Shimanami Kaido Cycling FAQ
What a wonderful "island-hopping" bike touring!
Helpful tips for cycling the Shimanami Kaido
The Shimanami Kaido is the famous highway across the Seto inland sea which connects Imabari city to Onomichi city in Japan. How far and how long does it take to do? How and where do you get the rental bikes? What are the recommended places for you to visit along the way? What is the best plan for you. You may have a lot of questions, so let me give you some helpful tips for cycling the Shimanami Kaido.
⚠Please be sure to check each official website and facebook etc for the latest information.
2016/10/27 first released
2023/9/9 last updated
Author: MURAKAMI Masayuki
1. What is the Shimanami Kaido? What are the characteristics of the place?
Shimanami Kaido Cycling
The Shimanami Kaido, one of the “National Cycle Routes” is the most famous bikeway in our country. This cycling road consists of 6 islands and 6 bridges and across the Seto Inland Sea between Imabari city and Onomichi city.
🥇Best cycling route in JAPAN
“Kaido” means “the road of sea” in Japanese. Needless to say, the Shimanami Kaido, which was selected as one of the “7 best bike routes in the world” by CNN, is the most famous cycling road. But there are several “Kaido” such as Tobishima Kaido, Yumeshima Kaido, Hamakaze Kaido and Sazanami Kaido, that are suitable for cycling and attract a lots of tourists from all over the world.
🔧Organized cycling route
Bicycles can be hired at both Imabari and Onomichi. The rental bike services can provide you with sporty bikes such as cross-bikes, and you can return them at several bicycle stations (terminals) along the path. Along the bridges, there is a designated bicycle and pedestrian lane separated from the highway which helps to make your bike trip more comfortable and enjoyable. The calm sea, wonderfully scenic islands and magnificent bridges attract visitors.
🗺Without any maps
No maps, no worries. The “blue line” on the road will lead you to where you want to go, just follow it. You can find it on every recommended cycling road along the Shimanami Kaido. This web page introduces useful tips based on frequently asked questions about Shimanami Kaido cycling. We invite you to take part in a comfortable island-hopping cycling tour. Welcome to Shimanami Kaido!
Columns Why is “bicycle” good for Shimanami Kaido?
Bicycle speeds of 15 to 20 km/h are neither too slow nor too fast to discover the small Japanese culture along the local road. It’s difficult to find it just through the highway by car or bus. And you can move more dynamically than walking. Traveling by bike will make you more free and will give you a sense of exhilaration and a sense of accomplishment. I think it is “just right” as a way to go around Shimanami Kaido.
[PR] Original cycling maps of Shimanami Kaido
🗺️Shimanami Toso Map
The cycling map, “Shimanami Toso Map” is exclusively for cyclists who want to cycle the Shimanami Kaido. This is published by CycloTourisme Shimanami, which is based in Imabari City and works on regional development and cycle-tourism.
This is sold in a set of seven maps ─ Oshima Island, Hakatajima Island, Omishima Island, Kamijima Town, Ikuchijima Island, Innoshima Island＆Mukaishima Island and Imabari City.
The map is based off of detailed cycling surveys on each island from the cyclist perspective. The author of this map, who lives in Imabari City, not only interviewed all the different people of restaurants and sightseeing spots but also gauged each ‘block distance’ and the height of passes, both of which you can find on the map. You’ll have access to the latest information that cannot normally be found on mobile map apps.
The author, Kazunari Utsunomiya, traveled around the world on a tandem bicycle with his wife, Tomoko, for 10 years. Currently, he is promoting bicycle trips as a tour guide for Shimanami Kaido.
The English version of the cycling map, which has been a favorite of Japanese bicycle travelers, is now on sale at Amazon.co.jp. When you plan to cycle the Shimanami Kaido, please get it in advance. It is sold at the guesthouse “Cyclonoie” as well.
