Japan through Vacation Photos, my favorite way to backseat travel. (Also, teeny tiny kids on bikes are almost too cute to handle!)

I am the kind of dork who likes to look at people’s travel photos. Sit me down and pile up the albums. I will look at them all.

Occasionally, I fall down the Flickr rabbit hole, especially when it comes to Japan. Sometimes, it feels like a way to see the parts of Japan blogs don’t write about, the slice of life photos we don’t get to see regularly. And sometimes, I happen upon something worth sharing.

For example, the Rental Bikes at Hongo Bicycle Park, courtesy of Henry in Amsterdam.

Um, that’s a heck of a lot of bikes.

A little more research finds that Henry also runs a blog called Bakfiets en Meer, an arm of his bike company, Workcycles, which you should check out and then covet one because his bikes are seriously awesome . What a great way to get the inside scoop on some bike fun in Japan, courtesy of his recent trip and to see some of the everyday things that don’t get much attention.

One example? Hongo Park.

In Hongo, Japan, about an hour’s drive east of Hiroshima there’s a “bicycle park”. We went to check it out and found that it’s mostly geared toward the roadies. All other bikes and kids are banned from the 12km loop, relegated to a couple out and back rides of a couple km each.

The park looks lovely, and I love how he notices little things like the warning signs along the bike route.

Every couple hundred meters there was a warning sign like this one. “Keep left” is a good idea on a two way road. “Reduce speed” is a rather strange warning in the middle of a 10% uphill grade. Every turn, no matter how mild was preceded by a warning to slow down for the sharp curve.

There are warnings for curves, and yet this slightly dangerous looking and fun slide.

How tall is that thing??

Some of my other favorite photos include what Henry calls Dorky Pedal Things in Japan.

Dorky? Maybe. But they still look really  fun.

These, outside of the Hiroshima Transport Museum, look fun to me too.

Here’s the thing–Maybe when you live in Europe, these look dorky and boring because there are cooler options there. When you live in Massachusetts, and there is nothing like these, they look fun and silly and totally amusing and you want to ride on one right away.

My favorite part of his photos, however, is the insanely ridiculous cuteness of 3-year-olds racing their balance bikes in Japan. (He’s written a post about the race on his blog too.)

Mitsugi runbike race 2 yr olds heat 1 racing

For more details about Runbike racing in Japan, check out Henry’s full blog entry.

The one problem with my travel photo scanning? Even more desire to get traveling! (Thanks to Henry Cutler for letting me share.)

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