Uchiko–Nakaiyo Rural Cycling Course Uchiko–Nakaiyo Rural Cycling Course

Uchiko–Nakaiyo Rural Cycling Course

Uchiko–Nakaiyo Rural Cycling Course

【99.9 km】Tour beautiful rural villages in the vicinity of Ehime’s Tobe Town, the start- and goal-point

Fun & Fitness

Uchiko-Nakaiyo Rural Cycling Course

This 99.9 km course sets forth from Tobe Town in Ehime Prefecture, birthplace of the traditional Japanese craft Tobe ware, then makes its way to Iyo City where production of processed marine products is thriving, and on to Uchiko Town where historical streetscapes are found throughout the town, before finally returning to Tobe Town. The route climbs until you reach Nakayama Town in Iyo City at the 30 km mark, and from there it descends down into Uchiko Town situated at the 40 km mark, where it reverts to climbing mountain roads until you find yourself in Tobe Town once more. As it is such a hilly route, we recommend this course for cyclists of an intermediate level or over who are health conscious and ride regularly. The pedestrian and cycling paths on the National Routes are well maintained, and with the low levels of traffic you’ll no doubt enjoy a comfortable ride.

Dotted along the course are three roadside stations (commercial complexes combining restaurants and rest facilities and the like)—Nakayama Roadside Station(Home of Craft), Karari Farmers’ Market & Restaurant, and Hirota Kyo no Yakata Roadside Station. These complexes sell products such as locally grown fruits and vegetables, making them a great place to stop by mid-ride for a rest or to choose a souvenir.

The journey from Matsuyama Airport to the Tobe Thrust Fault, the course departure/arrival point, takes approx. 30 minutes by car. However, since there are few bicycle rental points near this attraction, we recommend you rent your bicycle in Matsuyama City. It’s around 13 km to the Tobe Thrust Fault from the Matsuyama Station area, so if you are confident in your fitness, cycling directly there may be a good option for you.

TOTAL 99.9 km

Highlights

Route attraction

Fun & Fitness
【1.4km】Tobeyaki Heritage Center

【1.4km】Tobeyaki Heritage Center

Tobeyaki, or Tobe ware, is made primarily in Ehime Prefecture’s Tobe Town in Iyo-gun. This style of ceramics dates back approximately 240 years, and was officially designated a Traditional Craft of Japan in 1976. Although a cobalt blue underglaze on white porcelain is standard, recent years have seen an increasing number of works painted in a wide variety of colors. The Tobeyaki Heritage Center represents a valuable opportunity to learn about the history of this type of ceramics. On the first floor you can check out a permanent exhibition that contains historic materials on Tobe ware and details the production method, as well as a corner selling the work of approximately 80 different pottery studios, and on the second floor view special exhibitions related to Tobe ware. You will also find a giant globe made of Tobe ware that is the symbol of this facility. Standing 160 cm tall and weighing 300 kg, it is the twin of one presented to the United Nations Headquarters. Why not stop by and appreciate it in person?

Fun & Fitness
【45.6 km】Yokaichi & Gokoku Streetscapes

【45.6 km】Yokaichi & Gokoku Streetscapes

Ehime’s Uchiko Town in Kita-gun prospered between the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century thanks to the production of Japanese wax, or mokuro, which was used as a raw material for Japanese candles and other products. Traces of this history remain firmly imprinted on the streetscapes of the Yokaichi and Gokoku districts which have been designated Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings by the national government. In one street lined with buildings such as merchant houses, storehouses, and townhouses that retain their original appearance, there are some townhouses that have been remodeled as hotels. Also, if you look at the walls and roofs of some of the merchant houses you will discover various ornamentation by the artisans of the time. Wander through the town and enjoy the feeling of having travelled back in time.

