Mount Omiyama and Suwa Taisha
On my other blog I mentioned a book about shrines around Japan and there was one by itself way over to the west of me. So this Golden Week holiday I drove over, stopping along the way at a few interesting places, with my bike in the back of my tiny car. Shrines, mountains, lakes, could it get any better…yes, blues skies!
My first cycle got straight into the mountain and eventually covered a 750m climb. I didn’t cycle all of it, maybe half. BUT I really noticed the difference. I wasn’t quick, I wasn’t pretty, I was just determined.
Here are my map and stats for the ride. When you get to the park with the lake it is basically downhill from there. At that point I was thinking maybe I should have gone the other way around, but looking at the elevation map I think I chose the right way. Plus it was nice to finish at the shrine, I stopped for soba noodles too.
Here are some more details of the ride.
This is the first shrine you will pass Onsenji Temple. I sent off quite early so most places were deserted. Basically nobody passed me the whole route..except for an old lady walking up the mountain. Old people in Japan are amazing.
I was already quite high by this point and due to the location and height the cherry blossoms were still in full bloom. It was very peaceful compared to the Fudo Pass in Tsukuba. I even saw a wild deer wandering the hills and trees.
Up, up, up until you get to this lake. Toilets and an information center, perfect for a picnic…if it wasn’t 9:30am. Just after this park is another, full of more old people playing croquet.
And then down, down, down.
On the whole journey I only saw one other cyclist, this doesn’t seem to be a busy route. It should be. BUT that means there is nothing to slow you down on the other side. You can get carried away, then you see a car and your brakes have to practically catch fire to slow you down in time.
I was enjoying the ride down so much I passed under a red bridge next to a shrine and thought, “that’s pretty, I should stop.”
But I didn’t then I realised I couldn’t see my route on the GPS due to the sun’s glare. I eventually stopped and checked. That red bridge was the shrine I was trying to visit. So back up the hill I went.
You can read loads about Suwa Taisha on the net with a quick search. Here is one site with more information on the area.
There are so many great things to see around Suwa. I visited a few more places as you can see below.
Then it was time for a short ride back to my hotel and a nap…unless I went the long way around the lake. There is a running/walking path all the way around its 16km circumference. There were a few families out cycling too. It is not a place to go speedy, but to jaunt and take in the view so as not to run anyone over.
There are interesting places to stop at various points along the route, museums, statues, and a geyser.