2. Where is the Shimanami Kaido gateway? What about access?
How do I get there?
|Gateway||JR Imabari Station (Ehime Pref.)||JR Onomichi Station (Hiroshima Pref.)|
|JR||Transfer from the Shinkansen to “Express Shiokaze” at Okayama Station. Get off at Imabari Station on the Yosan Line.||Transfer from Tokaido / Sanyo Shinkansen to Sanyo Main Line at Fukuyama Station. 20 min. to Onomichi Station.|
Shin-Onomichi Station on the Shinkansen is 3km away from the city.
|Airplane||From Haneda / Kansai / Chubu Airport to Matsuyama Airport.|
1 to 1.5 hours from the airport by bus & limited express.
|From Haneda / Shin Chitose / Sendai / Naha Airport to Hiroshima Airport.|
1 to 1.5 hours from the airport by bus.
|Bus||Highway bus from Tokyo / Osaka / Kobe / Hiroshima / Fukuoka to Imabari.||Highway bus from Tokyo / Osaka / Kobe / Hiroshima to Onomichi.|
|Ferry||From Osaka Nanko to Toyo Port by Orange Ferry.|
30 km from Toyo Port to Imabari.
🚅The gateway is Imabari or Onomichi
The gateway for the Shimanami Kaido is JR Imabari Station on the Ehime pref. side, and JR Onomichi Station on the Hiroshima pref. side. Both Imabari and Onomichi have bicycle rental terminals, so you can choose the starting point according to your travel plans.
Columns Should I start from Onomichi or Imabari?
Many tourists start from Onomichi. However, considering the wind direction and uphill slopes, it’s actually easier to start from Imabari (Ehime Pref.). Strong winds are often blowing from the southwest. And there are some slopes you have to climb up on the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge and Oshima island, 1st island from Imabari. Of courese you can get some advises in Cyclonoie, if you stay our guesthouse before you go to the Shimanami Kaido.
3. What is the required time and best route of Shimanami Kaido?
How many days?
⌛More than 2 days is the best
Cycling from Imabari to Onomichi, that means across whole Shimanami Kaido, in only 1-day, is not impossible. However, it’s more enjoyable if you spend 2 days or more. You should to try staying overnight on one of the island on the way of Shimanami Kaido (Of course, there are several campsites and guesthouses along the way).
📏The distance is 70 ~ 80km
70 ~ 80km is the total distance of the main route. There are many ups and downs depending on the cycling route of each island, and it is necessary to climb up a slope at each of the bridges. Luckily, the slope is designed to be gentle so that it is easier to go up, so let’s lighten the gear and slowly climb!
We recommend that you spend 2 days or more. 1-day trip may be a rushed trip. Why not enjoy both the cycling and taking in the sights without worrying about time, distance and speed.
Which route is the best?
🛣️Variations on the route
You can choose the route of each island. I chose recommended routes, restaurants, sightseeing spots, scenic spots, etc. on Google Maps. The red color line shows the recommended route; it is the shortest and least up-and-down route. The orange lines are also good routes for cycling (optionally routes).
― The route we recommend
The shortest way from Imabari to Onomichi
― Good route
If your schedule is not too tight, you can enjoy these routes
Good places to visit etc.
● Stores and Restaurants
Good places to eat local food and shop
Recommended Guesthouses and accommodation
📱How to use this map ↑ on Google Map app
It’s available on Google Maps app in your smartphone or tablet, if logged in with the same google account in both Internet Browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, IE) and Google Maps App on your device.
①．Click small ★star next to the upper map title(☆⇒★)
②．Open the Google Maps app on your phone
③．Click ” ≡ ” at the upper left
④．My Places > Maps > Shimanami-Kaido cycling route
The google map above is updated by me as much as possible with the latest information. I have carefully selected the places that you should stop by when you travel the Shimanami Kaido for the first time. And please print out and use the blank map below as a memo when planning your cycling.
Is there a lot of slope?
⛰More ups and downs than expected
Of course you must climb up to any bridges. However we showed the route with the smallest slope as “― The route we recommend” on the upper map. The profile (ups and downs) of the route of the Shimanami Kaido is as below.
If you are traveling on a bicycle for the first time, please choose the route based on this “The route we recommend”. And please change the route or add the optionally routes depending on places that you’d like to visit, such as scenic spots, shops and restaurants, or your accommodations. Please refer to another chapter for that information about each of the islands.
🚴Some courses are advanced
For example, “The east coast of Oshima and Innoshima” and “the south side of Omishima” are steep slopes because they are the fault cliffs. There are many ups and downs in that area, so it is for advanced riders. Thus, depending on how you choose the route, the difficulty of cycling is completely different. At Shimanami Kaido, you can make various plans depending on your physical strength and cycling experience.
