Riding the Shiga Kusatsu Road
The spring and fall are excellent seasons for motorcycle riding. I went in search of good roads and found them.
In the morning, I went up and down Mount Akagi, which you might know from Initial D ... if you were into watching anime ten years ago. Approaching from the south as I did, you encounter an incredible climb up a 1.5 lane highway. The road down on the north side is wider, which makes for easier cornering. If you're choosing directions, probably best to go south to north. The mountain is large. Much larger than I thought it was. Autumn has arrived: halfway up the mountain the leaves have changed color, and by the time you reach the top, most of the leaves have already fallen.
Shiga Kusatsu Road
Mount Akagi was good, but my main destination was the Shiga Kusatsu Road (志賀草津ルート), a road high over the mountains of Nagano starting in Kusatsu and ending in Nakano. The weather forecast called for clouds, which it was, but the road goes above them. This road is great for riding, driving, cycling, or seeing by tour bus. The views are majestic and the curves are smooth and abundant. If you're looking for geology, some steam vents and sulfur smells should give you something to play with. All-in-all an enjoyable experience.
I stayed at Takashi's place in Nagano City on Sunday night and came back to Tokyo Monday morning.