This route starts at the Hiruzen Kogen Highlands and goes through the picturesque village of Shinjo, with its famous gaisen cherry trees, and the traditional townscape of Katsuyama, famous for its noren (traditional shop curtains). This refreshing route always has something to offer, from the cherry blossoms of spring through to the golden leaves of autumn, and lets riders enjoy the beautiful valley scenery of the region.
A refreshing route of old townscapes, cherry trees, autumn leaves, and beautiful valley scenery
The Hiruzen Three Peaks are part of the Daisen volcanic zone reaching up to 1,100 m in height with a large tholoid-type (lava dome) structure. The mountain side and surroundings of Mt. Kamihiruzen are used as grazing pastures for cattle, creating a vast and idyllic landscape.
This has been a staple dish in Hiruzen since ancient times with stir-fry noodles in a sweet and salty miso-based sauce mixed with chicken (or kashiwa as chicken is known locally). According to local tradition this unique sauce was created by hand as sauces were generally hard to come by. The flavor of the sauce varies from shop to shop.
Yubara Onsen is famous for its mixed rotenburo (outdoor bath) Sunayu. Free to enter and open 24 hours a day, this bath is at the foot of the Yubara Dam surrounded by nature in all its glory. In the nationwide rankings for rotenburo, Sunayu was selected as the grand champion for western Japan. Situated on the banks of the river, it is an ideal place for a soak.
Meet western Japan’s largest and most famous waterfall which is included in the list of Japan’s 100 best scenic views and Japan’s 100 best waterfalls. The scenery along the 2 km gorge leading up to the waterfall is also spectacular with many deciduous trees such as katsura and zelkova, as well as other rare species. The waterfall and its surroundings are also the home to a group of approximately 180 wild monkeys.
At the entrance to almost every house in this historical preservation district hangs a colorful, vegetable-dyed noren (traditional shop curtains) enticing visitors to come inside. There is plenty to do in this town throughout the year, including the Hina Matsuri doll festival in spring, and the impressive Kenka Danjiri Matsuri in autumn when floats crash into each other vying for supremacy.
The Kishiro Residence, which also functioned as the wakihonjin, or administrator’s sub-lodging house, was built in the 19th century. At the entrance, you can still see a ring for tying up horses and also a sword rack in the restroom. The key attraction here is the 137 gaisen cherry trees. The water channels and brooks of the town where carp can be seen swimming have been selected as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan.
This roadside station reopened after refurbishment in April 2018. Offering nostalgic flavors of the countryside and clear, fresh air, the theme for this place is “Take a break in a soothing village, nestled in the heart of nature.”
The big difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures in summer make Shinjo Village a perfect place for the production of delicious pounded sticky rice (mochigome). This specialty product is born from the perfect combination of the waters that spring from the primeval beech forests at the source of the Asahi River, the soil enriched by organic fertilizers from cattle, and the clear air of the region.
The big draw here is the super-fresh vegetable market that opens from April to December each year. This is the biggest vegetable market of its kind in the region and local producers come together to sell the vegetables they have grown in the fertile Hiruzen soil. Local specialty products, arts and crafts, and other souvenir goods are also available for sale.
Here you can see herds of Jersey cows munching contentedly on meadow grass on the flanks of Mt. Kami-Hiruzen and beneath the grand Hiruzen Three Peaks. Popular items in the restaurant and shop are soft-serve ice cream and a selection of Jersey sausages.
START & GOAL
Roadside Station Hiruzen Highland
694-129 Hiruzen Tomiyamane, Maniwa City 717-0503
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