Bike Tour: Aso shrine

Today, we are going to ride bicycles to Aso Shrine. It’s about a 16-minute ride from Michi No Eki Aso, the Aso Road Station. Along the way, we pass through many rice fields and farmlands. Fortunately, the weather is a bit cloudy today, and there are wind blowing during the bike ride. The sun isn’t too intense as well.


After about 5 minutes of riding, we passed by a tomato field. It’s owned by Kazuo san’s friend. We went into the greenhouse for a visit. The owner mentioned that the peak season for tomatoes is in the autumn, so most of the tomatoes are still green, but there are a few that have turned red. By the way, tomatoes here in Aso are considered the best in all of Japan because the water is very clean and the soil and weather are well-suited for tomato cultivation.


After that, we continued our journey. Along the way, we stopped at a fountain (Aso Yakuhinbaru Natural Spring). The reason for the water spouting out is due to the pressure underground that causes these springs to emerge on the surface. Fun fact: the water here in Aso can be drunk directly. It comes directly from the slopes of Mount Aso and usually takes several years to flow down to the flatlands.


We arrived at Aso Shrine after about 10 minutes later. Since we came by bicycle, we parked at the bike parking area. From there, it wasn’t far to the shrine, and we reached it quickly. Upon entering the shrine grounds, there’s a large gate building before you get to Aso Shrine. The shrine we see now has been rebuilt because in 2016, there was a major earthquake in Kumamoto, which caused many buildings here to collapse. It’s a bit unfortunate that the gate building hasn’t been completely restored yet. Actually, the gate building of Aso Shrine holds significant historical value; it used to be one of Japan’s three great gate buildings!


To the right front of the shrine, there’s a place where you can draw omikuji (fortune slips), known as “御神籤求籤處” (Omikuji Gomokuji). We drew fortune slips there and fortunately, both of us received “吉” (good fortune) omikuji slips. Inside the bag with the fortune slip, there’s also a small lucky charm, somewhat similar to amulets in Taiwan.


After drawing the omikuji, we rode our bikes to HIBARI GRILL. Inside this is a small shop, they sell motorcycle-related merchandise and their own designed clothing and hats. The shop’s owner used to be a racing driver, so there are many motorcycles in the garage as well. This place also doubles as a restaurant where you can enjoy barbecue and ice cream. We tried the milk-flavored ice cream, and its texture was truly unique – a rich milk flavor with a slight crunch from the crushed ice.


After finishing our ice cream, we began our journey back to Michi No Eki Aso. Even though we were traveling the same route, the scenery still managed to captivate us with its beauty.


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