I enjoy taking long bicycle trips from time to time. I thought it would be a good day’s challenge to circle two famous mountains of Niigata, Mt. Kakuda and Mt. Yahiko and return home before nightfall. Mt. Kakuda and Mt. Yahiko are not famous for their height. Mt. Yahiko is only 600 some meters high. They are famous for being the only mountains smack dab on the coast of the Sea of Japan in the midst of the flat rice fields which Niigata is famous for. Click the photo to see an enlargement.
Niigata has some of the flattest areas in all of Japan. One reason it’s so flat is because much of Niigata (Japanese meaning “new lagoon”) was reclaimed from the ocean. All of the rice growing area between the Shinano and Agano rivers, meaning the area you see in the photo below, used to be under water.
It took me a little over two hours to cycle 30 some kilometers to Kakudahama which is the northern base of Mt. Kakuda. I didn’t know the roads but followed what I thought was the closest route by line of sight. It turned out that I probably zigzagged back and forth on the roads between the rice fields a lot more than I needed to.
From Kakudahama I took the only road that runs along the coast of the Sea of Japan, a road over rolling hills and through several tunnels. The traffic was light being mostly tourist and therefore a bit safer for a cyclist than a normal highway. I needed to ride as far as the lowest point past Mt. Yahiko. I knew I reached it when I arrived at the mouth of Bunsui, a river which is a tributary of the Shinano river, the longest river in Japan. There is a road running parallel to it going the direction I needed to go, and I knew it would be therefore flat.
I could add photos to this post. If you want to see them, please say so in a comment.