Besshi–Suiha Flower View Cycling Course	Besshi–Suiha Flower View Cycling Course

Besshi–Suiha Flower View Cycling Course

Besshi–Suiha Flower View Cycling Course

【139.6km】Cycle the mountains running east to west across Shikoku’s interior

Fun & Fitness

Besshi–Suiha Hana Cycling Course

 

This course begins at the site of the old Besshi Copper Mine, which once numbered amongst Japan’s top three copper mines, and then winds its way between mountains that stretch 1,500–1,700 m into the sky. The route climbs as you trek toward the vast industrial heritage sites in the Tonaru area, before transitioning into a series of gentle hills.

Covering over 130 km and boasting an elevation gain of 2,200 m, this course is a challenging one. Fortunately, you are unlikely to find yourself bored thanks to a wealth of things to see en route, including the Suiha Kogen, a highland area which serves up panoramic vistas of the Seto Inland Sea and Shikoku Mountains, and the Gujo Observation Deck which looks out over the breathtaking sights of Shikokuchuo City’s streets and the Inland Sea, a vista selected as a Night View Heritage of Japan.

Allow approximately one hour and forty minutes to journey by car or shuttle bus from Matsuyama Airport to the start- and goal-point, Minetopia Besshi Roadside Station. The shuttle bus operates six daily reservation-based services bound for Niihama and allows bicycles, provided wheel covers are fitted.

TOTAL 139.6 km

Highlights

Route attraction

Fun & Fitness
【9.5km】Tonaru Industrial Heritage Zone

【9.5km】Tonaru Industrial Heritage Zone

Opening in 1691, the Besshi Copper Mine operated for around 300 years, and ranked amongst Japan’s top three copper mines. Although it is now closed, visitors can view the industrial heritage structures of the Besshi Copper Mine deep within the mountains of Niihama. Many tourists visit to view an old ore storehouse and other remains which project a mystical charm, earning them the name Machu Picchu of the Orient. At altitudes around 750 m, this area offers a vantage point for views that, on a fine day, extend as far as the Niihama City streets and beyond to the Seto Inland Sea.

Fun & Fitness
【80.3km】Suiha Kogen

【80.3km】Suiha Kogen

The Suiha Kogen is a vast highland area located in Ehime Prefecture’s Shikokuchuo City that spans around 100 ha at an altitude of around 760 m up Mt. Suiha. From here, you can take in 360˚ panoramic views that stretch as far as the Seto Inland Sea and the Shikoku Mountains. The slopes of this highland area greet visitors with a glorious sight—a blanket of rape blossom in spring, and a sea of early cosmos from summer to early autumn. There are also festivals timed to coincide with the blooming of rape blossom in late April and early cosmos in late August, and these attract large numbers of tourists as well as locals.

Now you know, so let’s go

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SPOT 1

Minetopia Besshi Roadside Station

Minetopia Besshi Roadside Station

Our journey begins at Minetopia Besshi Roadside Station on Prefectural Route 47. It is home to a mining theme park which utilizes the remains of the main part of the Besshi Copper Mine, a mine which once ranked among the top three of its kind in the country. Attractions include riding the mine’s actual mining train around the facility, checking out the giant dioramas in the Besshi Copper Mine, and watching a documentary video on the mines. This facility is also the perfect place to energize before you start your ride as it houses a gift shop full of specialty goods from Niihama City and other parts of Ehime Prefecture, as well as a restaurant where you can savor a citrus-flavored iyokan soft-serve ice cream made with locally-sourced ingredients.

