Yamaguchi is currently a hot spot for traveling cyclists!
Today, I’m going to introduce Akiyoshidai. Not only is it a national park, it’s the largest karst plateau in Japan and the location of the Akiyoshi Cave. It’s also great fun to traverse by bicycle.
The guest joining me on this trip is Muraoka, whom we got to know in the Etajima series. As a matter of fact, Muraoka was born here in Yamaguchi, so he was naturally very excited to join me on the trip.
We started our trip at the Ofuku roadside station. Here, they not only have a restaurant, but also a hot spring bath with waters that flow directly from the source. There are also bicycle stands for cycling guests. Before heading out to Akiyoshidai, we stopped by Akiyoshi Cave for a little bit of sightseeing.
A Meal Fit For A Cyclist
At the entrance to Akiyoshi Cave there is a retro-looking shopping street. At the restaurant Yasutomiya, you can eat udon with locally grown burdock from the Mine area. A bowl of thick noodles, it has a generous portion of deep-fried burdock on top. The noodles themselves also contain burdock, which makes them nice and crispy, yet still soft. It is nothing less than amazing! Furthermore, the dish is also a much-needed supply of salt for the sporty cyclist. After eating we headed out to the Akiyoshidai Karst Road, which pierces through the plateau.
Crossing the Verdant Akiyoshidai
The road continues on and on through the grassy fields speckled with limestone.
While the road has very few intersections, it is abundant with undulations, and the view of the surrounding scenery is splendid. You can cycle the full length in one go, or you can stop every now and then to take in the beautiful vista. It’s just great!
Taking A Cafe Break
After dashing through the plateau, we took a break at Boulangerie KURA. The bakery has a bicycle stand installed outside – a nice welcome for cycling customers.
The special stone oven-baked bread they sell here is just as hot as Muraoka is passionate about cycling!
A Foot-Bath To Heal Your Weariness
We cycled, we ate, and we had a great time. The end of our journey brought us back to Ofuku roadside station. The foot-bath they have there is fed by hot spring waters that come straight from the source, and anyone can enjoy its comfort completely free-of-charge. Relaxing with ones feet submerged in hot spring water is a great way of relieving all your weariness after a long day of cycling.
Mine City, which Akiyoshidai is a part of, is developing its own local brand, the Mine Collection. The burdock udon is part of that collection, as well as the various kinds of sherbet ice they have at Ofuku roadside station. As it is fall now, the shuho pear is in season. The shuho pear sherbet tastes just like the real thing and is really delicious, according to Muraoka. There are also some slightly weird flavors such as spinach on offer as well. The cold ice makes a nice treat to round off the trip, which started and ended at Ofuku roadside station.
This bicycle-and-car combination has yet many trips to make! Stay tuned! 😉
Ofuku Roadside Station
Address: 4383-1 Ofuku, Mine City, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Tel: 0837-56-5005 Open: Gift Shop 08:30 – 18:00. Ofuku Onsen 10:00 – 21:00 (last admission 20:00). Foot bath (free-of-charge) 10:00 – 17:00
Closed: 2nd Wednesday of the month (excluding January & August)
Access: 3 minutes on foot from JR Mine Line, Ofuku Station, or 15 minutes drive from Mine IC on Chugoku Expressway
Tourist Center – Yasutomiya
Address: 3442 Akiyoshi, Shuho, Mine City, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Open: Restaurant 11:00 – 15:00. Shop 8:00 – 15:00
Closed: Open throughout the year
Stone Oven Bakery – Boulangerie KURA
Address: Aka 3108 Mito, Mine City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Inside Refresh Park.
Open: 10:30 – 17:30 (or as long as the bread lasts)
Closed: Every Tuesday & first Wednesday of the month. The cafe is only open on Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hidetsuna Takahashi
Hidetsuna Takahashi I was born in Ibaraki Prefecture, but currently live in Hiroshima City. I go wherever the road, wind and waves take me, both when traveling and in life. After graduating from university I worked mainly in South-East Asia, and my private life had me traveling to and from Japan on a regular basis. Fate brought me to Hiroshima, and now I'm working at a pro bicycle shop. It's awesome that so many people feel like they just want to come to Setouchi and see what's here. Welcome! Blog: Kazemakase (Setouchi bicycle life) http://laisselevent.blog.fc2.com/
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