Length of Japan : Tokaido

Tsu to Kyoto (112 km)

Map of this route


Route : Tsu(津)-Igaueno(伊賀上野)-Shigaraki(信楽)-Uji(宇治)-Kyoto(京都)
Distance : 100 km (62miles)
Best Season : April-May and Octber-November
Steepness/terrain : slope slope slope (hilly)
Natural Beauty : Natural Beauty Natural Beauty (beautiful mountain area)
History : history history history (Very historic area)
Traffic : Traffic (moderate but Heavy traffic in the city)

Profile map

profile map

Tsu - Igaueno(50km)

Take the route #163.

The start point of this section is the intersection of National Route #23 and #163, Iwatabashi N

The second section of LOJ from Toba to Kyoto is the route connecting Tsu-city and Iga-city of Mie prefecture. The start point of this section is the intersection of National Route #23 and #163, Iwatabashi N. (岩田橋北).

The LOJ course basically goes along the National Route #163 to Iga-city. If you look at your map, you will find the National Route #165 to the south of #163. Both routes will bring you to Iga-city. As the National Route #165 is slightly longer and has more traffic, the LOJ course suggests you will have a more comfortable ride along National Route #163.

The course runs in a residential area for about 10 km, but you will gradually feel the road begin to climb up hill. The altitude of this area is about 25 m and the altitude of the peek of the pass is about 440 m. The length of up hill is about 14 km.

There are no good view points or significant milestone along National Route #163, but there are two good spots where you may take rest. They are Mihune Night-Light (三船の常夜灯) and Inuzuka Jizou (犬塚地蔵).

Mihune Night-Light (三船の常夜灯)

Mihune Night-Light

The biggest Night-Light along the Ise-kaido. This Night-Light was relocated to a nearby village, so you will not find it along the LOJ course.

Inuzuka Jizou (犬塚地蔵)

Inuzuka Jizou

Residents of this area believe the Inuzuka Jizou is the guardian deity of children to prevent measles, difficulty in breast-feeding or diseases in head of the brain.

At the peak of the pass, there is very narrow tunnel with a sign saying that big trucks must go by each other. Construction of a new tunnel started in May 2008. The new tunnel will be longer but also wider for easier passage.

National Route #163 goes under an overpass of Meihan Kokudou

After passing through the tunnel, you will enjoy a long down hill ride on the he LOJ course (20 km). The city after the long down hill is Iga-city. When the National Route #163 goes under an overpass of Meihan Kokudou (名阪国道), you have entered Iga-city.

You will reach to Ueno castle (park) at the center of Iga-city after about 3 km ride from the overpass.

a big bronze statue of Matuo Basyou

Here you will find a big bronze statue of Matuo Basyou (松尾芭蕉), a famous haiku poet who was born in Iga city.

Iga Ueno Castle (伊賀上野城)

Iga Ueno Castle

Iga Ueno Castle was initially built by Sadatsugu Tsutsui but was expanded and converted to its present form after Takatora Todo succeeded Sadatsugu in 1611. Uncanny in his military prowess and political sense, Takatora sided with Tokugawa Ieyasu at the decisive Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 after serving the Toyotomi Hideyoshi shogunate. Takatora was also renowned as one of the finest castle architects of his time. The castle is the centerpiece of Ueno City and is located in its main Park alongside the Ninja Yashiki and Basho Memorial Museums.(Quoted from Yamasa Institute Web site)
Iga Ueno Castle[E]

JR Igaueno station

If you continue to ride on the National Route #163, the course will cross with National Route #422. Turn right to National Route #422 toward JR Igaueno station (伊賀上野駅).

Igaueno to Shigaraki (19 km)

Journy to see raccoon

The third section of the LOJ Tour from Toba to Kyoto is the route connecting Iga-city of Mie prefecture and Sigaraki of Shiga prefecture. This section is only 19 km but you have to prepare for the up hill. The traffic is not very heavy, but please be careful because the route is quite narrow. If you do not want to go up hill, there is an alternate route to Shigaraki using Prefecture Road #673 and #674. This route has more traffic.

Facing the Igaueno station, go right at the rotary.

Facing the Igaueno station, go right at the rotary. The route will merge to the National Route #422 again.

The route will merge to the National Route #422 again.

Turn left at this intersection and cross the JR line railway. Continue straight even though the route becomes very narrow. This narrow route is the National Route #422 and takes you to Shigaraki. The up hill starts soon, with an elevation rising from 145 m to 350 m in 5 km. Unfortunately、this pass does not offer any scenic views or major sites. Pedal steadily thinking about Raccoons (see Shigaraki below).

restaurant at the pass

You will find just one restaurant on this pass, a few km from the peak. This restaurant serves dishes prepared using local eggs.

Shigaraki famous for ceramic raccoons

Turn left here and continue to ride about 8 km.

At the bottom of the down hill, you will enter a small village. Then there will be another small hill with a wider road. Soon, you will come to an intersection. Turn left here and continue to ride about 8 km. Then you will arrive at an intersection of Tateishibashi (立石橋) which merges to National Route #307.

