Trip to Shimanami Kaido
Have you ever been to Shimanami Kaido （しまなみ海道）?
It is a 70km-long route connecting small islands in Seto-naikai, surrounded by Chugoku and Shikoku area in Japan. This route starts from Imabari-city in Ehime prefecture to Onomichi-city in Hiroshima prefecture.
Shimanami Kaido is one of the designated cycling routes under the project of “National Cycle Route in Japan” by Japanese Government (MLIT).
You may think a cycling trip is a bit too difficult for regular travelers… but don’t worry! Shimanami Kaido has several routes for cyclists at all levels to enjoy. Best thing about using bicycle is that you do not need to rely on scheduled ground transportation such as bus or train.
For first time traveler visiting to Japan, we recommend sightseeing in Tokyo for few days to get a sense of what a Japan’s urban city is like before traveling to the West. Going to Shimanami Kaido will be the highlight of the trip. JAL operates 6 flights daily between Tokyo and Matsuyama (Ehime) where you can access to Shimanami Kaido. In Matsuyama, you can relax and enjoy the well-known traditional hot spring. It takes about 90 minutes to go from Matsuyama to Imabari city by train where bike rental is available.
Recommend to spend 2 to 3 nights stay for a cycling trip on Shimanami Kaido. You can enjoy spectacular scenery when cycling across the Setonaikai Ocean to Onomichi (Hiroshima). Overnight stay at local accommodations will be a great experience to discover local food and to meet with the locals to have a taste of Japanese hospitality (Omotenashi).
Once you get into Onomichi, you may want to go East to Osaka. However, we recommend you to go West instead. Stopping by Hiroshima including Miyajima Shrine will make your trip more remarkable. Then continue to Fukuoka by bullet train for a trip finale. If time allows, continue travelling around Kyushu will make your trip even more spectacular.
Cycling is definitely an eco-friendly and fun way to explore local cultures. It also helps you save cost on transportation because of going around by bicycle. You can stop at any time you wish to try out local snacks and do some sightseeing around.
Cycling along Shimanami Kaido will definitely provide you a unique and memorable experience.
We hope you will enjoy the trip.