Sometimes a man has to do, what he has to do. So I decided to use my summer vacation to see more of Japan. Because trains or busses are too expensive (and boring) I travel via hitchhiking. The first destination is Tokushima (徳島).

I left my apartment yesterday around 7 am and took the subway to Takeda (竹田) which is a southern district of Kyoto. From there I started hitchhiking around 8 am. Getting out of the city was more difficult than expected. I had to wait nearly two hours until some 30-year old man gave me a lift. He was very friendly but unfortunately it was only a short ride outside the city to a shopping mall south of Kyoto.

After my first minor success I had to wait for another hour for my next lift. A young Japanese man was on his way to Osaka and gave me a lift. He could speak some English and we had a nice conversation going. While we were talking his English improved a lot and he was so kind to buy me some lunch. He dropped me off somewhere between Osaka and Kobe and from there I had to wait less than 15 minutes for my next ride. It was also a short lift to Shin Kobe Station. From there I took the Subway to get closer to the highway.

I was quite fortunate, because after 20 minutes a young man stopped fortunate, because after 20 minutes a young man stopped and told me that he was on his way close to Tokushima. He told me that we had to pick up his girlfriend first in Awaji (淡路島). This detour turned out to be longer than expected. After she hopped in the car he drove to his house, which was also somewhere on Awaji. After that he took the expressway again. As the sun set and it was getting darker, they dropped me off at a service area close to Tokushima (I thought). I was almost there.

Unfortunately no one was motivated to pick me up. The darkness must have scared off the Japanese. As I could not get a ride until 10 pm I decided to take a rest at a bench until the early morning hours. It was a cloudless night and I could observe a million stars. Even the milky way was visible. This is not common in Japan, because in the cities are too many artificial lights, which makes it almost impossible to see them.

The next morning a friendly man at the gas station pointed out that Tokushima was in the other way. The entire night before I was at the wrong end of the service area. But my previous ride apparently did not know that. After going to the other side, I could find a ride directly to Tokushima Station within one hour. It was an old married couple who were on their way for the 88 temple pilgrimage (四国遍路).

From there I took the bus to a remote youth hostel. It is located at a beautiful beach with some houses. Maybe some pictures will follow tomorrow. Update: Uploaded some pictures, find them in the gallery.

The first day’s performance was quite poor. I lost a lot of time to get out of the urban area. I could just make 200 km in more than 12 hours and still did not arrive at my final destination.

On Monday morning the journey will continue.

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