The route shown here assumes that you will arrive by ferry at Shin-Moji at the top of the island. Many ferries also dock at Beppu and Oita further on down the coast; cyclists whose idea of a fun trip is not to start it with a 40-km slog down a major coastal highway may want to consider those options - there's little to see until Usa and the traffic is considerable. Even if you do start at Beppu or Oita, however, you should consider backtracking up the coast to Usa to see the shrine there; it's worth the effort. Either way, the route eventually goes inland to Yabakei, a little-known river valley with a number of interesting things to see. However, the real reason to come here is to leave: between Yabakei and Yamakuni to the west, there is a marvelous bikepath that is sure to be one of the high points of this trip. Unfortunately it peters out halfway to the next destination, Yanagawa, and the starting point is difficult to find from that end, so if you're doing the route backwards you'll have to ask in the town (@@@) to find where it starts. From Yanagawa, you can go back north and cycle all the way around the coast... or you can cut your cycling time considerably heading just south of Omuta to a tiny (and - dare I say it again? - little-known) ferry that will take you directly across the bay to the base of Unzen, which is a 910m climb up the mountain. From there, it's a straight shot to Nagasaki along a scenic coastal road. There is another (shorter) bikepath that circles around the peninsula just south of Nagasaki; although there's nothing major to see (except the westernmost point on the Japanese main isles), the path goes through pretty farmland and coastal scenery and is also recommended.

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