Okayama City is the largest city in the Chugoku region after Hiroshima and is only 1,5 hour away from Kyoto and 45 minutes from Osaka. Besides the Kibi Plain it is a lovely city to stay in to explore the Okayama Prefecture, but that is not what this article is about, but I recommend you having a look into...
The Kibi Plain
How to get there
The Kibi Cycling Route
The trip can be made in either direction, but the route is definitely easier if you start from Bizen-Ichinomiya Station in my opinion and I will explain why a little further down.A simplified map of the trail - source: Japan-Guide.com
When leaving the Bizen-Ichinomiya Station, you will only have to make two right turns and within 2minutes you will get to the KibitsuHiko Shrine. This shrine has a lot of Momotaro References and you can buy a lot of Temple related peach stuff here.
After leaving the Kibitsuhiko Shrine you will have to cycle for about 2 kilometers until you reach the Kibitsu Shrine (No need to get off the path, you will just pass it when cycling the route). This shrine is famous because of the long corridors.When leaving the Kibitsu Shrine there are several other temples along the way to explore, however, due to temple Fatique, I skipped some and just had a relaxing cycle among the rice paddies to the Bitchu-Kokubunji Temple.After leaving the Bitchu-Kokubunji Temple there is only about 5 kilometers left before arriving at the station. The Station is located in the center of Soja and therefore after leaving the temple there is only about 10 more minutes of Rural land before entering the city once again.
But this is not the end of this article....
A few hiccups
For most of the route the Kibi Plain has some really easy signs (In English as seen in one of the photos above), but there are two parts which made me a bit confused when cycling and I'd like to share these points to make sure you won't get lost when cycling...
About 1/3 in the cycling route you will have to pass under a construction of bridges near the water and you will see the sign above. Since, I also saw this sign and was confused which way to go I would like to share this point with you.
With your bike you will come from the lower red line and it left me confused to go right or left... And because of the Kanji of 'Kibiji' and the Kanji or the right path being the same I went that way..... WRONG!
This way will lead you to the Bichutakamatsu Station as explained below, but to keep cycling the Kibi plain follow the path to the left and from the point where the arrow is you will see another sign indicating the 'Kibi Plain'.
After leaving the Bitchu-Kokubunji Temple with the large 5-story pagoda, you will have to cycle a long way straight ahead in between the rice fields. However, at the end of the straight way you will find a red-white construction preventing you from keeping to go straight ahead. At this point you can go right for a few meters and that take a turn again and go straight once again or after going right you keep going (and sort of follow the road).... The signage at this point is somewhat poor and I didn't know which way to go, however I found out if you follow the road (Thus making the turn to the right and keep cycling the road) a sign will pop up shortly afterwards!