Bicycling & Camping
Cycling & Camping in the Ishizuchi Mountain RangeIndulge in a Time at Invigorating Highlands and Pastoral Mountain Villages
The extensive area that straddles Ehime and Kōchi prefectures is like a theme park created by nature. There are many bicycle courses including gentle beginner courses, long courses that will satisfy the intermediate and advanced cyclists, as well as technical courses. There are prepared camp sites at various locations that will satisfy everyone from solo campers to families. The best part about all of them is the opportunity to spend an enriching time surrounded by spectacular views that change with the seasons and by clear air that cannot be experienced on a flatland. An indulgent time spent at invigorating highlands and pastoral mountain village awaits you.
Here you will find the perfect environment for experiencing the real thrill of bicycling
Some may think that the bicycle paths on the Ishizuchi Mountain Range are long and have dramatic hills, and therefore are only suitable for advanced bicyclers. But in the area that straddles Ehime and Kōchi Prefectures there are a great number of places that can be enjoyed by beginners.
Variety of bicycling courses to choose from
There are long courses and technically challenging courses for the enjoyment of mid- to advanced-level cyclists. There are shops, albeit few in number, in Kumakōgen-chō and Ino-chō cities that rent hybrid bikes so visitors can enjoy cycling without having to bring their own bikes.
Mountain Camping that Minimizes Your Distance to Nature
You can enjoy the Ishizuchi Mountain Range not just by bicycling, mountain climbing, and hiking, but also by camping. The expansive sky looks bigger than usual and seems as if you could almost reach out and touch it. This is the real thrill of camping in the mountains. Staying in a cottage is fun, but by spending time being much closer to nature, we can receive with our entire bodies the energies being radiated by the mountains, rivers, wind and light.
Run to the TopBicycling with majestic view that seem to connect to the heavens
There are no words to describe the exhilarating feeling of coasting along while viewing the landscape or the sense of achievement that comes with making it to the destination all on one’s own. When you pedal along on a bicycle, you will likely notice sceneries that you may normally pass by without much thought, and make other new discoveries and encounters.
Mid-level cyclists can choose to take the “UFO Line” (Chōdō Kamega-mori Line) which runs along the ridges at elevations of 1,300 to 1,700 meters, offering breathtaking views that seem to continue up into the heavens, or they can opt for long rides along the Omogo-gawa and Niyodo-gawa rivers. Advance cyclists can tackle serious hill climbing courses along the Ishizuchi Skyline. The leisurely rides (called “pottering” in Japan) can be enjoyed by all cyclists, regardless of age or gender, as there are no predetermined courses and they can simply take whatever paths they fancy.
There are courses recommended for beginners. One runs through the rice fields of satoyama around Naose and Hatano-kawa river in Kumakōgen-chō (Ehime Prefecture) and around the Sameura dam of Ōkawa-mura village in Kōchi Prefecture, while another is a course of leisurely cycling in downtown Saijō-shi while visiting local food joints like at the markets selling products directly brought from farms.
Your Cycling CourseHill Climb on Ishizuchi Skyline
Held every September in the town of Kumakōgen-chō, the long course that is a mix of gentle and steep hills can be physically and technically challenging. But once the destination is reached, the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that is felt can be indescribable. Hill climbing can be enjoyed while viewing the stunning view of the Izhizuchi Mountain Range.
The Ishizuchi Hill Climb is a bicycle race for advanced cyclers that is challenging in terms of elevation differences, incline, and distance, but the refreshing feeling you get as you run through the natural landscape of the Ishizuchi Mountain Range is quite exceptional. At the event, various treats are offered to the participants after they complete the race, and there are booths of local restaurants and sponsoring companies and stage performances. It is a fun event for racers as well as their supporters.
Camp in the Ishizuchi Mountain RangeBeing Surrounded by a 360-Degree Panorama
The Shikoku karst stands at 1,400 meters above sea level, straddling the border between Ehime and Kōchi prefectures. Of all the areas where you can experience nature in its varied forms, Himezuru-daira plateau offers an exceptionally expansive view. A 360-degree panorama opens up before your eyes and a view of the windmills that stand among layers of mountains is beautiful. The vistas that transform with the passage of time look like landscape paintings especially at sunset and sunrise. It is also delightful to spend time taking in the star-filled sky.
Camping is the perfect chance to let oneself go. The only rule is to have fun completely while doing what you want to do. You can give cooking a try or spend time reading as you feel the breeze. Even time spent relaxing and doing nothing can feel precious—why? Because you are being cradled by Mother Nature. Experiencing time passing by slowly is the highest form of indulgence.
In this area near the sky, be a little particular about how you spend your time. You could make coffee using natural mountain water, or enjoy camp food that you spent time and effort preparing. The fully-equipped camp site at Himezuru-daira plateau is a place where even new campers can comfortably enjoy outdoor activities. The recommended plan would be to use the camp site as home base as you go out and enjoy the various outdoor activities.