Total Elevation Change: 1,232m
Average Speed: 24.1kph
Chiba offers a refreshing change from Tokyo especially in the winter where it is a few degrees warmer. I usually drive to the rest stop in Minami-boso where I can park the car for free and start riding from there.
The Kawatsu Sakura around Sakuma Dam (佐久間ダム）looked as though they were in full bloom so instead of by usual counterclockwise route through Tateyama and Minami-Boso, I went clockwise so that I could go through the dam first. The cherry blossoms around the dam were as nice as advertised though it was quite a steep hill getting out.
My usual course is ocean side then mountains which lets me enjoy a rather leisurely ride alxng the coast before heading into the mountains where I am fairly tired. This course, however, leaves me tired after the mountains and consequently makes it difficult to enjoy the coastal road so I suspect I will revert to the seaside-mountain order from next time.
While most cherry blossom trees in Tokyo bloom towards the end of March and into early April. There is a variety known as Kawatsu-sakura (河津桜) that bloom much earlier. It’s difficult to find a single location with many of the trees but one such place exists about an hour and half south of Tokyo in the Miura Peninsula near a Miura-Kalgan (三浦海岸）station. A visit in late February is usually pretty safe for nice flowers.
The city was administering a page this year (2016) but if that link doesn’t work a quick search should reveal somewhat regular photos.
The Kawatsu Sakura tends to be a lot more pink that the Someiyoshino (?) variety that is seen more commonly. Oftentimes the pink is juxtaposed with the yellow of ”Rape Blossoms” (What a terrible term for a flower) for a nice contrast.