Now you know, so let’s go

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SPOT 1

Tobe Thrust Fault

Tobe Thrust Fault

Our cycling journey begins in Tobe Town in Ehime’s Chuyo Region. In this area, which sits on the Median Tectonic Line, a fault traversing the Japanese Archipelago, you can view the Tobe Thrust Fault where crustal movement has pushed old strata up and over new strata. Estimated to have occurred 12–14 million years ago due to crustal movement, this reverse fault type of geological formation is unusual even in Japan. Also known for cherry blossoms in spring and autumnal leaves in fall, this area attracts many visitors from both within the prefecture and beyond.

Address
450 Iwayaguchi, Iyo-gun Tobe-cho, Ehime Prefecture 791-2141 (Tsukiage Danso Park)

SPOT 2

Toban no Michi

Toban no Michi

Tobeyaki, officially designated a Traditional Craft of Japan in 1976, is a type of pottery that dates back around 240 years and is known for its distinctive cobalt blue underglaze on white porcelain. The ceramic tile road is a 500 m long street that offers visitors the opportunity to feast their eyes on Tobe ware. The wall running along the road shoulder is decorated with around 580 tiles painted by local potters, as well as items of Tobe ware that date back as far as the 17th century, and even information boards made out of Tobe ware.

Address
874 Ominami, Iyo-gun Tobe-cho, Ehime Prefecture 791-2132

SPOT 3

Tobeyaki Heritage Center

Tobeyaki Heritage Center

The Tobeyaki Heritage Center constitutes a valuable opportunity to learn about the history of Tobeyaki, or Tobe ware. The first floor houses a permanent exhibition featuring historical materials on Tobe ware and details the production process, as well as a retail corner selling Tobe ware made at around 80 different pottery studios. On the second floor you can enjoy special exhibitions related to this type of pottery. You will also find a giant globe made of Tobe ware that is the symbol of this facility. Standing 160 cm tall and weighing 300 kg, it is the twin of one presented to the United Nations Headquarters. We hope you’ll stop by and appreciate it in person. This facility also operates a bicycle rental service, with five bikes available for rental.

Address
335 Ominami, Iyo-gun Tobe-cho, Ehime Prefecture 799-2132
Phone
089-962-6600
Hours
9:00 am–5:00 pm/Closed: Mondays (the following day when Monday is a holiday), Year-end and New Year holidays

SPOT 4

Tobeyaki Gallery Shion

Tobeyaki Gallery Shion

This Tobe ware specialty store is located around 10-minutes’ ride from the Tobeyaki Heritage Center by bicycle. Their concept is “tableware for everyday use,” and you’ll find a variety of different styles of Tobe ware in one place—from Japanese-style arabesque decoration and other traditional patterns, to modern designs use white porcelain to advantage. How about purchasing one for your own use or as a souvenir for a friend who loves pottery?

Address
885-13 Gohonmatsu, Iyo-gun Tobe-cho, Ehime Prefecture 791-2133
Phone
089-962-7674
Hours
10:00 am–6:00 pm / Closed: Tuesdays, every third Wednesday of the month

SPOT 5

Minami Dogo Onsen Teiregi no Yu

Minami Dogo Onsen Teiregi no Yu

This hot spring facility has a combined total of 12 different types of baths for men and women. In addition to a wide variety of baths including the Ogon-no-yu with glistening gold-tinted water, and the promenade bath to be enjoyed while walking, this facility also boasts a range of other options including a reading/relaxation space complete with bookshelves filled with manga comics and magazines, and private women-only cubicles, making this a place you can enjoy on your own or with a group. There are also esthetic equipment and massage chairs available for use. This is the perfect spot for resting when you’re tired from cycling.

