A climb along the Gokurakuji River to an abandoned lodge.
Distance 9.2km Elevation gain 367m (max elevation 385m)
Strava Segment – Villa Paradis Climb (1.9km @8%)
One of the beauties of the Keichiku area is the sheer number of roads to climb. With a two-hour window for a ride on Sunday afternoon, I thought I’d see what this climb had to offer. I’d not bothered with this road before because there’s a longer climb in the next valley, and this road ends at a lodge which closed down a year or so ago.
The lodge in question is the somewhat questionably named Villa Paradis. It was built in 1994, refurbished in 2007, and joined the camp site in the next valley on the Chikojo Town white elephant list at the end of 2015. As far as I know, the lodge was built as a retreat for school trips and the road signs leading up to it bill it as the slightly disturbing in a Jimmy Savile sort of way”Touching Forest Institution”.
The climb itself is, unsurprisingly, a shorter version of the climb up Route 231 to Mt Kunimi that goes up the next valley. The first few kilometres run at about 3% to 4%. After you cross the Agri Line the valley starts to narrow and the gradient increases to about 5%. With 1.9 kilometres to go, you cross a forest road* and the real climb begins. The next 900 metres or so are about 8% then you’re into woodland and the road ramps up to 15%+ through some tight bends for the next 400 metres.
The road is singe track but you don’t have to worry about traffic so you can pick the easiest line on the bends. With 500 metres to go you come out of a switchback to a nice bit of flat to get your breath back. The road comes out into a clearing for the final pair of switchbacks up to the lodge.
The road winds round the back of the lodge and continues on as a trail up to Mt Kunimi.
Not having wasted enough money on a lodge that no one uses, they’re now building a new road up in to the surrounding forest – keep it coming, I say!
* Just in case the other 3 roads that link the valleys weren’t enough, there’s a beautifully built 34 kilometre forest road winding up and over all of the ridges.