TOKYO -- A 10-year-old boy has cycled around Japan with his father after they earlier scaled the 100 famous peaks of the country.
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"I never thought Japan was such a big country," said Hikaru Hoshi, as he recalled travelling 10,438 kilometers in 104 days in total with his father Kazuaki, 59.
The challenge was triggered in July 2016 when they were climbing Mount Shari, the 78th mountain on the top 100-peak list, in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido. There they met a man who was cycling around the country, inspiring Hikaru to ask his father if they could also attempt the feat. After succeeding in scaling all 100 mountains they were ready for their next challenge.
In October 2016, they departed from Nihonbashi Bridge in Tokyo's Chuo Ward. The father and son traveled mostly along the coastline during holidays, including weekends and summer vacation, while sleeping in a tent at campgrounds and other areas. After returning home following the completion of each leg, they would go back to the spot by car or train to continue their journey.
"At the beginning, we could barely go 60 to 70 kilometers a day," Kazuaki said. Hikaru added that it was hardest to cross mountain passes along the Sanriku coast in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan.
However, the father and son got used to cycling long distances and reached Cape Erimo in Hokkaido, Japan's westernmost island of Yonaguni in Okinawa Prefecture and Japan's inhabited southernmost island of Hateruma in the same prefecture. The most they cycled in one day was 198 kilometers.
Wherever they went, they were impressed by the natural landscape. They were especially moved by a rip current in the sea seen from a bridge on the Shimanami Kaido Expressway connecting the city of Onomichi, in the western prefecture of Hiroshima and the city of Imabari, Ehime Prefecture. During their long adventure, they also enjoyed meeting local people who they still keep in touch with through letters and encountering animals they had never seen before in the wild, such as white-tailed sea eagles and Japanese red-crowned cranes.
On Dec. 16, 2018, they finally completed their journey and returned to the starting point in Tokyo.
After Hikaru achieved his goal, he set a next target of learning to ski and began practicing. "My son has acquired mental toughness through this experience of struggling to cope with hardships," the father said in praising his son.
(Japanese original by Shohei Kawamura, Tokyo Bureau)