Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Cycling Around the Mountain Villages

   Domestic woodland areas are located near to settlements, and thus indicate a deep connection to the humans around them. These communities would open up areas of the original woodland, which was formally used for firewood and the gathering of edible wild plants, and gradually changed it so that it became easier for people to use, such as through the replanting of trees to replace those cut for use in everyday life. The land around the domestic woodland areas is maintained, and used for rice fields, other crops and irrigation. As a result, insects and small animals gather, and an ecosystem is created that is shared with the community.
Small road bordered by trees
Bicycles rented? Check. Let’s go!

   Most parts of the cycling course had wide roads, with only one portion that had ups and downs, so even cycling beginners like us were able to handle it. One of the benefits to cycling is how we could cycle at our own pace while looking at the thinly covered mountains of red leaves and wild plants along the roadside. It was also fun to strike up a conversation with people we met while cycling.♪
  We rented bicycles with gears from “Muranoeki Hidaka”; a place that houses a cafe, fresh vegetables brought there directly by farmers, and a tourist information spot. Once we did the safety check of seeing if the brakes were working and whether the saddle was at a comfortable height, it was time to depart! This cycling course around the villages is a 15km “Satoyama Course” with its start and end point being “Muranoeki Hidaka”.

Omura shrine with botan cedar tree
Recommended little detours!
○ Omura Shrine
   This shrine has a history of over 1400 years, having been established in the year 586. After we passed through the torii gate, the solemn atmosphere of a straight road of about 200m that leads to the shrine caused us to stand straight in respect. Around the back, a huge botan cedar tree said to be over a thousand years old looms over the main building of the shrine, as if to watch over it. There is a legend saying that during disasters such as flooding and earthquakes, the trunk of the tree would light up. Thus, as a sacred tree, great care has been taken to keep it standing. It is now a popular power spot (i.e. a place with great spiritual energy) for money and relationship wishes.
Saruta cave’s pitch darkness was impactful
○ Saruta Cave
   Legend says that ninja Mohei KUSAKA has trained in this limestone cave. It is pitch dark and cool inside. You will be able to depart for a thrilling exploration here. However, there is no light in the cave, so ensure that you have your helmet, light, boots, and such equipped on you before heading in.
   To stop preventable disasters from happening, it is necessary that you call the Hidaka Village Board of Education at 0889-24-5115 before entering the cave. If you feel insecure about exploring on your own, it is safer to request for a guide from the “Muranoeki Hidaka” for a fee!
Fluffy omelette atop the rice! Such bliss!
Lunch at “Omurice Road”!
   Hidaka village is surrounded by mountains, with a huge temperature difference between day and night. This allows the village to grow their local speciality; tomatoes. By putting the unique climate to good use, Hidaka village repeatedly researched into cultivation, and produced “sugar tomatoes” that are extremely sweet. The omurice road centers around the Japan National Route 33, with approximately ten restaurants selling omurice. We charged up our energy for our cycling in the afternoon, with the fluffy omurice dishes. A special note about the eateries on the omurice road, is that they make use of Hidaka village’s tomatoes and “sugar tomatoes” and also do their best to include other vegetables that are grown locally.
〇For Rental Bicycle Inquiries
   Muranoeki Hidaka 1478-9 Hongo, Hidaka Village, Takaoka-gun
   TEL: 0889-24-5888
   Rental Fee (including helmet): 500 yen *not charged by the hour
   Operating Hours: 9:00-17:00 (last rental by 15:00)
   Map of the cycling courses is available.
〇For Cycling Course Inquiries
   Hidaka Village Office Industry Environment Division
   TEL: 0889-24-4647

1 comment:

  1. It's lovely to spend a whole day around the mountains and enjoy there. Cycling is also interesting to do on weekends around the mountains. best park and fly