Okayama Korakuen Garden is located at the center of Okayama ...
Takahashi Hill Climb Challenge
The nature-getaway fever that has boomed in the last decades has naturally spread to the prefecture of Okayama, where the countryside is rich in the authenticity both city-dwellers and foreign tourists are all after, with farming communities, historic heritage, and picturesque landscapes. The cycling enthusiasts have probably heard of the Hiruzen plateaus in Maniwa, the scenic ride on the Kibi Plain road paved with temples and shrines, or the bike-friendly Inner Sea islands, like Naoshima, but few of them know about the biking culture of Takahashi and its yearly october race in the mountains: Hill Climb!
During a whole weekend, thousands of bikers, volunteers and supporters infuse in Takahashi so much energy, that you would swear the city has become a stage of the “tour de France”. The 15 km race starts at the bottom of the Takahashi river valley and ends in the charming former-mining village of Fukiya. A 10 km long gentler course stops in the town of Uji so that a wider range of people can join in. Whether participants ride for fame or for fun, everyone is treated to amazing sceneries on their way.
Waving flags and shouting cheering messages along the road to the top, locals round up and support the thousands of riders running.
On the finish line, volunteers await the athletes with congratulatory tonjiru pork soup, refreshments and other special treats.
Once everyone has gone back to Takahashi city center, the excitement of finding out the results, the joy of receiving one of the numerous prizes or taking team-pictures on the podium turns the day turn into a sports festival. While athletes, families and friends can share a meal at one of the various masturi style food-stalls, they can also buy local products and gather information about the local attractions to plan their next inaka (countryside) trip to Takahashi!
Interested in joining the next Hill Climb race? Entry period runs from mid-April to late August and the application fees are about 6500 yen for individual participants. The number of participants is limited so don’t wait too long before booking!
For more information, check out the event page http://www.hill-takahashi.jp/ (Japanese only) or get in touch with Takahashi City Office Sport Promotion Department via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone (0866-21-0152).