..
check out my blog