[Event participation] Participate in SSTR2023 on a Harley! Motorcycle trip from Tokyo Bay to Chirihama

Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta.

This time, I would like to report on the motorcycle event “SSTR2023” that I participated in.

SSTR is an abbreviation for Sunrise Sunset Touring Rally, and it is a touring event in which participants aim for the Chirihama Nagisa Driveway in Hakui City, Ishikawa Prefecture from all over the country from sunrise to sunset.

This year it was held from May 20th to 27th (the 28th was an event only). I started from near Tokyo Bay and drove about 550km.

Along the way, we stopped at spots with many sights and special products, such as Lake Suwa SA in Nagano Prefecture, Kiso Ohashi Bridge in Narai, Taiyo no Oka Park and Hida Kaido Nagisa in Gifu Prefecture. In this article, I will introduce my motorcycle trip along with photos.


Preparation before departure

To participate in SSTR2023, you must apply in advance from the official website.

Once you enter, you will receive a participant ID, rulebook, stickers, etc. Your name, starting point, finishing point, etc. are written on your participant ID.

The rulebook introduces the concept of SSTR2023, the point system, designated roadside stations, misaki points, etc. You can display the sticker on your bike or helmet to show your participation.

Before leaving, I inspected my bike and prepared my luggage. The bike is a Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide, and I checked the tires, oil, etc.

I kept my luggage to a minimum and stored it in a camping bag loaded on the rear.

The things you need include a smartphone, charger, camera, tripod, water bottle, food, change of clothes, and a towel.

I also brought my SSTR2023 participant ID and rulebook.

From Tokyo Bay to Chuo Expressway

I left my home at sunrise, just after 4 a.m. on May 26th. It was still dark, but as I drove along the Tokyo Bay coastline, I could see the orange sky in the distance. I felt like I was starting a new journey and a new day, and I don’t think I’ve had such an exciting start to a day since I was a child.

After driving along the Tokyo Bayside Line, I entered the Metropolitan Expressway. The Shuto Expressway is often congested even early in the morning, but this time it was relatively empty. Still, I couldn’t drive fast, so I drove carefully. To enter the Chuo Expressway from the Shuto Expressway, you must take the Chuo Loop Line. The Central Loop Line has many tunnels and is dark and cold. Moreover, there are many curves and it is dangerous. As I exited the Chuo Loop Line and entered the Chuo Expressway, the sunlight became stronger. The Chuo Expressway offers a pleasant view of mountains, rivers, and fields. I drove along the Chuo Expressway and headed for my first resting point, Suwako SA.

Taking a break at Suwako SA

I arrived at Suwako SA around 6:30. The mileage was approximately 200km. Suwako SA is a service area in the southern part of Nagano Prefecture, where you can take a break while looking at Lake Suwa and the mountains of Shinshu. I went to the toilet first and then went to the restaurant to eat breakfast. At the restaurant, there was a menu using Shinshu salmon, a specialty of Nagano Prefecture. Shinshu salmon is salmon seasoned with salt koji, making it tender and juicy. Oroshi soba has smooth soba topped with Shinshu salmon and grated radish for a refreshing taste. The rice balls are fluffy and filled with Shinshu salmon, making them very filling. Both menus are recommended.

After having breakfast, I looked around the shops at Suwako SA. The shop sold many special products and souvenirs from Nagano Prefecture. It is made from apples and Nagano Prefecture, and is sweet and juicy. The wine and jam are exclusive to Suwako SA and have apple and pear flavors.

After taking a short break at Suwako SA, we got back on the bike and headed out. From here, I got off the expressway and started collecting points using a GPS app at roadside stations along the way.

Go to Narai Kiso Ohashi Bridge via the roadside station

I took the lower path and passed through the roadside station, enjoying the scent of trees and flowers and the sound of the wind.

There is a famous bridge in Nagano called Narai Kiso Ohashi Bridge. At Ohashi in Kiso, Narai, I set up a camera and took a photo of my beloved car. It is a famous photo spot for bikers.

After Narai Kiso, we stopped at Taiyo no Oka Park, which had been designated as a surprise spot.

There was a spherical structure on the Hill of the Sun, but when I stopped by, I didn’t really get to experience it as a feature, so I only stopped by to earn points.

From Taiyo no Oka Park towards Hida, there are many SSTR participants on the way

After taking a short break at Taiyo no Oka Park, we got back on the bike and headed out. The next destination is Hida Kaido Nagisa. We had almost no time to take a break at Hida Kaido Nagisa before leaving.

As I crossed Hida Kaido Nagisa, I saw many motorcycles with SSTR stickers on them, and I felt that Chirihama was finally getting closer.

I’m starting to feel a little nervous that I might not be able to make it in time for sunset, perhaps because I took too many breaks along the way.

Driving along Chirihama Nagisa Driveway

We managed to arrive at Chirihama by sunset, and according to the last check-in record, we arrived at Chirihama Nagisa Driveway around 5pm. The mileage was approximately 550km. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway is the only sandy beach in Japan where you can drive by car or motorcycle. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway is approximately 8km long. The sandy beach, waves, and sky were very wide and beautiful.

At Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, I parked wherever I wanted and took a break. When I look at the sea, I am reminded of my journey along the way. We also interacted with other SSTR2023 participants. All the participants of SSTR2023 seemed to be having fun running on the Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, and Chirihama was enveloped in a faint atmosphere of excitement.

After completing the Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, we finally reached the goal. When you cross the finish line, you will receive an SSTR2023 completion certificate and souvenir. I was able to complete my trip by receiving a completion certificate and souvenir from SSTR2023.

Looking back at SSTR2023

I participated in SSTR2023 and enjoyed a motorcycle trip from Tokyo Bay to Chirihama. SSTR2023 is a touring event in which participants aim for the Chirihama Nagisa Driveway in Hakui City, Ishikawa Prefecture from all over the country from sunrise to sunset. I ran about 550km. Along the way, we stopped at many sightseeing spots such as Nagano Prefecture’s Lake Suwa SA, Narai Kiso Ohashi Bridge, Taiyo no Oka Park, and Hida Kaido Nagisa.

By participating in SSTR2023, I was able to learn more about motorcycles and Japan’s nature and culture. I was also able to interact with other SSTR2023 participants. All the participants of SSTR2023 love bikes and we became friends. I was able to make new friends and memories through SSTR2023.

SSTR2023 was an unforgettable experience for me. We would like to thank the staff and sponsors who made SSTR2023 possible. I would also like to thank my friends who participated in SSTR2023 with me. Thank you everyone for your hard work.

This concludes my SSTR2023 participation record. Thank you for reading to the end. I would like to participate in another bike event next time. See you soon.