Columns The history of the islands on the Shimanami Kaido
When you look at the map of the Seto Inland Sea, you will notice that there are two areas: a large sea “NADA” with almost no islands, and a narrow sea “SETO” with dense islands. The area with “Shimanami Kaido” is a place with lots of “SETO”. These islands were upland areas that were raised up by the mountain-building movement about 2 million years ago, and Hiroshima and Ehime were once continuous land. Every islands were once mountains. At the end of the last glacial period about 10,000 years ago, seawater flowed into the Seto Inland Sea, creating a present landscape. By the way, the fossils of the bones of the ancient Nauman elephant can still be caught in fishing nets.
What is standard plan?
🚲This is the standard plan
We have compiled “standard plan to ride across on the Shimanami Kaido with ride bicycle in 2 days”. The most popular plan was extracted from the 16 plans published in the guidebook “Shimanami Toso PLAN” and re-edited.
In case of rain?
☔Shimanami Kaido has few rainy days, but
Weather is also an important factor in outdoor bicycle trips. In addition to the discomfort and risk of catching a cold while getting wet in the rain, the risk of trouble will inevitably increase in riding in the rain, such as falling due to slips.
In wet road conditions, curves on slopes, white lines, manholes, etc. are especially easy to slip, so be careful. Falling can result in serious injury if you are not fast. It is important to pay attention to the surroundings and to ride with enough time and physical strength.
Simple raincoats are also available at convenience stores. Especially on cold days, gloves are also important as it is a measure of cold on the hands. You should use a plastic bag to protect your wallet, passport, smartphone and other important things.
☔Prepare an alternative plan
I can really understand your feeling that you want to go cycling even if the weather is bad because you came from afar, but how about preparing Plan B when it rains? Ehime and Hiroshima also have many places to enjoy even when it rains. By all means, I would like you to bring back some fun memories, not hard memories.
Columns Where is the good place to visit in rains?
Buses to Oshima, Hakatajima and Omishima islands are running from JR Imabari Station and Imabari Port, so you can access them without using bicycles. I think you can enjoy leisurely sightseeing on foot while putting umbrellas in the Setoda area in Ikuchijima island or Oyamazumi Shrine area in Omishima islands. Of course, if you use a rental car or JR, you can create a plan B in a wider area.
4. Ideas for cycling in a wider area of the Seto Inland Sea
🎵Tobishima Kaido and Sazanami Kaido
Shimanami Kaido is not the only cycling route where you can fully enjoy the Seto Inland Sea. “Tobishima Kaido”, seven islands from Okamura Island to Kure city, is also the route good for cycling. Boats are available from Imabari to Okamura Island. And the route connecting these two routes, Shimanami Kaido and Tobishima Kaido, is called “Sazanami Kaido”. Since you’ve come a long way, why not take a few days to go around the Seto Inland Sea?
Tobishima Kaido, which was once said to be “cycling route for intermediate to advanced riders”, has been enhanced in the last few years with the ferry route and rental bike services. The hostels and cafes were opened as well. By using the rental cycle service, one-way cycling on the Tobishima Kaido has become possible.
Imabari city, where our guesthouse located, is good for cycling base. You can combine “Shimanami Kaido touring” and “Tobishima Kaido touring”, or other bicycle path in Ehime prefecture. Some cyclists take on the challenge of traveling around Shikoku. The culture of bicycle travel is spreading from Shimanami Kaido to Ehime prefecture and Shikoku.
5. List of cyclist-friendly accommodations on the Shimanami Kaido
You can find several nice guesthouses and hostels even on the islands of Shimanami Kaido. I think that some guesthouses in Imabari and Onomichi are suitable for starting and ending points for the bicycle trip. I have draw up a list of the recommended cyclist accommodations along the Shimanami Kaido below, classified by north and south areas.