Address
707-3 Tatsukawa-cho, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 792-0846
Phone
0897-43-1801
Hours
Mine visit: 9:00 am–5:00 pm (late Mar.–Nov.), 10:00 am–5:00 pm (Dec.–early April) [Reception closes one hour prior to the closing time]; Restaurant Mori no Kaze: 11:00 am–3:00 pm; Gift shop, main building 1F: 9:30 am–5:00 pm; Besshi Onsen Tenku no Yu (Hot spring): 10:00 am–10:00 pm (Reception closes: 9:00 pm)/Closed: Around the second week of Feb. each year for maintenance and inspection

SPOT 2

Tonaru Industrial Heritage Zone

Tonaru Industrial Heritage Zone

Explore the industrial heritage structures of the Besshi Copper Mine, located deep in the mountains of Niihama. Nestled in these mountains are ruins that attract many visitors, including an ore storehouse and other buildings collectively referred to as the Machu Picchu of the Orient for their picturesque mystique. On a fine day, this area offers views out over the Niihama City streets and distant Inland Sea from its lofty altitude of around 750 m. If you attempt it on a bicycle you will encounter a series of steep mountain roads so we advise you to take the tourist bus that departs from Minetopia Besshi Roadside Station.

Address
654-3 Tatsukawa-cho, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture
Phone
0897-36-1300
Hours
10:00 am–5:00 pm (Mar.-Nov.)/Closed: Mondays (or the following day when Monday is a public holiday), Dec.–Feb.

SPOT 3

Old Besshi Copper Mine Area

Old Besshi Copper Mine Area

Take a 20-minute walk from the Hiura Trailhead located on the southern side of the Tonaru Industrial Heritage Zone and you’ll come to the earliest set of mine ruins, known as the old Besshi Copper Mine Area. Here you’ll come across a tunnel that was used for carrying out ore, as well as the ruins of structures such as an elementary school and theater, and you’ll find that the industrial and cultural remains from that time have fused with nature over time. Why not enjoy a stroll via the hiking course?

Address
Besshi Mountain, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture

SPOT 4

Besshi Mountain Furusato Museum

Besshi Mountain Furusato Museum

Once you’ve exhausted the possibilities of the Besshi Copper Mine, leave Minetopia Besshi Roadside Station and continue down Prefectural Route 47 until you come to the Besshi Mountain Furusato Museum. In the corner that introduces the history of the Besshi Copper Mine, you’ll find mining equipment such as helmets and gas lamps that were once used in these copper mines, as well as stuffed specimens of creatures that live on Besshi Mountain. There is also a café in the building, and we recommend taking a break here and tuning in to the murmur of the Dozan River.

Address
345-1 Besshiyama-ko, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-0650
Phone
0897-64-2305
Hours
10:00 am–5:00 pm (Apr.–Sept.)/10:00 am–4:00 pm (Oct.–Mar.)/Closed: Tuesdays/public holidays/Year-end and New Year holidays (Dec. 29–Jan. 3)

SPOT 5

Yuragi no Mori Forest Park

Yuragi no Mori Forest Park

Midway up Besshi Mountain is a vast nature park, and lying at the center is one of Japan’s largest dome-shaped wisteria pergolas. In May each year, when the flowers are in full bloom, the city holds a Wisteria Pergola Festival, complete with concerts and other events. At the park’s hotel restaurant, Auberge Yuragi, you can feast on western-style dishes made from locally produced chicken, and salads containing fresh organic vegetables grown in their own garden. There is also the option of making use of their facilities and glamping in the hotel grounds.

Address
122 Besshiyama-ko, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-0650
Phone
0897-64-2252
Hours
Auberge Yuragi: 11:00 am–3:00 pm (last order: 2:00 pm), 6:00 pm–9:00 pm (by reservation); Check in: 4:00 pm, check out: 10:00 am/Closed: Wednesdays (or the following day when Wednesday is a public holiday)

SPOT 6

Terano Lakeside Square

Terano Lakeside Square

From Yuragi no Mori, head along Prefectural Route 6 until you come to a square that sits on the edge of a lake. Venture into the grounds and you’ll see Tera no Mizu no Yakata, a museum that exhibits historical materials on the surrounding region. The second floor of the museum houses a restaurant serving dishes made with local ingredients. Their specialty is a deep-fried freshwater fish known as amego. This fish has little of the bitterness expected from freshwater fish, and the entire fish is edible from the head to the tail (including the bones). There are few restaurants in the surrounding area, so this is somewhere you’ll want to visit if you’re feeling hungry.

