Cycle your way through the tale of Momotaro the peach boy!
Kibi Plain has a lot to offer tourists in search of Japanese folklore within an active sightseeing experience.
Kibi Plain is located outside of Okayama city, the capital of Okayama Prefecture. The prefecture is an often overlooked area in southern Honshu. While it may not have much urban sprawl, it’s the perfect getaway for those wanting to experience see a more historic and traditional Japan.
You can still see remnants of their kingdom in the large burial mounds.
The Kibi Plain area is named after the Kibi Kingdom, an ancient clan that ruled the region during the 4th Century. You can still see remnants of their kingdom in the large burial mounds.
Who is Momotaro?
What’s more, the area is unarguably tied to the famous folktale of Momotaro (Peach Boy), who’s birth place is said to be in Kibi. The famous legend tells the story of a boy born from a peach who grows up to be a great warrior. He protects his land from the evil ogres from a neighboring island. The ogre island is thought to be based on the real-life island Megijima in Kagawa Prefecture.
People visit this picturesque flatland not only for its amazing scenery but also for its cycling trails. Japan is famously mountainous but at Kibi, cyclists can pedal to their hearts’ content without a worry about changing gear due to uneven terrain.
Tied to the folklore of Momotaro, a popular cycling route has been laid out from Bizen-Ichinomiya station through Kibi Plain to Soja station, to follow the locations in the legend. Along the way, there are rest points where you can learn about the mythical history of the region, such as the earlier variant of the Momotaro story. Prince Kibitsuhiko is thought to be the origin foundation of the legend fairytale. He was a member of the Yamato clan who and was reportedly sent to Kibi Kingdom to fight an ogre rid them of a daemon that was terrorising the locals.
As you cycle you will speed past traditional farmhouses, shrines and buildings from an ancient generation of Japanese architecture which you can no longer find anywhere else.
The most prominent feature of the landscape is Bitchukokubun-ji Temple with its large pagoda. The temple itself is beautiful, but the pagoda stretches up five stories high and towers over the flat terrains of rice and flowers. This pagoda is believed to be the last pagoda built in Japan.
You can rent a bicycle near Soja station, Bizen-Ichinomiya station and Bitchūkokubun-ji Temple. The bicycle rental is opened everyday, from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. You can rent a bicycle for one day for ¥1,000 or you can rent per hour (¥400 for two hours).
Check out some of these beautiful buildings on your cycling route and discover the tale of Momotaro.