Cycling in Nature through country roads amidst agriculture and history.

Cycling in Nature through country roads amidst agriculture and history.

I participated in a cycling tour in Taki-cho from a company called Cazacle, which provided the bicycles we used to explore the land, with the guides that explained history.
This place was particularly abundant in nature and had a traditional history with it’s own unique charm. Doing this cycling tour in a traditional Japanese countryside setting really refreshed me during my journey in a way I never experienced.
The attentiveness of my guides was instrumental in telling me about the specific history that went into establishing the town in a way that was truly unique. This was amazing. I have never been anywhere that allowed me to experience all of these elements at once.

Written by Nathan Raymond 
About the Author:
I believe travel allows us to disrupt the usual daily routine and reinvent ourselves. We are in a new place and do new things to create new experiences with new people that we will never forget. If we collaborate with the right people and do the right things, we can begin a process that will lead to the future we need to save the world. 

It took about 2 hour to get from Nagoya to Tochihara Station by the JR Railway. The cycling tour staff picked us up at Tochihara station in their car. 

The road from the station to Cazacle ran through the mountains and was full of lush greenery. We made our way along the twisted mountain path, even passing by monkeys along the way.

We went there so we could take part in a special cycling experience. When we finally arrived in the small village the first thing I immediately saw was a huge temple. The temple looked amazing, and it was bright orange. There was a long cycling road and walking path that ran through the entrance, and into the woods. 

We turned away from the temple and the paths, and went into the town. As we drove into the town we were surrounded by a group of houses that were growing gardens in front of them. We parked our car at an inviting house that had bikes in front of it and knew we had arrived. 

Caption: There is an amazing temple in the town of Taki-cho, and I could really feel the history.

We pulled up and were greeted by a nice woman that introduced herself as the owner of the bike rental place. We went inside and also met the man that was her partner and the director of the olympic bike team . They were both bicycle enthusiasts and I learned about all they put into their tour service. They helped us to get set up and we went on a tour of the village by bicycles.  

Caption: My guides fitted me with a bike and helmet and we were ready to go.

We saw the village up close and headed to other houses that surrounded the town by bicycles. We went through the small winding streets and passed by the locals to get a real Japanese experience, as if we lived there. 

We passed through gardens and arrived at farms that were growing vegetables as far as the eye could see. There were views of huge mountains in the distance and landscape to enjoy the sun set. 

During our ride, we stopped at one of the old houses and went inside. It had been remodeled to welcome travelers and was so nice.  Our host then sat us down and she performed a show for us. She showed us pictures and used them to tell the story of the village. 

Caption: Not only did they prepare the story to explain how the village was transformed into an agricultural powerhouse, but they also had an English explanation that I could hear along the way so that I could understand everything.

She told us about the history of the town and about a husband and wife that led the effort to dig out a water way to create an extension of the river so that they could irrigate crops. It took a total of 247,000 people. 

The irrigation canals took more than 20 years and it all had to be dug by hand. Not only do they appreciate the man that did this, and the wife that supported him, but they created a story about this to tell visitors. 

Caption: I looked on not just as she told the story, but also did sound effects and put her heart into it.

This all gave me an appreciation of the village and our wonderful guide but also made me feel included in the story. We still have a part to play in the progress of this village.

After we heard the story, we got back on our bikes and saw the actual canal that was built and explained in the story. We rode our bikes up the mountain so we could see how the canal had to be built at an angle to slowly flow down. We also enjoyed a comfortable coast down the mountain and this is the road we took so we could go to the next spot to have a drink and see where they held their festivals.

Caption: We rolled smoothly down a gradual hill amongst abundant nature and green trees.

Caption: It took over 20  years  to build this irrigation canal and required the help of many people. 

Caption: We drank under a wooden roof and sat on surprisingly comfortable seats.

We took a break on the way and had ginger ale made from a special mix and snacks that are loved by the locals.  The drink was refreshing and snacks were delicious.  We drank and ate in a place that is also used to have events and festivals we could enjoy with others. We could see the canals that were made and heard about the past festivals and what they are like. They gather volunteers from the community to help host people and together as a village, they all welcome travelers for the festival. They take people on boats through the canals. 
It is a great space to invite people and make great memories together. They have walking trails and space in the woods that are along rows of beautiful flowers for people to celebrate. 

Caption: The food and drink of this experience varies day to day. This photo shows the tea usually served, called Kabusecha, which is a locally made Japanese tea.

After we saw the festival grounds, and also saw the canal, they take visitors on cycle rides, we headed out into the vast vegetable fields that go into the distance, in views that blend in with the mountains.

Caption: I was so happy to get out of the woods and be in the open air.

As we rode through the vegetable fields we stopped to appreciate the landscape, and prepare to take some pictures to share with others so they will come visit for next time.

Caption:I was blown away by the view of the vast countryside, and the mountains surrounding it.

Caption: The view extended to the lush countryside. The beauty of both the big mountains and the sunset was so beautiful. 

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