🏨North side (Onomichi side)
|Onomichi||ANAGO NO NEDOKO||One of the most famous guesthouses on Onomichi shopping street. This historical building is filled with refurbished and redesigned furniture. A really impressive guesthouse. Dormitory rooms (Mixed / Female) 2,900 yen~||HP|
|FUJI Hostel||15 minutes on foot from JR Onomichi station. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful. Dormitory rooms (Mixed / Female) 2,500 yen~||HP|
|Hotel CYCLE||A fashionable hotel containing shops, restaurant and a bar, with a focus on cyclists. You can check in your bike and keep it in your room. Twin room 18,200 yen~||HP|
|Mukaishima||GH PAWPAW||New opened guesthouse in the Mukaishima island. The owner loves “Pawpaw” , a kind of tropical papaya fruit. Dormitory rooms 3,300 yen~||HP|
|Ikuchijima||GH NEST||NEST is the guesthouse located in front of Setoda port and it has private rooms. The owner is a couple traveled around the world with their children. Private room 5,000 yen~||HP|
|SETODA Private Hostel||This hostel is located near the Setoda sunset beach. They have a hot water bath with ocean views. It was once a youth hostel, and foreign travelers often stay there. 3,000 yen~||HP|
|Sashima||SHIOMI House||It is a guest house that is a renovation of a traditional Japanese old house in Sashima Island. You will experience a little inconvenient but spiritually affluent lifestyles on the island. Dormitory room 4,000 yen~||HP|
|Yugejima||GH TOKONOMA||A guest house in an old house in the village of Yugejima. There are restaurants and shops nearby, so it is a convenient location while being a remote island. Dormitory room 3,000 yen~||HP|
🏨South side (Imabari side)
|Omishima||TOMARIGI Hostel||Cozy guesthouse without meals opened in 2019. Dormitory beds like small private rooms are so comfortable. One of the best hostel for 2 days cyclists.||HP|
|OHANA||Near Oyamazumi Shrine and located in the centre of the Shimanami Kaido. The 1st floor is an organic cafe and shop, whilst the 2nd floor is a guesthouse. Dormitory rooms 2,800 yen~||HP|
|NAGISA||Nagisa is one of the most popular “minshuku” in Omishima island. The dinner with local fresh fish is really nice. 6,500 yen～ / night (with dinner and breakfast)||HP|
|Hakatajima||GH SALT House||Salthouse is an old Japanese style house that stands in Hakatajima Island, famous for its salt. It was built through self renovating a 70 years old dental clinic in Kinoura town. Private rooms 4,500yen ~||HP|
|Oshima||GH KUME||The guesthouse is located near the fishing port in Oshima island. The owner, Mr. Seki and his wife are very gentle, so everyone likes them. The 40 years old house has been refurbished by DIY with their local friends and opened as the Guesthouse on 2017. Dormitory rooms 2,500yen ~||HP|
|Imabari||GH CYCLONOIE||1 min walk from Imabari JR Station. The staff are also cycling guides for the Shimanami Kaido. You can get lots of cycling information and there is a bicycle garage storage room. There is a small cafe, community room, comfortable dormitory rooms (Mixed / Female) and private rooms. 2,900 yen~||HP|
|GH NAMITO MINATO||10 min from the Kurushima-Kaikyo bridge, the Shimanami Kaido by bike. The building that was Namikata ferry station was remodeled as the guesthouse. Dormitory (Mixed / Female) 2,600 yen~||HP|
|Imabari KOKUSAI Hotel||The landmark of Imabari. This hotel has an extensive selection of recreational facilities, including restaurants and bars, banquet venues, outdoor baths, a pool and a gym. 8,000 yen~||HP|
In addition, I carefully selected other good accommodations (some hotels and hostels, guesthouses) in the Shimanami Kaido to the google map below. A website that summarizes cyclist-friendly accommodations in Ehime Prefecture is useful as well. Please use it as a reference when choosing a place to stay.
If you want to send your luggage on the same day. Please check the availability of the Sagawa delivery service; this is explained more in the next section.
Welcom to CYCLONOIE
If you stay in our guesthouse CYCLONOIE, our local cycling guide staff can provide you with recommendations and tips about the Shimanami Kaido and can help you to plan your perfect trip. Other guests can also share tips and tell you about their experiences cycling the Shimanami Kaido!
How to send luggage?
