Although this cycling adventure began taking shape 5 years ago, it wasn’t until I met the head coach of the Japanese men’s Olympic Triathlon Team that I began to understand how easy the course could be if you have the right equipment. I am a fit 55-year-old, but the coach, Patrick Kelly, who is 8 years my senior, cycles these hills like a kid chasing an ice cream truck! If you are a cycling enthusiast coming to Japan, you might be interested to hear that Patrick could have chosen anywhere in Japan to train his athletes. He chose Yamanashi, not only because it has more days of sunshine than anywhere else in Japan, but because of its stunning scenery, which includes a 360° panorama of forest-covered mountains and the world-famous Mount Fuji.
The first thing you’ll appreciate about cycling in the foothills of the Japanese Southern Alps is the almost complete absence of cars, despite the excellent roads. I really cannot stress enough how quiet and beautiful the world is from up here. I think I only counted about 10 cars in my 4 hours of cycling and walking to the waterfalls, lake and shrines! The impressive views of the valley below are sure to put a huge smile on your face.
Start cycling from Myouren Waterfall:
You’ll want to get a lift to this spot if you’re not a seriously-fit individual. However, if you are a real hardcore cyclist, getting around by bike will not be a problem. The first 20 minutes from the parking lot near the waterfall is uphill, but if you pace yourself, you should be fine. Before you start cycling, you might want to lock your bike up and walk to the waterfall. Please visit my blog post below for more details.
Next is Himuro Shrine:
As you climb the hills to Himuro Shrine, take a long look at Mount Fuji on the right. This view of Mount Fuji is my favourite in all of Yamanashi!
Once you reach Himuro Shrine, you’ll have two options, you can ascend the road just to the right of the first gate to the shrine, or you can lock your bike up and climb the staircase. I like the staircase option best. Please visit my blog post below for more details.
Your next destination is Lake Inagako:
Thank you to Tomiya Nittsu for sharing his breathtaking pictures of this beautiful lake. Lake Inagako is rather small, but it has an amazing menagerie of creatures, predominately colourful Japanese koi and waterfowl. Don’t forget to bring a small offering of bread for the inhabitants of the lake. Please visit my blog post below for more details.
Your final port of call, before descending the mountain or returning to Myouren Waterfall to pick up your car, is Homi Shrine in the village of Takao:
Visit my blog post below for more details:
I hope you enjoy this cycling adventure as much as I have over the years. The mix of majestic scenery, ancient shrines, and physical activity is just about as good as it gets.
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