Ceramic raccoons!

When you turn right at this intersection, you will be welcomed by the Raccoons!

If you do not have time to spend in Shigaraki, you can turn left at the Tateishibashi intersection. The National Route #307 will take you to Ujitawara (宇治田原) in Kyoto prefecture.

Ceramic raccoons

The many workshops here are famous for making ceramic raccoons. This is the Shigaraki!

The price of the ceramic work at these shops is quite reasonable, and almost all the shops can arrange shipment to foreign countries (extra charge, of course).

intersection Nagano

After riding about 2 km from Tateishibashi (立石橋), you will come across the intersection Nagano (長野). Turn left here.

Enjoy ceramic viewing and shopping

intersection Shigaraki-eki guchi

The course will soon reach to intersection. You can turn right to the Shigaraki Kougen Station (信楽高原駅) in the center of Shigaraki. Along the street to the station, there are many ceramic workshops.

Shigaraki Kougen Station
  • The Tougeinomori(陶芸の森) is one recommended site to visit in the Shigaraki area.

Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park[E][J]

  • Information on Shigaraki(信楽)

Shigaraki Tourist Association[E]

After you’ve enjoyed the ceramics and completed your shopping, it’s time to pedal on to Kyoto.

Shigaraki to Uji 31 km

Gate to Kyoto

The fourth section of LOJ from Toba to Kyoto is the route connecting Shigaraki of Shiga prefecture and Uji city of Kyoto prefecture. The course will use the National Route #307 to the west, in the direction of the Tateishibashi (立石橋). It is 31 km from Shigaraki to Uji city, the entrance of Kyoto.

tea plantation

Most of the National Route #307 is very convenient for riding. You will soon see tea plantations along the course.

Swiss restaurant at Asamiya

When you reach to the Swiss restaurant at Asamiya (朝宮), the course will turn up hill to Urajiro pass, the final approach to Kyoto, (裏白峠).

Ujicha (宇治茶)

borderline between the Shiga and Kyoto prefectures

The up hill is only 3 km, at an altitude of 387 m. The peak of the pass is the borderline between the Shiga and Kyoto prefectures. The course then enters Ujitawara(宇治田原), one town before Uji city.

During down hill to Ujitawara, you will pass more tea plantations. Ujitawara is famous for a tea called Ujicha (宇治茶), which is gown throught the region.

tea plantation

From all angles for example history, culture, geography, weather conditions etc., Ujicha is defined the tea which is only produced in four prefectures; Kyoto, Nara, Shiga and Mie, that have developed with Ujicha, and processed and finished in Kyoto by traders who register in Kyoto. (From 'The Definition of Ujicha' in "The Standard of Indication for Green Tea" has been in force since 1 April 2004) (Quoted from Tea Cooperative Association of Kyoto Prefecture Web site)
Tea Cooperative Association of Kyoto Prefecture

intersection about 8 km from the Urajiro pass

When the National Route #307 enters into the center of Ujitawara, the traffic will be heavier. Take the old road beside the National Route #307 at the intersection about 8 km from the Urajiro pass.

Continue to ride straight into the residential area of Ujitawara. Take the route to Amagase-dam (天ヶ瀬ダム) at the intersection. The Amagase-dam Lake will be in your view about 2 km from Ujitawara. Go straight along with the lake on your right.

Amagase-dam (天ヶ瀬ダム)

You will arrive Amagase-sam soon

You will arrive Amagase-sam (天ヶ瀬ダム) soon.


Amagase-dam is used for supplying the water to Uji-city, flood control and power generation (598,000 kW). This dam is also a good sightseeing spot in Uji-city.

Byodo-in 平等院

entrance of Byoudouin approach

Another 2 km ride will bring you to the Uji city, the goal of this section. When you will see a big parking lot on your left, you are in Uji, Kyoto and the famous Byoudouin (平等院) is just in front of you.

This temple was originally built in 998 in the Heian period as a rural villa of Fujiwara no Michinaga, one of the most powerful members of the Fujiwara clan. This villa was changed to a Buddhist temple by Fujiwara no Yorimichi in 1052. The most famous building in the temple is the Phoenix Hall (hōō-dō)(鳳凰堂) or the Amida Hall, constructed in 1053. The only remaining original building is the Phoenix Hall, surrounded by a scenic pond; additional buildings making up the compound were burnt down during a civil war in 1336. The main building in Byōdō-in, the Phoenix Hall consists of a central hall, flanked by twin wing corridors on both sides of the central hall, and a tail corridor. The central hall houses an image of Amida Buddha. The roof of the hall displays statues of the Chinese phoenix, called hōō in Japanese. (Quoted from Wikipedia)

If your destination is in Kyoto city, the easiest route is to take the road along the bank of Uji river (宇治川) to Kangetu bridge (観月橋). Then take the National Route #24 to north. But depending on your destination in Kyoto, you can take many different routes from Uji to the center of Kyoto.

(Toba ---> Tsu)
This section
(Tsu ---> Kyoto)

uploaded:07, 04, 2019