Some call it thrill-seeking, some call it stupid, some call it crazy. I'm a bit of everything, of the above. I'm talking about getting-out on my bike after a storm, and checking-out the aftermath. In the above image, taken just hours after a huge typhoon had passed-over the area, I took to the hills to check-out the scene and, as you can see, there was plenty of debris lying around.
On Friday 14th February, most of Japan was blanketed with snow (Japan Times 14/2/1014) and, if I hadn't been tied-up with work that day (dammit), I would have donned my cycling gear and headed-out.
But I was free the following day and, once I cleaned-up the breakfast dishes, performed my ablutions, said farewell to my wife, I was on the road. My course was to take me to the Yodogawa River then onto & across the Hirakata-ohashi Bridge.
On the other side I was treated to a great view of Mt Ikomayama (642m). I have hiked in this area several times over the years and am planning a return visit in the not too distant future.
As I made my way along the Yodogawa, I was surprised how little snow lay on the ground. In this image, looking across a sports-field towards Yawatashi, I get the impression not much snow fell here or had melted.
After about 10km, my path ascended to atop the flood-bank and the town of Oyamazaki, and Tennozan. The town is a popular destination for hikers and tourists visiting the Suntory Whiskey Distillery, the Asahi Museum, and the many Temples & Shrines in the area (tour guide). In the center of this image is the Shinkansen which, I would hazard-a-guess, would be travelling about 200kmph.
After some navigating, I soon emerged from under Spaghetti Junction, or where three major motorways converge (map), and my next junction, the Yawata-ohashi Bridge. It is at this point where the Ujigawa, Katsuragawa and Kizugawa Rivers join to become the Yodogawa. I intend to follow the true right of the Kizugawa to the Yamashiro-ohashi Bridge.
From this point, overlooking the rice-fields of Kumiyama Town, the scenery changes considerably from earlier, and there is much more snow on the ground. There is also a cold wind blowing on my left (north).
My next photo-opportunity is the Kozuya Bridge (the pylons in the middle of the image), the oldest wooden bridge in extant in Japan, when it hasn't been washed-away by flooding.
A few kilometers along from the Kozuya Bridge, is the Kintetsu Rail Bridge. By now the snow is more denser on the ground, but the cold wind hasn't lessened.
The Yamashiro-ohashi Bridge, my penultimate (4th) bridge of the day and a good look downstream of the Kizugawa. The thoroughfare I was on was very slippery and I had to be cautious. One wrong move and I could end-up in the drink or into the path of oncoming traffic.
From here it was a short stretch home, and a good hot shower. The following day it rained and most of the snow had melted. But, from what the meteorologists tell us, there is more snow on the horizon. Oh goody. Now where is my hiking gear?