Thursday, 13 September 2012

Shibata to Takitani campground - part 4

After a nice ride in the dark in the dimly lit tunnel you head back down hill to the village of Takidani and the next village up the valley called Takidani shinden before a quick short decent to the Takitani campground which has some great facilities for camping, picnics or you could even spend the night in one of their log cabins. After speaking with the manager he asked if I wanted to take a look inside one that could slept 4 adults for the cost of 5000 yen a night, which in Japan is a bargain accommodation deal with many places charging double that amount per night !. I hope some time to spend the night at the campground as it is close to Niigata city but right in the middle of the mountains with fantastic scenery. After leaving the campground it's another short but steep climb across the Kajikawa river and back up to join route  335 that heads downhill towards the village of Akadani and route 14 which heads back towards the cycle road for the return leg of the ride.  Just before the village of Akadani I stopped at a roadside fresh water spring to refill my camelback with much needed fresh mountain spring water.  The total riding time was 3hr 10mins and the distance was 45km which was perfect in such hot weather.

Shibata to Takitani campground - part 3

The road surrounding the lake is really nice and there are almost no cars except for the odd fisherman, hiker or rock climber which is mostly on the weekends. As you can see from the lake level in the photos it's very low and the only decent flow into the lake at present is by a small mountain creek at the head of the lake . There is also a nice well maintained camping area near the head of the lake and on my way around the lake I came across a large group of monkeys eating by the roadside. I parked the bike up against the bank and creep forward to take some closer shots. There were several large monkeys and some babies so I didn't venture too close in case the mothers weren't happy to see me. I imagine the mothers would be very protective of their offspring and have been known to attack humans on rare occasions , but I did manage a few photos of them looking for food. After that I headed on around the lake until I came to a tunnel which leads down hill towards the village of Takitani back on the Kajikawa river .

Shibata to Takitani campground - part 2

After leaving the surrounding rice fields on the  outskirts of Shibata the cycle road starts to hug the mountainside and slowly winds it's way up hill passing through several small villages along the way. The cycle road bisects the main road in several places so care is needed at each crossing and barriers are placed at angles to deter the cyclists from speeding across without looking. The slight uphill is very pleasant in the shade of the trees and overlooks the Kajikawa river most of the way. Along the cycle road are several toilets and rest areas and it's not long before you reach the end. Across from the end of the cycle road is a shop with several vending machines perfect for the thirsty cyclist. From here you can contuine along the main road towards the hill top village of Akadani or take a left and head down across the Kajikawa river and up a short but steep climb to the Uchinokura dam which was constructed in 1973.At present the lake level is very low but has a great sealed road circumnavigating the lake. The view from the steep climb towards the lake offers great views of the village across the river. 

Shibata to Takitani campground

Well today I had a day off work and the weather report was fine so I drove out to Shibata in my van with my trusty Kona Jake cyclocross bike in the back for a 45 km spin up the cycle road to the campground and back. If you have been following my blog for quite some time you&ll remember that this cycle road is one of my favorite places to cycle in Niigata - why ?, it offers such a wide variety of scenery & terrain  and makes great use of the old Shibata to Akadani cycle road. This time I parked my van at the local park and road from where the cycle road intersects a main road leading to the park. The first section is slightly rough with a little loose gravel but even a road bike would handle it I'm sure. The cycle road passes through the Shibata residential area before opening out onto the surrounding rice fields which  are in glorious gold with ready to harvest rice.

 The photos in this 1st posting show the sections of the cycle road described above