Photograph: Shikokuchuo City Tourism Association

Address
352 Tomisato-cho Tsuneyama, Shikokuchuo-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-0645
Phone
0896-22-0585 (Terano Lakeside Square), 0896-22-0145 (Restaurant Kohan no Yakata)
Hours for both square and restaurant
10:00 am–4:00 pm/Closed: Square: Tuesdays and Wednesdays (the following day(s) when one of these days is a public holiday); Restaurant: Monday–Friday/public holidays; all facilities closed during winter (Dec. 25–Last day of Feb.)

SPOT 7

Tomisato Gorge

Tomisato Gorge

Explore the dynamic scenery fashioned by nature as you traverse the 6 km span of the Tomisato Gorge. One particularly delightful spot is the 60 m high stone wall known as Modorigadake. Lush greenery sprouts from between cracks in the rock, creating a scene that resembles a painting in its beauty. The seasons invite different kinds of enjoyment here, such as mountain stream fishing in summer and autumnal colors in fall.

Photograph: Shikokuchuo City Tourism Association

Address
Tomisato-cho Tsuneyama, Shikokuchuo-shi, Ehime Prefecture

SPOT 8

Kinsha Lakeside Park

Kinsha Lakeside Park

As you leave Tomisato Gorge behind and ride along the leafy Prefectural Route 6 toward Shikokuchuo City, you’ll begin to catch glimpses of the Kinsha Lakeside Park that sits beside an expansive man-made lake approximately 7 km long. The scarlet Hirano Bridge spanning the lake looks stunning against a background of the beautiful mountain range reflected in the water. Different seasons offer different pleasures—this spot is famed for cherry blossoms in spring, and autumnal colors in the fall. The park also has a well-maintained walkway running through it that rewards a gentle stroll.

Address
232 Kinsha-cho Hiranoyama, Shikokuchuo-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-0642 (In front of the Reinan Community Center)

SPOT 9

Suiha Kogen

Suiha Kogen

Mt. Suiha is located in Ehime’s Shikokuchuo City. From the Suiha Kogen, a highland area which ranges over 100-odd hectares at elevations of around 760 m, you can enjoy 360˚ panoramic views that stretch as far as the Seto Inland Sea and the Shikoku Mountains. This highland area greets visitors with a profusion of vivid yellow rape blossom in spring, and swathes of early cosmos in fall. There are also festivals that celebrate the blossoming of these flowers and attract large numbers of both locals and tourists—the Rape Blossom Festival in late April and the Cosmos Festival in late August.

Photograph: Shikokuchuo City Tourism Association

Address
306-1 Kinsha-cho Hiranoyama-otsu, Shikokuchuo-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-0642 (Suiha Kogen Parking Lot)

SPOT 10

Gujo Observation Deck

Gujo Observation Deck

This observation deck offers sweeping views of Shikokuchuo City’s streets and the Seto Inland Sea. During the daytime you can see right over the Inland Sea to Honshu, the largest island in the Japanese Archipelago. Then at nighttime, the lights of the manufacturing quarter are so bright it looks like a light show. There are also many cherry trees clustered around the deck, making it a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing in spring. But regardless of the season or time of day or night, this location offers stunning scenery.

Photograph: Shikokuchuo City Tourism Association

Address
254-46 Sangawayama-otsu, Sangawa-cho, Shikokuchuo-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-0643

SPOT 11

Hot Spring Square Mishima no Yu

Hot Spring Square Mishima no Yu

Stop by this day-stay bathhouse situated along National Route 11. This facility boasts a skin-beautifying hot spring welling up on site, and here you can enjoy a range of baths including a large bath, an open-air bath, and a bath with a waterfall shoulder massage. It also houses a restaurant offering light meals, a rest area provided with manga comics and magazines, and an area offering foot and body care. This is undoubtedly the perfect place to ease any fatigue from cycling.

