My son's baseball team lost its game against the Shibata school, a disappointing but not wholly surprising result, as the opponents attend a school that has represented Niigata prefecture at the national baseball championships a total of 7 times and are at present managed by an intimidating individual in whom the samurai spirit, or bushido, is very much alive.
The defeat failed to dampen my spirits for long, however, for there awaited me a glorious afternoon of cycling, forming the second chapter of shumatsu cycling.
Some curious sights were in store on the way out of town:
From Shibata I cycled in the direction of Murasugi, a spa village that will be the destination of a bike shop ride planned for Nov. 2, to do a bit of recce into eating establishments in the area. The route hugs the base of mountains 800 meters at their highest, the terrain presenting no climbs unmanageable on a 32x13 set-up.
Murasugi has been a hot spring destination for over 1200 years. The village council might want to consider replacing the welcome sign.
Chouseikan-. the exterior view doesn't do it justice. See here for stunning photos taken inside.
Refreshing spring water to refill the Platypus.
Cryptomeria (Japanese cedar) line the entrance to Kansuiro Spa.