Address
853 Nakano-machi-ko, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime Prefecture 791-1121
Phone
089-963-3535
Hours
Monday–Friday 6:00 am–12:00 am (Last entry: 11 pm), Saturday/Sunday/Public holidays 6:00 am–1:00 am/Open year round

SPOT 6

Nakayama Roadside Station (Home of Craft)

Nakayama Roadside Station (Home of Craft)

Nakayama Town in Ehime’s central Chuyo Region is famous for growing chestnuts. At the Nakayama Roadside Station (Home of Craft), they sell vegetables delivered fresh from the farm, and also additive-free ice cream made in-house. The marron ice cream made from the region’s famous chestnuts is the most popular item on the menu. Why not reward yourself with something sweet mid-ride?

Address
271 Nakayama-cho Nakayama-ne, Iyo-shi, Ehime Prefecture 791-3206
Phone
089-968-0636
Hours
Craft center: 8:00 am–5:00 pm, Gelato House: 10:00 am–4:00 pm (varies depending on the season)/Closed: Every third Monday of the month

SPOT 7

Moribun Asahi Hall

Moribun Asahi Hall

If you depart from the Home of Craft and cycle toward Seiyo on National Route 56, you’ll come to Uchiko Town, a place steeped in history. Sitting amidst the rows of townhouses built during the latter half of the 19th century onward, the Moribun Asahi Hall is sure to catch your eye. At the very top of the building is a hexagonal taiko drum tower (a structure fitted with a bell or other method of ringing the hours) giving it a unique charm. Originally a movie theater, it is now closed and the building is used as an event space for holding screening parties and recitals. Events are held irregularly, but it’s worth making a visit just to take a look at the unique architecture.

Address
2307 Uchiko, Kita-gun Uchiko-cho, Ehime Prefecture 791-3301
Phone
0893-44-3057
Hours
9:00 am–5:00 pm/Closed: Year-end and New Year holidays (Please confirm by phone before visiting)

SPOT 8

Yokaichi and Gokoku Streetscapes

Yokaichi and Gokoku Streetscapes

Welcome to Ehime’s Uchiko Town in Kita-gun, a place that prospered from the latter half of the 19th century to the early 20th century thanks to production of mokuro—wax made from berries from the sumac tree—that was used to make Japanese candles and other products. In the streets of the Yokaichi and Gokoku district we can still clearly trace the remnants of this history in the façades of the merchant houses, storehouses, townhouses and other buildings lining the streets. Indeed on the walls and roofs of some of the merchant houses facing onto the street, you can find a wide array of different ornamentation by the artisans who built the houses.

Address
Uchiko, Kita-gun Uchiko-cho, Ehime Prefecture

SPOT 9

Uchiko-za Theater

Uchiko-za Theater

The Uchiko-za Theater is a playhouse with a long history dating back to its construction in 1916. These days it is used for a variety of arts and cultural activities that include everything from traditional Japanese entertainment, such as classical kabuki plays and bunraku puppet theater, to international film festivals. If there are no events scheduled, you can tour the theater interior and backstage area, checking out places that can’t be seen during performances, including the hanamichi (literally flower path), a long narrow path that lets actors walk from the stage toward the audience, and masuseki the traditional Japanese ‘box seats,’ partitioned off by wooden framework.

Address
210 Uchiko, Kita-gun Uchiko-cho, Ehime Prefecture 791-3301
Phone
0893-44-2840
Hours
9:00 am–4:30 pm/Closed: Year-end and New Year holidays (Dec. 29–Jan 2 each year)

SPOT 10

Rinsuke

Rinsuke

Rinsuke is a restaurant adjoining Uo-rin, a ryotei, or high-class Japanese restaurant, with a 120-year history. Rinsuke was created in response to customer’s requests for a place they could eat a low-key lunch with the flavor of a ryotei. Here you’ll want to try their specialty, tai-meshi. Generally, tai-meshi refers to a dish where sea bream (the tai in tai-meshi) is cooked in with the rice, along with stock and seasonings, but in Ehime’s Nanyo Region, its normal to eat sea bream as sashimi marinated with soy sauce and served on warm rice together with raw egg yolk. When the bowl is placed in front of you, it’s customary to give the dish a quick mix with your chopsticks—the sea bream’s umami melds with the egg yolk in an irresistible combination.

