If you are looking for a relatively easy one or two day bike ride with lots of nice scenery, you might want to try the coastal route from Numaza to Hamamatsu. In addition to great views of Mt. Fuji and some nice beach areas, you will get to see a number of small towns, ports, and farms.
The route is mostly flat, with only two real climbs. And, even better in my opinion, you can do about 75 percent of the ride on bike paths. In fact, from just south of Omaezaki, you can jump on the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route, which is an unbroken bike path that runs for approximately 40 KM almost all the way into Hamamatsu.
To kick off my ride, I took the train from Yokohama to Numazu and started riding south at 10:30am in the morning. The first day I road 105 KM, but could have easily done more. However, there were so many great photo ops, that I found myself stopping every 20 minutes or so to take yet another shot of Mt. Fuji, the beach, or some other interesting site.
I did see a lot of roadside stands selling strawberries “ichigo.” Many of them employed young girls to stand next to the road and wave giant plastic strawberries to attract new customers. Judging by the full parking lots, the tactic seemed to be working.
Again, the route is mostly flat and is often on a bike or walking path. The paths aren’t always easy to see from the road. But if you keep heading towards the beach, you will usually find a path. Even right from the start in Numazu, I if you just head towards the beach, you will come across a bike path. Sometimes, you can put your bike up on the sea wall and ride there.
I spent the night in Makinohara, about 105 KM south of Numazu. The first inn “minshuku” that I went to was asking JPY 4,000 per night without meals. The place felt a bit “cold” and, most importantly for me, they couldn’t or wouldn’t help me charge my iPhone.
I ended up staying at much friendly place towards the southern end of the town. The owners were very friendly, only charged JPY 3,500 for the night, and they helped me charge my iPhone. Yeah!
That night, I went for dinner at a local izakaya and had a great time. One of the customers at the bar and I started talking. After a couple of beers he asked me what foods I liked in Japan. I replied that I pretty much like every except the raw horse meat “basashi” that I had tried in Tokyo.
He then got all excited and explained that people in Tokyo didn’t know how to properly prepare basashi and that I should really try the local version as it was “very very tasty.” I was like, “no, that’s ok. I’m kind of full, maybe next time.”
He was having none of that and it was clear that resistance was futile. So 10 minutes later, as part of my sushi set, I received one serving of horse sushi. Well, when in Rome…
In all fairness, it definitely was better than what I had eaten in Tokyo. That said, truth be told, I’m still not a fan of raw horse meat.
After that, it was on to the Fried Fugu and something called Kuromutsu. When I asked if eating Fugu (puffer fish) was dangerous, I received a “be a man” kind of look, followed by a half plate of deep fried fugu. And that’ the way it went for most of my dinner.
The owner of the restaurant was incredibly kind and tried to charge me some ridiculously low rate for my food. I insisted on paying more, but then got pulled into a birthday party of some surfers from Gifu. An hour later, I called it a night and went back to the minshuku.
The next morning, I started riding towards Omaezaki. You have the option of cutting the small peninsula and heading towards Hamatsu. I would recommend that you don’t do that. Instead, bike all along the peninsula. Once you get to the end, the beach changes and becomes more natural and wild. You will also get to see the Omaezaki Lighthouse.
After finishing the peninsula you will see a sign for a sand dune area pointing back towards the beach. If you follow that you will be able to join the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route all along the beach for the next 40 KM. It’s a very nice path with views of the sandy surf beaches that sometimes drops down in between small pine trees.
The only issue with the path is that there are several areas where sand has covered sections of the path, sometimes for lengths of 50-100 meters. In those areas, you have to get off and carry your bike through the sand. To me, not being in a hurry, it was a small price to pay for being able to ride on such a nice path.
I would definitely recommend this path for a relaxed friends and family ride.
After leaving the bike path, I cycled for a bit and got into Hamamatsu about 2pm. After arriving at Hamamatsu station, I quickly folded up my Brompton, bought some local treats for the kids, and hopped on the Shinkansen for the 1-hour ride back to Yokohama.
Total Distance: 176 KM