Tour de KATSURAO bike safety class, June 23, 2018. (ツール・ド・かつらお 自転車安全教室 に参加 2018年6月23日)

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(Paddy field view at Katsurao Village, June 23, 2018. 葛尾村 の 田園風景 6/23/2018)
I visited Katsurao Village today to attend a bike safety lesson by a professional instructor who runs Kinofit, a bike road racing school. Katsurao Village was lifted the evacuation order two years ago, for the first time in 5 years since the nuclear plant accident occurred. Paddy fields for rice growing have been restarted and they grew to such beautiful greenery today as shown above. A character shown on the bottom right is “Shimichan” which symbolizes the local specialty rice cake called “shimimochi”.

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The lesson started at a brand new venue “Fukkokoryukan” which means “revitalization and interaction hall” just opened this month as shown above. Today’s lesson was free of charge thanks to the Tour de KATSURAO organizer.

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At the beginning, we had a short lecture on how the bike is controlled in terms of tires and brakes. Tires touch the ground with only limited area which is the same as the thumb face. The brake is effective on choices between forward or side, not definitely effective on both choices at the same time. This is why you have to slow down at first with forward braking before turning the corner with tilted side braking and with NO forward braking. Photo above shows how the short lecture was given.

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Then we moved to a spacious ground nearby and each experienced the braking technique with its own bike following the instructor’s demonstration. One of the scenes is shown above. After the practice session, Q&A session and physical stretching session followed. It was a very high level class for me but I learned an essence of how to control the tires, brakes and pedals, which was highly beneficial for me. I only attended this lesson this year, no other cycling or road racing events. Last year, I participated in the first ever cycling event of Tour de KATSURAO with almost the same route of 31km as this year, shown in the blog of 2017.

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After the class, I returned to Fukkokoryukan facility and had a short lunch break. Photo above shows an inside view of the facility, with free table and chair space and sales corner of the local specialties. There were other tatami rooms as well for local people’s interaction space.

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On a corner of the outdoor ground of the facility, a young offspring plant of the famous Miharu-takizakura cherry tree was planted as shown above. It is expected to grow much bigger in the future years.

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In the neighborhood of the facility, I found a new restaurant “Ishii-shokudo” as shown above. This was the only restaurant in the village as of today.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20180623ツールドかつらお安全教室 (560x420)

Mt. Gojunin at Katsurao Village, May 27, 2018. (葛尾村 の 五十人山 へ 2018年5月27日)

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(Mt. Tatsugo view at Katsurao, May 27, 2018. 葛尾村 の 竜子山5/27/2018)
Early this morning, I left the inn at Tokiwa which was the closest point to Katsurao Village. I headed to Seseragiso hot spring facility of the village, where the trail to Mt. Gojunin started. On the way, I could see Mt. Tatsugo as shown above, which was located within the village, and which was nicknamed as Katsurao-Fuji from its beautiful cone-shaped landscape. This morning the mountain was reflected on paddy fields just restarted to grow rice after suffering from evacuation.

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In the back of Seseragiso facility there was a trailhead to Mt. Gojunin as shown above. The actual trail started from either behind the sign board or right hand side of the board.

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The trail went through the fresh greenery as shown above.

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In about 1.5hr I arrived at a large field on top of the mountain as shown in the pictures above.

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There were two peaks on top area, south and north. The official summit (883m) seemed to be on the southern peak. I looked for the point and found a similar one as shown above. But afterward I checked the GPS data and I believed that the true one existed somewhere else in the neighborhood.

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(Northern slope view of Mt. Gojunin, May 27, 2018. 葛尾村 の 五十人山5/27/2018)
From the southern peak I could see the beautiful northern slope as shown above.

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On top of the northern peak there was a large stone as shown above which was said to be used by a famous General Sakanoue Tamuramaro more than 1200 years ago.

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I could see a view of Mt. Tatsugo or Katsurao-Fuji from here as shown above.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20180527五十人山 (560x420)

You can play back the route and altitude on the map below.

Nikkokisuge habitat at Kawauchi Village, May 25, 2018. (川内村のニッコウキスゲ自生地 2018年5月25日)

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(Nikkokisuge at Kawauchi, May 25, 2018. 川内村 の ニッコウキスゲ 5/25/2018)
The weather seemed to be fine for consecutive three days from today, so I decided to travel by bike for the first time in several months. Today I pedaled from Koriyama to Kawauchi Village which was roughly 60km away. I found a beautiful habitat of Nikkokisuge or day lily, a variety of Hemerocallis, along Prefectural Road 36 in the village as shown above. It was not a large area, but the flowers have just started to bloom here and there on a roadside slope.

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On the way to Kawauchi, I found large wind turbines rotating on Abukuma Heights as shown above. These were part of Hiyamakogen Windfarm.

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There was a pass of 760m above sea level on the border from Tamura to Kawauchi, where a welcome sign stood as shown above.

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It was a lunch time when I arrived at the village center and I took a break at Café Amazon shown above. This was the first one of Thailand based café chain stores opened in Japan in 2017. The original Amazon coffee was excellent.

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I strolled around the village area and noticed that many of the paddy fields were ready to grow rice of this year as shown above.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20180525川内村へ (560x420)

You can play back the route and altitude on the map below.
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