Day 1: Yoshinogari
From Fukuoka City, head towards Rt. 385 which runs towards Saga via Nakagawa. Nakanoshima Park, in Nakagawa, is a great place to stop for a popsicle by the river if it's a hot day. Make sure you've got enough water, as there isn't much between this stop and Saga.
The grade going from Fukuoka up to the top of the pass isn't too steep, but going down on the other side is really steep, with the grade between 10 and 12% in some places. A few spots I got off and walked, afraid of going right over the handlebars with my bike so loaded up with camping gear. On the bright side, the road is small, and there is little to no traffic.
Once you get down to the flat lands of Saga, traffic picks back up, but the views of the fields with mountains in the distance are spectacular on a clear day. It's a quick ride from here to Yoshinogari.
Yoshinogari is a big, open-air historical park, with recreations of old villages. For someone who is interested in museums and old culture, it's definitely worth the visit (the friend who I went with enjoyed it very much), but I rather preferred the bike portion.
From here, take Rt. 21 towards the Sefuri-Hokuzan Prefectural Park. The road is a pretty consistent uphill and not an easy ride, but it's along a nice river, and there are plenty of parks along the way where you can pull off for a breather.
I wrote about the campground and onsen in a previous post, Camping in Saga, so I won't detail it here, but I'd recommend the Sefuri-Hokuzan park area as a good place to stop for the night. There are reasonably priced dinner sets at the onsen, as well as a few restaurants and a 7-11. Otherwise, it's quiet, peaceful, and very dark at night so make sure you have good bike lights and extra batteries for your flashlight!
Day 2: Sefuri-san
From the campground, it's a beautiful ride along rolling hills to the base of Sefuri-san. You can actually bike all the way to the summit, but if you'd prefer to hike the last kilometer or 2, park your bike along the side of the access road when you see the trailhead and a rough wooden map of the hiking trail on your left side as you're going up.
At the peak, there is a small shrine and views out towards both Saga and Fukuoka.
Heading back to Fukuoka City from here is pretty straightforward. Cycle back towards the campground, and then up over Mitsuse Pass. This is the last steep section of road - after that, it's a nice easy downhill all the way back to town.
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