Day 96…

With a little bit of island hopping, we have reached Tokyo in Japan! But first of all back to our departure from Hong Kong to the island of Taiwan! Another hugely densely populated place with 23.6 million inhabitants over an area of just 13,800 square miles – much of the island is uninhabitable mountain ranges – shown in dark brown in the central image below.

Taiwan has a troubled history, particularly in the period 1895-1945 when it fell under Japanese rule. Once this was over, the political situation didn’t improve much as Taiwan became consumed by the Chinese Civil War and the Cold War. Skipping over many fascinating but disturbing facts, martial law was ended in Taiwan in 1987. The country we visit today is now classified as a full democracy!

You travel by scooter in Taiwan…there are 13.9 million registered scooters – more than twice the number of cars! It is a fabulous place to visit, and, like Hong Kong…the FOOD!!!!

Leaving Taiwan behind, we head off into the East China Sea and encounter hundreds of stunning islands before arriving at the Japanese mainland.

There are incredible bridges linking some of these islands – it is quite easy to become some kind of “bridge geek” – one of them looks a bit like a roller coaster…

Including all the islands in the East China Sea – Japan spans an archipelago of 6,852 islands! The five main islands where the population is concentrated are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa. About 75% of these main islands are mountainous, meaning the population of 125.4 million is concentrated in narrow coastal plains. The greater Tokyo area is the most densely populated metropolitan area of the world! What do we associate with Japan? Blossom…mountains…street life…bullet trains…sumo wrestling…tea ceremonies…sushi…we saw it all!

And so starts our voyage across the Pacific! We will cross the international date line as we head to the west coast of America. We are over half way on our journey round the world! thank you to everyone who has joined us en route and contributed their miles walked, run, cycled, jogged….keep them coming in…we haven’t quite got San Francisco in our sightline yet, but we can imagine it and are looking forward to it with great anticipation!