We thought today wasn’t going to be so great but it actually turned out quite nicely. It was cold, grey and raining when we left Teshikaga but the rain eased quite quickly and by the time we finished, the roads were almost dry.

If you ever visit Teshikaga, I can highly recommend the Hatoya minshuku. It’s pretty cheap anyway for a place that has its own onsen bath but the very kind owners still gave us a discount in addition to making up some nice snacks for us to eat, letting us do our laundry for free and being generally very considerate. It was a shame to leave but we have to keep moving.

Today’s ride was about 70km and after about 10 or 15km, we got off the main road and onto the quiet and scenic country roads that would take us the rest of the way. After about 40km, Kazuko and I detoured to a lookout point that she had been told about by a friend. but to get there, we had a nice challenging climb – 10-15 per cent gradient for a bout a kilometre. While we were there, we got a text from Damian saying he was having some trouble with his bike’s lowest gear, so I thought it just as well not to trouble him with an extra climb.

After looking out, we cruised in to our destination, Shibetsu, stopping at the local salmon farm for lunch. We had a rice bowl topped with fresh salmon and salmon roe. In Japanese, this is called oyako. Oyako-don is usually chicken and egg on rice. It was very tasty but my cousin Alastair tells me Kazuko’s tweet translated as this:

Nothing wrong with a bit of parent and child death for the sake of a good feed.

We’ve ended up in quite a nice onsen business hotel with internet (yay!) and of course a hot spring bath. There’s an outdoor bath as well, which is quite restful. Kazuko and I went for a walk and were able to see Russia across the water and the mountains of Shiretoko national park to the north, where we are heading tomorrow.

Look - there's Russia.

There's a little bit of Russia in this one, too.

And here's a northern fox. Another symbol of Hokkaido.

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