The Southern Shore
The other day I took a trip on my new motorcycle. It's a 2011 Honda CBR250R. The destination was Chiba. I'd been to Chiba before, but after reading Ramen Adventures and then calculating the weather and mileage — warm even in winter and not too far away — I decided to make the trip again. This time, my goals were to visit Mount Nokogiri and to make it down to the southern tip of Chiba, Cape Nojima.
This was my first trip on the bike. The starting odometer read
4222 km. The bike has a 249.5 cc engine. Honda introduced in 2011 — I have a first-year model — and it was designed to compete with the Kawasaki Ninja, which has been around for quite a while. The style is a relatively minimalistic sports bike. It has good acceleration, weighs little, corners well, and is small enough so I can put both feet down when stopped at an intersection. The CBR250R's gas mileage is nice: 57 miles per U.S. gallon, according to Wikipedia. The top speed is just shy of 100 mph.
My drive took me from Nishitokyo to Kawasaki via local roads. From there I went through the to Chiba. About half an hour's ride south of the Aqua-Line's Chiba terminus is the mountain temple complex of Nihon-ji (日本寺). Nihon-ji is the home of two giant Buddhas.
At the summit of Mount Nokogiri (鋸山), upon which the temples are located, are some exposed overhanging cliffs.
After leaving Mount Nokogiri and Nihon-ji, I took Route 89 east and then Route 410 south to the Pacific Ocean. From there, I followed the coastal highway, called the Boso Flower Line, down the south coast.
The southern-most point in Chiba is Cape Nojima (野島崎). In the afternoon, the clouds rolled in and wind picked up. That bad weather was coming was obvious, but as forecasted, it didn't arrive until the following day. In the late afternoon I put on my rain pants and extra fleece jacket to stay warm. When you're sitting on a motorcycle, unlike a bicycle, you aren't actually doing anything to generate extra body heat. That combined with high speeds is a good way to turn oneself into a heat sink. But my clothes were up to the task, and after adding the extra layer, I had a nice ride home.
The way home was much like the way there — the Aqua-Line and then an hour on local roads from Kawasaki home. The trip took around eleven hours: I left at 8:00 and got home at 7:00. The trip took a little over one tank of gas. The ending odometer read
4517 km, for a trip total of
The above two maps use data from OpenStreetMap and tiles from Stamen Design. I also put together a map showing my GPS track. Though not useful on its own, you could also download the GPS file. There were many other motorcyclists out for the day. No doubt many people, such as myself, enjoy living in Tokyo but also want to be able to get out of it from time to time. The tunnel to Chiba is perfect for this, because once you're through the tunnel, you've left the big city — no suburbs and no pollution; just some small mountains and twisty roads to explore.