the two of us in front of the Imperial Palace grounds May30-31 - two days in Tokyo. First day we did a lot of walking; the second we did an organized bike tour with a local company (on their bikes) The Ramen place around the corner from the hotel. The menu is on the machine. You select and pay on the machine. The two guys in the kitchen have it ready in minutes. Room for eight people at the counter. And it was good.   Visits to various parks and many shrines and gates, all dating way back although many rebuilt after being damaged in various conflicts including the second world war. Even when shuttered, attractive shops... The national gardens... The old fish market area, now still selling fish but more given over to tourists and eateries...  Interesting take on walking the dog around one of the shrines... A bigger-than-life transformer in front of a leisure centre - this is for the grandkids... Some lovely murals in subways station walls, and, no surprise, clean subways... The Tokyo Go

Japan Alps

May 25-28 - four riding days partly on the Japan Alps bike route as we made our way from Kyoto to Tokyo.  The day out of Kyoto started with an early steep climb out of town, passing amongst other things this attractive shrine... ...before descending to the shores of Lake Biwa which meant no hills for the rest of the day. It was nice to be riding again with Juergen and Brigitte Willrodt with whom we have already done three previous TDA trips. A couple of good coffee breaks at lakeside places.. . The next day we headed into the hills with an immediate 1000 metre climb over the first 18 km - here Ursula going through an attractive village on the way up into the forest. After the climb, a steep descent out of forest and into valley. The afternoon was only very slightly uphill on average, but it still seemed like a lot of work as we were pretty tired from the morning climb. Some amazing Japanese gardens at homes along the way...    ...and a really attractive cafe that unfortunately had clos