Address
1-16-5 Mishimachuo, Shikokuchuo-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-0405 (within Oishii Hiroba)
Phone
0896-24-4126
Hours
10:00 am–1:00 am/Closed: Every second Thursday of the month

SPOT 12

Aoki Kamaboko

Aoki Kamaboko

With 70 years of history, Aoki Kamaboko is a store of long-standing repute that sells freshly-fried tempura, and chikuwa and kamaboko fish cakes made from fresh seafood caught in the Seto Inland Sea. Their specialty here is shrimp chikuwa in a cute shade of vivid pink. This product is made from a mix of shrimp minced with shells on, white minced fish mashed into a paste, and tofu made in-house. People from Ehime’s Toyo region have been familiar with this delicacy as a local specialty since around 1860. Since you can purchase any number from one upward, this is a great place to stop if you get hungry while cycling.

Address
1182 Sangawa, Shikokuchuo-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-0431
Phone
0896-23-3935
Hours
9:00 am–6:00 pm/Closed: January 1

SPOT 13

Marine Park Niihama

Marine Park Niihama

Stop by one of Shikoku’s largest resort marinas. In summer you can bathe in the waters of the Seto Inland Sea to your hearts content at the resort’s artificial beach. Also known as Palm Tree Beach, the name hints at the photogenic qualities that help make this spot popular. On the grounds you’ll also find a restaurant called Bayside Restaurant Blanc & Bleu where you can enjoy a seafood lunch made using locally-sourced fish.

Address
3-Otsu 324 Habu, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 792-0872
Phone
0897-46-4100
Hours
8:30 am–6:00 pm (Marine Park Niihama), 11:30 am–3:00 pm, 5:30 pm–10:00 pm (Bayside Restaurant Blanc & Bleu)/Closed: Tuesdays (or the following day when Tuesday is a public holiday), Year-end and New Year holidays (Dec. 29–Jan. 3) *Open throughout Jul. 1–Aug. 31

SPOT 14

Besshi Ame Hompo

Besshi Ame Hompo

Make a visit to Besshi Ame Honpo, a sweets store with a venerable 150 year history. Here they make and sell a range of Japanese and western-style sweets, but their main product is Besshi Ame, a local specialty candy named for its connection to the Besshi Copper Mine on which Niihama’s prosperity was built. Still made by a process that adheres faithfully to the original method of cooking the syrup in a copper pot, these Besshi Ame are characterized by a subtle sweetness when you put them in your mouth. There are five flavors to enjoy, including mandarin, one of Ehime’s specialty products. The cardboard boxes and paper wrapping are decorated with retro illustrations that depict the history of the Besshi Copper Mine, and this makes them perfect for a little souvenir. You can also visit the factory next door and watch the Besshi Ame manufacturing process.

Address
2-6-5 Go, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 792-0886
Phone
0897-45-1080
Hours
8:30 am–5:00 pm (Factory visit option available weekday mornings only, for groups of no less than 10. Visits must be booked at least one week in advance)/ Closed: Jan. 1

SPOT 15

Café Zecca

Café Zecca

This café with a laid-back atmosphere is located inside Aeon Mall Niihama, a large-scale shopping mall. One of the most popular eats here is the ciabatta sandwich containing fillings such as prosciutto and honey cream cheese. For an energy hit in the middle of your ride, order a café au lait shake to go with it, and enjoy the distinctive delicate sweetness produced by wasanbon, a high-grade Japanese sugar.

