Iiyama Temple Town Route
“Snow country’s little Kyoto”: Enjoy a temple town by bicycle
The Iiyama Temple Town Route is an accessible and enjoyable loop of
approximately 7.2 km. It is an excellent route for taking a sort of “stroll by bicycle,” making casual stops
and side trips along the way to check out whatever strikes your fancy among the scenic spots and points of
interest near Iiyama Station.
With only one small uphill stretch, the route features chiefly flat and level riding, accessible for any type of bicycle at all. Whether alone or in a group, together with family or as a couple, anyone can have a relaxed and enjoyable ride.
|RECOMMEND TO||Families, groups, couples|
The area around Iiyama Station, called by literary master Toson Shimazaki the “snow country’s little Kyoto,” is
home to its own regionally-unique buildings and historic sites, not the least of which are over 20 different
temples and shrines, and is also dotted with places such as stylish cafes and popular confectioneries. This
route gives riders the chance to have it all, experiencing each of these charms without compromise.
The route begins at Iiyama Station and proceeds to Nio-mon Gate and then to Shojuan. While featuring a stark contrast between the impressive and imposing stances of the jet-black Nio guardian statues and its traditional thatched roof, this priests’ hermitage is the perfect first step to get a feel for the history and culture of this temple town of Iiyama. It is also the ideal starting spot for visiting the shrines and temples that dot the city streets, particularly for those with a special interest in seeing the holy sites.
From there, proceed with the giant ramp of the Iiyama Schanze on your left and
head toward Gangi-dori, known as the town of Atago’s “Buddhist Altar Street.”
“Gangi” refers to a type of roofing used in snowy regions to shield street-side pedestrians from the snow. The
street, with its gangi continuing for approximately 300 meters, is a truly iconic “snow country” scene.
In addition to the numerous Buddhist altar shops standing side by side, the street is full of restaurants and other points of interest, such as the Mayumi Takahashi Museum of Doll Art. From there, the route passes by Iikasayama Shrine and Iiyama Castle Ruins Park before heading back toward Iiyama Station. Along the way, don’t forget to drop in any of the cafes and confectioneries that interest you. There are all kinds to be found, from venerable and well-loved local cornerstones to original and stylish merchants that have just opened their doors in recent years.
There is a small uphill leg along the road from Shojuan to Iiyama Castle Ruins Park, but it does not take very much time, even for those who
select to walk their bikes along this portion. Feel free to stop and spend time wherever you like for as long as
you like along the way.
One of the great things about this route is all the little discoveries that can be made precisely because you are meandering around by bike. From the holes in the center of the city streets (They spout water in the winter due to the melting snow!) to the manhole cover designs and the shapes of the traffic lights and fire hydrants, there are little signs of snow country culture all over, waiting for you to notice them.
Shops and points of interest along route
Iiyama Resurrection Church
Iiyama Castle Ruins Park
Mayumi Takahashi Museum of Doll Art
Buddhist Altar Street
Okushinano-Experimental Display Hall
Iiyama Handicraft Paper Studio
Drop off Station
Shinetsu-Shizenkyo Activity Center
This is the starting point of your trip! You can go with your favorite bicycles. There are nine kinds of bicycle; city cruiser , electric, cross, road, mountain, fat and Tandem bikes.
|City bike||26in||Half a day: 1,000yen
|City bike is designed for frequent short, moderately paced rides through relatively flat urban areas. It comes with a basket attached.|