Needless to say, it’s hard to ride with a heavy backpack. The transport company Sagawa’s “Shimanami Kaido Cycling Without Baggage” service, the same-day luggage transfer service is available between several accommodations.
|GH NAMITO MINATO|
|Onomichi Kokusai Hotel||Takemuraya||Anago no Nedoko|
|Onomichi Daiichi Hotel||Nishiyama||HTS Guest house|
|Onomichi Royal Hotel||Miyako Ryokan||Sakanokaze, Moons Café|
|Greenhill Hotel||Yoro Onsen||ONOMICHI U2|
|Ryokan Urashima||Onomichi Kounoya|
|Sato Ryokan||Otaya Hotel|
|Senkoji Sanso||GH Fuji Hostel|
1. Check the list of available accommodations.
2. Write down the document, pay the charge and leave your luggage at the hostel you are currently staying in.
3. Shimanami Kiado Cycling♪
4. Get your luggage at your next hostel (It will arrive some time before 7pm).
Normal transport service is also available, but it takes more than 1 day to arrive the next place. If you’d like to send your luggage by Sagawa Hands-free cycling service, please inquire at the accommodation where you will stay.
👜Leave your luggage in a locker
Some coin lockers are installed at JR Imabari station and Onomichi station. If you plan to return to your starting point after cycling, please leave your large luggage at these coin lockers, hotels and guesthouses. At our guest house Cyclonoie, luggage storage service for non-accommodation travelers is also available (500 JPY / day / person).
6. Cycling tour by a guide who knows everything about Shimanami Kaido
🚲Special guided tour
Our company, “CycloTourisme Shimanami” has been organising and promoting social events in Imabari and along the Shimanami Kaido since 2009. Our main staff are all experienced cyclists and have been working as cycling guides for many years. We can provide you with a fun filled guided tour and ensure you have a wonderful time exploring the sights and the sounds of this beautiful area. We will propose special plans that meet your needs, physical ability, interests and experience. Please feel free to contact us if you have any requests or questions.
We love to running “slowly”. If it take too fast, we can not see anything. Feeling the sea breeze, getting into the local life on the islands, having local foods…….thus you might make a new discovery, which you have never experienced before.
7. Bicycle rental service often used by guests staying at cyclonoie
Can bikes be hired?
🚲Options for rental bike services
On the Shimanami Kaido, public rental bicycles are cheap and convenient for one-way cycling, making them the most popular among travelers. There are also several private bike rental companies, so if you want to rent a better quality bike or want special services, please use them.
Rental bikes services
Public bicycle rental is the most frequently used on the Shimanami Kaido, but some bicycle shops also offer road bike rental services. The following three services are popular among guests of our guesthouse who traveling on Shimanami Kaido.
[Punlic] There are 10 terminals, many bicycles and models. The most commonly used bicycle rental on the Shimanami Kaido.
High quality road bikes and e-bikes are also available for rent here. There are official stores in both Imabari and Onomichi.
This is road bike and E-bike rental service provided by a bicycle shop in Onomichi. It has a good reputation for its kindness and high quality bicycles.
The “Public” rental bike services, Shimanami Reantal Bike, have 10 bike-stations along the path. This means that these bikes can be dropped off in each islands (except for e-bikes).
●Shimanami Rental Bike Terminal
※Click the icons. You can get the details.
Shimanami rental bike
Hire a bicycle at shimanami rental bike
Bicycle types vary slightly from terminal to terminal. Mostly cross bikes, but several terminals have mountain bikes and children’s bicycles.
Cross bikes and some city bikes are available on this service. The rental fee is 3,000 yen / day*, it includes a rental helmet as well. The most common 2-days cycling plan that traverses the Shimanami Kaido costs a total of 6,000 yen in rental fees for one bike.
|Type||Adult / day||Child / day|
|Electric City Bike||4000||Unavailable|
|Electric Sporty Bike||8000|
The deposit refund system has ended. The rental fee is the same regardless of where you return it. Rental rates have been revised for September 2023.
Some bicycle types have restrictions on where they can be returned (dropped-off points), how many days you can rent it. The details are summarized in this table.
|Type||Drop Off||Multiple Days|
|Cross Bike||All terminals||2 days or more OK|
|City Bike||2 days or more OK|
|Electric City Bike||Only a day|
|Electric Sporty Bike||3 terminals||Only a day|
|Tandem Bike||Same terminal||Only a day|
You can rent cross bikes and city cycles at all terminals. On the other hand, electric city bikes are only available at the Sunrise Itoyama and Onomichi Port, as well as the terminals on Omishima and Ikuchijima Island. All electric city bikes can be returned at any terminal. Electric sporty bikes (E-bikes) are only available for rent at Sunrise Itoyama and Onomichi Port, and they can only be returned at these two locations and the Imabari Station terminal.