Address
1F Aeon Mall Niihama, 8-8 Maeda-cho, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 792-0007
Phone
0897-66-9900
Hours
Monday–Thursday 9:00 am-6:00 pm (Last order 5:30 pm)/ Closed: In accordance with Aeon Mall closures

SPOT 16

Akagane Museum

Akagane Museum

Akagane Museum is a general cultural facility and museum located next to Niihama Station. Step inside to view the exhibit of a giant taiko drum platform used in the Niihama Taiko Festival, ranked one of the top three festivals in all Shikoku. This exhibit of a real taiko platform is accompanied by video and photographs of the festival in progress, giving visitors a taste of what it’s like to actually participate in the festival.

Address
2-8-1 Sakai-cho, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 792-0812
Phone
0897-31-0305
Hours
9:30 am–5:00 pm/Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday when Monday is a public holiday and/or it is the first Monday of the month)

SPOT 17

Besshi Copper Mine Memorial Museum

Besshi Copper Mine Memorial Museum

This museum communicates the history and significance of the Besshi Copper Mine to future generations. Its architecture is distinctive, featuring a semi-underground structure that utilizes the slope of the mountain. Venture inside and you’ll find an exhibit that introduces the lifestyle of miners, offering a valuable insight into what life was like at the time for those engaged in opening these mines. The Besshi Copper Mine was authorized to open in May, and in a nod to this timing, the roof of the museum has been planted with around 10,000 satsuki azaleas, satsuki being the Japanese term for May (the fifth moon) in the old lunar calendar. In late May, when these flowers are in full bloom, the exterior of the museum is dyed a gorgeous pink color, letting visitors enjoy a slightly different view.

Address
3-13 Suminoshinden-cho, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 792-0844
Phone
0897-41-2200
Hours
9:00 am–4:30 pm/Closed: Mondays, public holidays (open if the holiday falls on a Sunday), Year-end and New Year holidays (Dec. 29–Jan. 3), Oct. 17–18

SPOT 18

Besshi Rhein

Besshi Rhein

The Besshi Rhein is a scenic gorge that runs for 10 km, named for Germany’s river Rhein. Its beauty has seen it selected as one of Shikoku’s top 20 views. Popular with tourists year round, it presents a different face in each season—cherry blossoms in spring, fresh green in summer, and autumnal colors in fall. As you can imagine, cycling Prefectural Route 47 as it follows alongside the Besshi Rhein offers a special level of feel-good charm. Enjoy a refreshing cycle through an untrammeled wilderness!

Address
Tatsukawa Region, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture

GOAL

Minetopia Besshi

Minetopia Besshi

At the end of our journey we return to Minetopia Besshi once more. In addition to copper mine sightseeing, dining and other enjoyments, this facility also has a hot spring called Besshi Onsen Tenku no Yu where you can refresh your body after a tiring mountain ride. With a large variety of different baths, including open-air baths, jacuzzis, and large single-person bathtubs, you’re sure to find it hard to drag yourself away. Once you’re out, you can enjoy udon noodles and other light meals at the cafeteria—why not extract as much enjoyment as possible from your journey right up to the end?

Address
707-3 Tatsukawa-cho, Niihama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 792-0846
Phone
0897-43-1801
Hours
Mine visits: 9:00 am–5:00 pm (late Mar.–Nov.), 10:00 am–5:00 pm (Dec.–early April) [Reception closes one hour prior to the closing time]; Restaurant Mori no Kaze: 11:00 am–3:00 pm; Gift shop, main building 1F: 9:30 am–5:00 pm; Besshi Onsen Tenku no Yu (Hot spring): 10:00 am–10:00 pm (Reception closes: 9:00 pm)/Closed: Around the second week of Feb. each year for maintenance and inspection
GOAL km

Kick off point for the route

Start Point

Minetopia Besshi

  • Just For Fun

    By car

    Approximately 15 minutes from the Niihama Interchange

     

    By bus

    Take the reservation-based shuttle bus bound for Niihama from Matsuyama Airport (1 hr. 40 min., 6 services daily, bicycles allowed if fitted with wheel covers). We recommend reserving your seat as seats are limited. If seats are available on the day, passengers without bookings will be accepted at Matsuyama Airport Bus Stop #4.

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