190807 San’in Trip Day 5 (Hagi to Akiyoshidai)

August 7th, We pedaled Akiyoshidai Plateau, 秋吉台 the most extensive karst plateau in Japan. We enjoyed the magnificent view there.

In front of “Hagi time”

7:30 AM
We left “Hagi Time” はぎタイム where we stayed. The inn was one of the best inns ever, reasonable price (¥2,600 /a bed / a day) and clean. It’s free towels service was helpful. I strongly recommend the inn.

Japanese homemade breakfast

Before we started riding, we stopped at a shared kitchen, “Hoshi no Kakeya,” ほしのかけら for breakfast. We enjoyed the very Japanese homemade breakfast because during the tour, every morning we bought food at a convenience store and gradually became bored with it.

My husband and I ate grilled Saba, mackerel, and miso soup, and my son ate french toast.

Start climbing to Akiyoshidai plateau

8:00 AM
Then we headed south to Akiyoshidai on Yamaguchi Prefecture Road 32. It is one of the main roads, and the traffic was relatively heavy.

When we left R 32, the traffic became lighter, and then a man came to us and gave us several ears of corn and said: “It’s just boiled.”

We ate it with gratitude because there were no convenience stores and shops in this area.

Kagekiyodo cavern

10:30 AM
We arrived at the inn, “Hot village Bito” ほっとビレッジ美東 and the couple who owned it welcomed us with drinks, and we unloaded our pannier bags in preparation for the climbing slopes to Akiyoshidai plateau.

Then we went to Kagekiyodo cavern 景清洞 near the inn. It is one of the limestone caverns in Akiyoshidai and has the legend that Taira no Kagekiyo hid there after the Battle of Dan-no-Ura in 1185.

The total length of the cavern was 1,100 m, and there are both 700 meters tourists area and And 400 meters exploring the area at the most remote end.

The staff said, “you should pay more 300 yen to enter the exploration area, and you can walk in utter darkness with a flashlight there. I recommend to put off the light at once and enjoy the true darkness.”

Then we wore helmets and high boots and entered the cavern with flashlights.
There are a few visitors in the cavern, and we watched lots of bats hanging on the ceiling.

In the exploration area, it was a little bit scary, but we tried to put off the light and enjoy the darkness. In the dark, we lost sense of direction. It was a strange experience.
And we found lots of graffiti on the ceiling. At first, I thought inconsiderate people did them, but I was surprised to see the old Japanese era. It meant someone wrote it in the Tempo era (1830-1844). Those were records of rain-making rituals during drought.

12:00 AM
Then we searched for a restaurant, but all of them were closed near the cavern. We gave up lunch and started climbing up to Akiyoshidai plateau.

Akiyoshidai plateau 秋吉台

After climbing the slope, suddenly the view opened up, and we saw the magnificent sight of green hills on Akiyoshi plateau, and mountains spread in the distance.
On the hills, many limestones were peeking out.
The view of Akiyoshidai is beyond description. It was spectacular.

I appreciated pedaling in the plateau.

When we arrived at the observatory, we were hungry and entered the only restaurant there. But it was crowded, and the cook didn’t have time to receive our order, and we gave up lunch.
Then we went to a cafe next to the restaurant and ate ice cream and snack.

Akiyoshido Cavern 秋芳洞

We went down a steep slope to the entrance of Akiyoshido cavern under the plateau. It is the most massive limestone cavern in Asia, and the total length is one 10 kilometers.
The sightseeing route was about one kilometer long, and there are various highlights with guide audio speakers, and the path was well paved. The temperature was 17 degree Celsius through the year, so we walked comfortably in the cavern.

I had seen the cavern on the web, but never imagined how huge it was.
We were overwhelmed the size of the cavern.

Left: The massive Golden Pillar, a travertine pillar 15 meters high and four meters in diameter.
Lower right: The Hundred Dishes, an accumulation of lime that looks like more than 500 plates stacked on one another.

In Akiyoshidai, I felt the marvels of nature. I recommend visiting there.

After the ride

We returned to “Hot village Bito.” Then we went to the Onsen near the inn. Their homemade dinner tasted nostalgic.
The owners were in their seventies and very kind. I hope that they will keep running the inn in good health.

We enjoyed fireworks after the dinner.

Distance: 50.5 km
Elevation: + 720 / – 544 m

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