SPOT 11

Karari Farmers’ Market & Restaurant

Karari Farmers’ Market & Restaurant

Karari Farmers’ Market & Restaurant is a commercial complex and roadside station that combines restaurants and rest facilities. In recent years, there has been an increase in places known as foodie destinations where visitors can find delicious local ingredients. At Karari Farmers’ Market & Restaurant there are a variety of different retail areas including a famers’ market stocked with vegetables picked fresh that morning and a store selling ice cream made with fruit grown in Ehime. Amongst all of these options, one thing you must try is the Karari original sausage made by the Karari Smokehouse. These sausages are a gem of a delicacy made with local pork and fresh herbs by an artisan sausage maker who learned his craft in Germany, the home of sausage.

Address
2452 Uchiko, Kita-gun Uchiko-cho, Ehime Prefecture 791-3301
Phone
0893-43-1122
Hours:
8:00 am–6:00 pm (Mar.–Oct.), 8:00 am–5:00 pm (Nov.-Feb.)/Closed: New Year (Jan. 1-3 each year)

SPOT 12

Ose Naruya District Townscape

Ose Naruya District Townscape

This district is characterized by streetscapes that ooze history as they wind a narrow path through long mountain valleys. From the 19th century, these villages developed as part of a distribution route with neighboring villages, and hints of this history remain. In this area you’ll find Ose no Yakata, a facility that combines a museum, an inn, and a lounge area that functions as a social space. On the first floor you can check out an exhibition on Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe who was born in this area. Every Sunday they provide coffee and tea in the lounge, and we recommend you to stop by and take a look.

Address
Ose-chuo, Kita-gun Uchiko-cho, Ehime Prefecture

SPOT 13

Hirota Kyo no Yakata Roadside Station

Hirota Kyo no Yakata Roadside Station

From the Uchiko area, ride approximately 10 km along National Route 379 in the direction of Tobe Town until you come to a large wooden tower that acts as a signpost for the Hirota Kyo no Yakata Roadside Station. This is the place to find local specialties, such as shiitake mushrooms and a Chinese Yam variety known as jinenjo, that reflect Tobe Town’s rich natural environment nestled amidst the mountains. Lining the shelves of the indoor farmers’ market space are fresh vegetables grown in highland areas, fruit, locally produced honey, and home-made tofu. Ask the staff for recommendations as you enjoy a leisurely shop.

Address
162-1 Sozu, Iyo-gun Tobe-cho, Ehime Prefecture 791-2205
Phone
089-969-2070
Hours
8:00 am–5:00 pm/Closed: Year-end and New Year holidays (Dec. 31–Jan 3 each year)

GOAL

Tobe Thrust Fault

Tobe Thrust Fault

If you leave the Hirota Kyo no Yakata Roadside Station and ride along National Route 379, you’ll find yourself at the goal point, the Tobe Thrust Fault where the course began. We recommend taking a stroll around the water park known as Tsukiage Danso Park which covers an area of approximately 200 m around the Tobe Thrust Fault. The park contains added attractions such as a suspension bridge and a rest area covered with a wisteria trellis. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Tobe ware tiles embedded in the promenade.

Address
450 Iwayaguchi, Iyo-gun Tobe-cho, Ehime Prefecture
GOAL km

Kick off point for the route

 

Start Point

Tobe Thrust Fault

  • Just For Fun

    By bicycle

    From Matsuyama City Station, approx. 12.7 km on National Route 379 in the direction of Oda in Uchiko Town 

    By car

    Approximately 20 minutes from Matsuyama Interchange via National Routes 33 and 379 heading travelling toward Oda in Uchiko Town 

    By bus

    Take the local bus bound from Matsuyama City Station and alight at Danso-guchi or Oiwabashi bus stops (50 min.). A short walk from the bus stop. (Buses accept bicycles fitted with wheel bags.)

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