The opening and closing times differ depending on the terminal: [opening] 7:00 am~9:00 am [closing] 17:00 pm~20:00 pm. Exceptionally, you can return the bicycle 24 hours at the Imabari Station Cycling Terminal.
|Rental Bike Terminal||Location||Open||Bus stop or port|
|Imabari||JR Imabari Station||In front of Imabari Sta.||8:00 – 20:00||Imabari Station BS|
|Sunrise Itoyama||Foot of the 1 st bridge||8:00 – 20:00||Inconvenient public transportation|
Free car parking
|Oshima||Yoshiumi RT||Yoshiumi Iki-iki Kan||9:00 – 17:00||Inconvenient public transportation|
|Hakatajima||Hakata RT||Hakata SC Park||9:00 – 17:00||Hakatajima BS|
Bus to Imabari Sta.
|Omishima||Kamiura RT||Tatara Shimanami Park||9:00 – 17:00||Omishima BS|
Bus to Imabari Sta.
to Fukuyama Sta.
|Ikuchijima||Setoda Sunset Beach||9:00 – 17:00||Inconvenient public transportation|
|Setoda Information Center||In front of Ikuo Hirayama museum||9:00 – 17:00||Close to Setoda Port|
Ferry to Onomichi
|Innoshima||Habu Port||Municipal Central Car Park||8:30 – 19:00|
or – 18:00
|Habu Port BS|
Bus to Onomichi
Ferry to Imabari, Mihara
|Mukaishima||Civic Center Mukaishima||8:30 – 19:00|
or – 18:00
|Onomichi||Onomichi Port||Ekimae-kowan Car Park||7:00 – 19:00|
8:00 – 18:00
|Close to JR Onomichi Sta.|
|Imabari||Return Only||JR Imabari Station||24 hours|
*Several bicycle rental terminals were consolidated on April, 2022. The Miyakubo RT on Oshima island and the Omishima RT on Omishima island were abolished. And the Imabari port RT has been integrated into the JR Imabari station cycling terminal.
The most nearst terminal from our guesthouse CYCLONOIE is “JR Imabari station cycling terminal”, and it takes 1 minute on foot from CYCLONOIE.
Reservation reception of this service is Shimanami JAPAN Inc., and you can make reservation on the website. This service may not accept advance reservations during busy seasons or when events are held. If you haven’t made a reservation, we recommend going to the terminal early in the morning of the day and waiting for the opening time.
Shimanami JAPAN Inc.
1-4-1, Bekkusho, Imabari city
Hire a bicycle at GIANT STORE
Giant stores, known as a worldwide bicycle manufacturer, is located at JR Imabari station and Onomichi U2. They provide you with the latest model road-bikes for Shimanami Kaido cycling.
An aluminium road-bike can be hired for 5,000~ yen/day. In the case that you want to return the bike at another GIANT store, you need to pay 3,300 yen in addition (just for the road bikes, not for the cross bikes).
|Type – Approximate price||2 days||1 day||5 hours||addition / day||addition / h||one-way|
|Aluminum Road Bike||8,000||5,000||3,500||4,500||1,100||+3,300|
|Carbon Road Bike||12,000||7,000||5,000||5,600||1,600||+3,300|
|Premium Carbon Road Bike||20,000||13,000||9,000||10,400||3,000||unavailable|
|City Bike (Cross Bike)||6,500||4,000||3,000||3,500||900||unavailable|
※Since the rental fee is a fluctuation system, this table indicates the approximate fee.
※The number of bikes is limited for one-way service.
※One-way service is available only for road bikes (1 day or more).
※You can not return it at Giant Store Imabari on every Tuesday.
GIANT store Imabari
1-729-8, Kita-horai cho, Imabari city
〈in JR Imabari station〉
Closed: every Tuesday
GIANT store Onomichi
5-11, nishi-gosyo cho, Onomichi city
〈in ONOMICHI U2〉
Giant Store Imabari is located inside JR Imabari Station. It is a 1 minute walk from our guesthouse Cyclonoie.
