I'm not a big surfer, but I've never heard of Japan being a great surf spot. I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise that there is surfing here in Shikoku with all the tsunamis and typhoons that hit the south-eastern shore of the island.
A surfer crosses the highway to get from the town to the beach
Surfers enjoy themselves on the rivermouth swells, in front of a wall of concrete tetrapods
At first I thought these concrete blocks were a form of tsunami countermeasures, but then I read that these giant tiddlywink-shaped concrete blocks are called "Tetrapods". They're piled up on the beach to prevent erosion of the sand by the pounding waves. It's a very artificial design, not found in nature, its special shape forces the water to flow around them, dissipating the wave impact and preserving the sands beneath them from washing out into the ocean.
The south-east coast of Shikoku has a unique geography and climate contributing to excellent surf conditions. Because of the abundant rainfall, rivers from the mountains in the middle of the island create sandbanks on the shore when they spill out into the sea. Then during typhoon season, the huge waves break on these sandbanks creating what's known as "rivermouth swells".
Typhoon season is normally July-November, which makes it the best time for surfing. It's still too early for the good swells, these must be all the locals in the area that surf year-round.
Parked beneath a statue of Kukai, the Buddhist monk at the center of the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage.
Beneath the statue is a temple where they train new priests.
By the time we've reached the tip of Cape Muroto, it's well past lunchtime. There's a visitor centre off the road and when we peer inside, we find a cafeteria with a marvelous view of the coastline. Score!
We're lucky they are still serving food this late in the afternoon.
We order the classic chicken donkatsu (breaded chicken with curry and rice). So Japanese!!!
The sun comes out while we eat lunch. The rocky shore is too enticing for Neda to pass up. After lunch, she drags me out for a hike
So windy at the tip of the Cape! Large waves slam into the rocks around us
We love the isolation of Shikoku! What a peaceful, laid back island, especially when compared to Honshu. Pilgrims hiking along the side of the road, surf bums out on the beach, virtually no traffic on the road... perfect!
After our long day on Cape Muroto, we spent the night in an AirBnB in the town of Kitatakamicho, about half-way through Shikoku island.
Once again, our bikes have a roof over their heads. Back on the road westwards, we see a cavalcade of sidecars!
The weather is getting warmer. Perhaps it's a combination of us heading further south or the spring season coming into full swing, but we're seeing more motorcycles on the road now. We all wave to each other enthusiastically, happy that we're all able to enjoy being back on two again.
Continuing westbound, skirting the southern shores of Shikoku
After a couple of hours, we end up at the port town of Yawatahama. It's ferry time once again!
Shikoku is the smallest of the four Japanese islands, we were able to traverse it comfortably in a day and a half, mainly because of No Traffic! So nice. Now we're hopping over to the next island: Kyushu! Island hopping is fun!
Oooh, this ferry is fancy, they have wheel chocks for our motorcycles! Neda assumes the Japanese rest position for the two hour crossing
The ferry spits us out in the city of Beppu, and we are starving! So before checking into our hotel, we ride around town until we find our favorite food. It doesn't take us very long to find...
Sushi! Seems we are off the Gaijin Trail once again, because: no English. Also, everything is automated
so Neda has to use Google Translate to decipher the menu.
There are some languages that Google Translate does well with. Japanese and other Asian languages are a terrible fail. The poor Translation Apps only serve to confuse you even more. At least some of the translations are entertaining... Thankfully the tablet-driven menu has pictures, so we are at least able to select what we want to eat. Confirming the order and paying are a different matter entirely, and we throw the whole automation system out of whack by having to call someone over to help us with the buttons on the tablet.
Unfortunately, this sushi was not the best we've had in the country. I didn't know you could order bad sushi in Japan... Oh well.