Day 20: Takatsuki, Osaka to Omihachiman, Shiga

Today I went home. It’s a strange thing to do when you’re in the middle of an adventure but it was always my intention. In fact, the whole Kansai region (Hyogo, Osaka, Kyoto, Shiga) has been a bit of a break for me. I’ve stayed with friends every night and socialised with others, and I’ve cycled considerable less distance this week than last week.

I left Yoshi and Jen’s after eating a big bowl of Cheerios and stuffing a couple of lumps of corn bread into my handlebar bag. Their house is meters from the shinkansen line but also not too far from the Yodogawa, the river I followed yesterday. I went back to the river and rolled gently upstream to Uji.

With a desire to get home and do my laundry I didn’t spend as long in Uji as I might have liked but did at least visit Byodoin, the temple that features on the back of the 10yen coin.

IMG_0768IMG_0773The gardens were typical of a Japanese temple: raked gravel, well placed rocks with a touch of moss, green ponds with baguette-sized koi struggling in the shallows, an arched wooden bridge, and tourists and school parties aplenty. I skipped the tour of the phoenix hall as there was a 40 minute wait and also because the museum building claimed to have big resolution images of the room as well as half the artefacts that once furnished the room. The museum is quite small but well laid out. The main attraction being 26 wall mounted carvings of Bodhisattvas sitting on clouds in a variety of positions and playing a variety of musical instruments. Many artefacts on display date from the Heian period (10th and 11th centuries) so count as pretty old – and pretty impressive.IMG_0780

From Uji I continued along the river as it became the Uji River and then the Seta River. This took me straight to familiar territory and thebanks of Lake Biwa. I then followed the lake all the way home (just like the little piggy).

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