With the temperatures beginning to cool, heralding the arrival of Autumn, and the rice-growing season in full swing, I decided to take the risk and head-out for a long overdue tour. I decided on the rural area bordering Nara and Tenri Cities for my excursion. It has been a couple-of-years since I was last in this area and was keen to return and check-out a couple of new tracks.
After a 36km x 2-hour cycle through Kizugawa and Nara Cities, I arrived at the settlement of Takahicho, at the junction with the Yamanobenomichi Path. My course would take me to Shoryaku-ji Temple, 2km up the road then, from there, a narrow lane through to the settlement of Yadawaracho (map location).
I was thankful of the first 36km being flat as, from this point, the next 8km would be a continuous climb - steep in some places, nearly level in others. This section of lane, through the forest, was quite steep and required me to dismount and walk in places.
Luckily it was still early - 09:30am - and the temperature was still cool. My main concern was my water supply and did I bring enough (I had three 1-litre bottles on my bike) and, if I ran-out, would there be a supply where I could refill?
Yadawaracho, and a surprise sight - rice fields already harvested, or in the process of being harvested. What was so amazing was, where I live, the buds were only just forming. My lane now became an unsealed track which, looking at it, provided access to the many rice fields in the vicinity. The track, I hope, was to connect me to route-186, and the
settlement of Bessho, and familiar territory. Back in November (Blog) and December (Blog) of 2013 I hiked through this area on an exploration of the history of the area.
But, before I reached Bassho, I passed this metal Torii, partly camouflaged by trees and other assortment of undergrowth. What was so amazing was there wasn't a Shinto Shrine in site and metal Torii are very rare in Japan. Maybe a return visit is on-the-cards to see what-else lurks in the bush.
The Nanamagari Path, linking the settlements of Bassho and Nakahatacho, was uneventful, with the exception of a segment that was almost washed-away by a landslide. With some careful maneuvering, I was able to lug my bike over fallen branches and rocks.
One always knows when they are nearing Nakahatacho, by the sounds of the traffic. The settlement is almost completely surrounded by route-25 (Map Location), a major road linking Osaka and Mie Prefectures.
After a brief time cycling on sealed road, I was soon to returned to the forest and an unsealed track that would emerge, about 3km later . . . .
. . . . at the settlement of Minamitsubaocho (Map Location). As it was getting on lunchtime, my plan was to seek-out Kasuga-jinja Shrine, for my first break of my ride but, somehow, I missed the turnoff (there is a network of narrow lanes in this town, that something like this can be easily missed) and found myself descending a very steep road back to my start/finish point at Takahicho.
I arrived at the start/finish point just on 12pm and, thankfully, there was a shaded spot for me to have a bite-to-eat and drink before the ride home. It was another great ride with plenty of rural scenery along the way.
Until next time,
Course details and images - https://ridewithgps.com/trips/17627206