Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Brompton hill climb: Ubayu Hot Spring in Yamagata Prefecture

Last Sunday I climbed up toward the end of the mountain trail in another part of Azuma Mountain Range located over Northeast Japan to enjoy hot spring which has cured local people for 500 years.  The name of the hot spring is "Ubayu Onsen". Ubayu's Uba means a mountain witch and Yu means hot spring. 

The hill climb ride is supposed to be  8.45 km in distance and 527 meters to ascend.

Early in the morning I took a bullet train from Tokyo to Fukushima Station to change to a local railway running through mountain range between Fukushima Prefecture and Yamagata prefecture.

Local railway line starts at Fukushima station to go through a dozen of tunnels and bridges in the deep mountain range.

Finally arriving in Toge Station. The name "Toge" literary means "Mountain Pass" in Japanese. Very simple name because the station is located just on the Pass. The station was built in the age of steam for switch-backs to tackle one of Japan's toughest climbing railway routes; even after electrification for a while (now the yamagata Shinkansen and local trains run without switch-backs.)

Brompton and I started from Toge Station. The trail continues narrow and steep but I can enjoy such a view everywhere.

The trees provide shades all the way through Ubayu hot spring.

The slope is getting steeper grade in the last half way to the destination.

Still 2 kilo meters to go.

Experiencing extra steep slope of 22%.

Even a wagon vehicle struggles at one of the sharp bends with extreme slope.

Suddenly the valley of the hot spring appears in my sight. Famous Ubayu hot spring comes from that half-cup crater.

Upon arrival, I checked in at Ubayu Hot Spring Inn for bathing. It only costs 600 Japanese yen. (approx. 5 US dollars)

What fresh hot water it is!

The location is dynamic. It is surrounded by a trace of large scale volcanic eruption of 15,000 years ago. Volcano is still active. Hot water gushes out from the naked mountain surface. The hot spring is bluish white and smells like sulfur. 

Lying on the shallows of this hot spring pool and looking up a volcanic crater. It's nice and healing.

It was a great day in fall after hard hill climb ride with Brompton to be soaked and healed in the best "hidden bath" ever.


Friday, September 17, 2021

Brompton hill climb: Nuruyu Hot Spring in Fukushima Prefecture

 Last Sunday I climbed up toward the end of the mountain trail in Azuma Mountain Range located over Northeast Japan to enjoy hot spring which has cured local people for 300 years.

The name of the hot spring is "Nuruyu Onsen". Nuruyu means relatively low temperature water of about 30-40 degree Celsius. 

The hill climb ride is supposed to be 9.5 km in distance and 762 meters to ascend.

Distance 9.51 km
Time 1:18:43
Average Speed 7.2 km/h
Total Ascend 762 m
Equipment M6L-X 38T chainring

An hour later, I reached Nuruyu Onsen Nikaido Inn. The historic buildings are registered tangible cultural property.

A lovely cat welcomed me and Brompton.

The hot spring is famous for curing. The spring directly comes from the earth beside the bath house. It is not at all oxidized, very fresh hot water. Japanese hot spring enthusiasts believe that fresh onsen maximizes efficacy to cure  illness, injury and fatigue.

Wow. Nuruyu of 31.8 degree Celsius cools my overheated legs and cures muscle pain.

On the way down, I looked over Mt. Azuma, beautifully sitting there with the September blue sky. It is one of the best rides after my return to Japan.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Brompton with Tulips in full bloom

Last Sunday Brompton and I went to see tulips in full bloom at Akebono-yama agricultural experiment station in Chiba Prefecture.

Akebono-yama agricultural experiment station is famous for a Dutch Windmill and tulips in full bloom in spring.

Spring is in full bloom. 

Today Brompton wears yellow handgrips and saddle.

Yellow handgrips and saddle of M6L-X match with yellow tulips.

Do you enjoy Brompton ride?

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Mt. Fuji capped with snow

A day in mid November, Brompton and I went to Tenka Chaya, a historic tavern in the mountain with a perfect view of Mt. Fuji.


Route: Fujikyu Railway Somoyoshida Sta. ~ Misaka Pass ~ Fuefuki City
Total Distance: 42.31 km (hillclimb part 16.29 km)
Elev Gain: 1,335 m (min elev 256m max elev 1,416m)
Moving Time: 2:47:39
Avg Moving Speed: 15.1 kph
Calories: 1,307 k C
Equipment: M6L-X (44T chain ring)

Started from Shimo Yoshida Station.

Found a local shrine on the way.

Gradually gaining elevation. On the way of hill climb to Misaka Pass, a view of Mt. Fuji appeared time to time.

The mountain, Mount Mitsutoge, was filled with autumn colors.

At 1300 meters above sea level, a whole body of Mt. Fuji suddenly appeared in front of my eyes.

I love to see this snow capped Mt. Fuji. Sacred and majestic.

Before long, I arrived at Tenka Chaya, where a Japanese famous novelist Dazai stayed to name it Tenka Chaya, meaning the best view of Mount Fuji.

She is Koume, a restaurant dog. 

After freezing ride in the mountain, I enjoyed Hoto, a signature noodle menu in the restaurant.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Brompton goes to Yarra Valley Trail Stage 1A

Last Sunday I enjoyed a ride on the newly opened Yarra Valley Trail.

[ride info]
Lilydale Station - Yering Station (return trip)
Distance: 17.32 km
Time: 56:28
Average speed: 18.4 kph
Road condition: gravel
Equipment: M6L-X raw

I started from Lilydale Station in the morning before strong south wind blew.

Near Coldstream Station. A half way of the stage 1A.

A lot of riders and runners were enjoying the trail early in the morning.

The current trail, Stage 1A,  ends in 7.5 km at Yering Station.

The trail is expected to continue toward Yarra Glen Station. According to Yarra Ranges Shire Council, Stage 1b, 4.5 km from Yering to Yarra Glen Station, requires more approvals and is more complex to construct, including bridge renovations and constructions over creeks and rivers. The work of stage 1b is expected to commence in March 2020 and should be open to the public by the end of 2021.

Though the work might not be so easy, I wish to ride through the way soon. Please share my excitement through the video clip of my return ride to Lilydale Station. It was nice!

An aerial shot of Yarra Valley Trail Stage 1A by Yarra Ranges Council. (external link)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Beach Trail Ride (Melbourne Brompton Club)

As an MBC's January activity, 11 Bromptons went out for a beach trail ride today.

Some of the members joined breakfast with visitors from Indonesia.

Other members assembled at 9:30 am to start the ride.

[ride data]
Route: Arbory Bar & Eatery - Dockland - Princess Pier- St Kilda Pier - Brighton Beach - Port Melbourne ( - Flinders Street Station)
Distance: 35.28 km
Average speed: 16.2 kph
Equipment: M6L-X raw

Video clip from our ride.

Distance to the Princess Pier was 9.95 km. Garmin 130 works well. It's nice as it weighs only 33 g.

Photo shoot of 11 Bromtons in a row.

Nice Gelato at Sunset Kiosk on St. Kilda Beach. I liked Summer Strawberry.

Then, we moved on to Brighton Beach.

Enjoyed a perfect ride on a beautiful summer day. Dayna, thanks for organizing this!