The Old Ski Hill Run
Another of our favourites in the category of short, sweet and fast downhill runs is the route down to Kaesa train station from the old Toyoda ski hill entrance near Madarao No Yu hot springs. It is an easy route available to riders of any age or experience. It is approximately 15 km and also ends near a great hot spring bath.
From Madarao Kogen Hotel turn right towards Number 7 car park. Go past Monaile Madarao and Silk Inn down the hill towards Madarao No Yu hot springs. You will pass Madarao No Yu hot springs on your right and the entrance to the Shinetsu Trail hiking trail. Continue past O-Ike pond and about 500 metres further on you will see the old Toyoda Ski Resort on your right. There is a small pond at the entrance where you can swim in summer with a diving platform.
Opposite the entrance to Toyoda Ski Resort you will see an old car park and a logging trail on the other side. Enter the car park and take the logging trail up a gentle incline along a dirt road. The road will then descend down through pine forest and agricultural land towards Route 96. You will see sweeping views of Shiga Kogen in the distance.
Eventually the old road comes out on Route 96 at the small hamlet of Oyagawa. Follow the Route 96 down the hill to the village of Nagata below.
Nagata is quite famous in Japan as it is home to the famous composer Tatsuyuki Takano, who wrote the song `Furusato`. Furusato means your `hometown` in Japanese, and it is a sentimental song that is learnt in all schools in Japan. There is a museum in his honour in the village and you can visit the temple on the Kano River and see life in this old village which is central to the song lyrics.
After leaving Nagata, follow Route 416 along the Madarao River to Kaesa. This river leads into the Chikuma River at the bottom, which is Japan`s longest river. If you feel the need for a hot spring, Kaesa has a wonderful hot spring called Momijiso Hot Spring. Soak in a hot bath and have lunch at Momijiso hot springs for a perfect way to end the trip.
For more information about Momijiso Hot Springs click this link: