We rode from Makino to Ohara, Kyoto.
Before riding, we visited Kaizu Tenjin Shrine next to the inns. It is said that the shrine was established in 1191. Just like the other 14,000 Tenjin Shrines, the main god is the god of study, Sugawara-no-Michizane.
Then we went to Makino station and met with our second special guest, Tomoda-san who we also met at Shimanami Tandem Festival some years ago.
The ”Avenue of Metasequoia
We went to the ”Avenue of Metasequoia.” the 2.2 km avenue with about 500 trees not far from Makino station. The trees were planted in 1981 and have been kept by local residents. It was selected as the new one of 100 avenues in Japan in 1994.
We headed south and pedaled along the shore of the lake.
We rode 25km and took our first rest at Biwako Kodomo-no-Kuni, Lake Biwa Children’s Land. It was a national holiday of “ Children’s day,” a lot of children played in the playground. Our children enjoyed playing for a moment. Adults took a rest and ate snacks.
We went through Takashima Village. Along the street, historic buildings still stand. We stopped by ”Omi-do,” a confectionary and bought some cakes.
After Takashima city, the traffic became heavier. We managed to reach Shirahige Shrine.
Shirahiga Shrine is called ” The lake version of Itsukushima Shrine.” It was established 1900 years ago, and it is the headquarters of all Shirahige shrines all over Japan.
The main building of the shrine is located on the opposite side of the road. The cars were continuously passing, and there was no crosswalk. My friend and I managed to cross the terribly busy street and gave an address to the God quickly.
After Shirahige Shrine, we pedaled south along a line of cars.
We stopped at Lawson and were surprised to find a long line to the restroom in the store. We thought we would not be able to find a restaurant where all of us could eat together and decided to buy food and eat in the parking lot.
We were sitting on the ground of the Lawson and ate lunch with many cyclists.
Soon after the Lawson, we luckily got off the crowded main road. We pedaled along the official route line of “Biwa-Ichi.”
Climb the “Tochu-Goe” to Ohara, Kyoto
After passing Wani station, we headed west and started climbing the ”Tochu-goe” pass.
It was hot, and the slope was a little bit steep. We sometimes stopped and took a break.
After the border between Shiga Prefecture and Kyoto Prefecture the uphill ended. We went down to Ohara town.
Kyoto, Ohara Sanzen-In
Ohara is located in the northern mountain area in Kyoto. From a long time ago, noble people practiced at temples in this area. It is also famous as a farming village which provides vegetables to Kyoto residences. For me, the place is familiar because of lyrics of a popular song from the 60’s.
We visited Sanzen-in temple. Sanzen-in Temple was originally established as a hermitage by the great Saicho (767-822), who founded Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei.
It is a large temple with a variety of building and gardens. Everything was perfect, but I was impressed by Ojyo-Gokurakuin and the Buddha statue of Amida-Sanzon.
As it was Children’s day, the temple offered the special lottery to every child, and they got sweets.
The path from the town to the temple was also excellent. Numerous small shops were lined along a stream.
We stayed at Ohara Sanso. We enjoyed “Onsen” hot spring and dinner with Beer and other alcohol.
Not completed “Biwa Ichi.”
You may wonder why I didn’t plan the “Biwa Ichi” loop cycling route around the lake.
I had pedaled “Biwa-Ichi” in 2007 with friends, and we were disappointed that chronic traffic congestion occurred in the south-west part and we had to pass by numerous cars. This time I wanted to avoid the most congested part and some of us including me wanted to visit Ohara, Kyoto.