We have decided that we will reach Osaka not from the North, along the rivers Kizu and Yodo, but first going West and then, after the pass, going North. First we reach road 105 in Kashihara and then start following it. While we are on it, we notice a suggested cycle route, and we immediately deviate on it.
It goes in our same direction, but hops from temple to temple along canals and trees, way better than a busy city road. All the three temples we visit are practically deserted, except the last one, where an old woman is praying when we arrive cycling through the high grass growing in the back of the temple. Finding the entrance is not immediate, since the cycle path has a small detour leading into the precinct, and it goes hopping above the small moat surrounding it.
We stop for lunch in the park along the Yamato river where, while we are eating our onigiri, a couple of youngsters are practicing sprinting.
From there we take route 25 to reach Osaka. Apart from a bridge over the railway which is forbidden to bikes and that we take extra care to avoid, the road is not that bad as it might look on the map. There is not too much traffic, the lane are spacious enough that the traffic can avoid squeezing us on the side and also the slope is not bad.
We discount it when we reach the crossing between the 25 and the 165: we manage to take the right path on the pedestrian walking only at the second attempt, and after a loop that takes us back to were we starting from!
After a short section next on the bank of Yamato river, we head North on the 170: for a good length it is a pretty anonymous, semi-rural road, not too crowded but also not that panoramic, though on our right side we have the hills bordering Osaka. At a certain moment we reach a very large building, which we learn is a recently built temple.
It doesn't have the vibe of an old temple, but it surely stands out in the neighborhood.
Immediately after a rail crossing, the road turns into a commercial road: pedestrians all around, shops and their goods on the sidewalk, music coming out from the speakers. And as suddenly as it appeared, as suddenly it vanishes, returning back to the road we were on before.
At the end of our route on the 170 we pay visit to the 2600 years old Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine. After a short climb, we reach the road were the temple stands, surrounded by small shops selling sweets, amulets and where fortune tellers make their days with the money of the visitors.
The temple is a refreshing variation to the menu of the day, and we indulge in the visit for quite some time. The place is really relaxing, and the buildings are really impressive.
Nevertheless we manage to reach the pedestrian bridge on the O river (which Google maps hides), where we have started our trip 17 days ago. A quick stop at Tenma Itoya , the same guest house where we have slept at the beginning and where we leave our panniers, and then to Globalwheels to return our bikes.
We exchange some impressions about our trip with Gareth, change our shoes and walk back to the guest house, where we can finally take a relaxing shower before going out for dinner.
The tenant is happy to see two returning guests, and considering how nice was our stay the other time, we really had no reason to not return here.
We have our dinner at a tonkatsu restaurant not too far from the guest house. On the way back to the lodging, we savor the satisfaction of having completed the trip.