Red bicycles Onomichi
Hire a bicycle at THE RED BICYCLES ONOMICHI
The local bike shop “THE RED BICYCLES ONOMICHI” can provide you with a rental entry-level aluminium road bike (Merida). The rental cost is 6,600 yen for 2 days and 9,900 yen for 3 days. These service include a helmet, tire repair tools kits, a headlight and a bike lock. This shop is only in Onomichi so you need to go back to the starting point to return the bike.
A lots of our guests who started Onomichi to our guesthouse CYCLONOIE use the rental bike service of the RED BICYCLES. This rental bike service has a good reputation amongst beginners and foreigners too in the Shimanami Kaido.
THE RED BICYCLES ONOMICHI
1-10-1, Tsuchido, Onomichi city
Closed: every Wed. & Thur.
List of bicycle rental services
The following is a list of companies and shops that operate bicycle rental services on the Shimanami Kaido (excluding public bicycle rental). In addition to this, there are several bicycle rental services for hotel guests.
|Store / Service||Type of bicycle||1 day rental fee||Homepage|
|Giant Store Onomichi||Road Bike, Cross Bike, E-bike, Kids||4,000～||Details >|
|The Red Bicycle Onomichi||Road Bike, E-bike||3,850～||Details >|
|BETTER BICYCLES||City cycle||2,200～||Details >|
|Onomichi Base||Mini Velo, Electric Mini Velo, Cross Bike, Kids||3,500～||Details >|
|Tabitasu (Ikuchijima)||Cross Bike, Mini Bello, Kids Trailer||3,500～||Details >|
|Shiomachitei (Ikuchijima)||Cross Bike||2,000～||Details >|
|Store / Service||Type of bicycle||1 day rental fee||Homepage|
|Giant Store Imabari||Road Bike, Cross Bike, E-bike, Kids||4,000～||Details >|
|CYCLEFIX||Road Bike||3,500～||Details >|
|CycloTourisme Shimanami||Touring Bike and Camping Gear||8,000～||Details >|
|Wakka (Omishima)||E-bike||8,000～||Details >|
If you really want to use this rental service for one-way cycling, you can ask the cycle taxi company WAKKA for bicycle transport and return agency services. Of course it’s the service for a fee.
8. Sightseeing spots and restaurants on the islands of the Shimanami Kaido
What are the tourist attractions?
Calm sea, wonderfully scenic islands and magnificent bridges……OK, I’ll introduce my favorite places in the Shimanami Kaido.
Planning your cycling trip of Shimanami Kaido at CYCLONOIE, and get the bicycle at the rental bike terminal at JR Imabari Station. Some travelers use taxis and buses to reach the bicycle rental terminal near the bridge.
The signboard “Shimanami Kaido 0 km” have been set up right next to Guesthouse CYCLONOIE, close to JR Imabari Station. This is a good photo spot that I can recommend for you when you start or finish cycling. And the CYCLONOIE also sells original souvenirs such as Shimanami T-shirts and bicycle designed towels. Welcome everyone.
🏝1st island of the Shimanami Kaido
Oshima is an island the outer circumference of about 34km, with a population of about 8,000. Every route has one or more uphills, and the coastal route on the east side of the island has many ups and downs and is suitable for advanced riders. The route I recommend is about 13km.
The central route on the island is a bit boring, so if the weather is nice you should follow the coastal route. The road between Kurushima kaikyo brdge and Rose pake is completely smooth with nice ocean views.
The first bridge “Kurushima-kaikyo bridge” connects Imabari to Oshima island, it’s the longest bridge (4km) on the Shimanami Kaido. The bikeway is completely separated from the highway and from the bridge you can see the wonderful views of the small islands. Running over the sea……..
The main business of Oshima island is Granite stones for buildings or gravestones. The stones made in Oshima island call “Oshima-ishi” which is really expensive stones, and they have been used to architecture of “the National Diet Building” in Tokyo.
The sea area around Oshima is a difficult place in Setouchi, which is known for having one of the fastest tidal currents in Japan. Sometimes you can see a big whirlpool with tremendous force. There are two boats on the island where you can experience this torrent.
|Kurushima Kaikyo torrent tide boat||Yoshiumi Iki-iki Kan||Kurushima Kaikyo tides and whirlpools, Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge, small islands, shipyards||Details >|
|Miyakubo Seto tidal current boat||Noshima Suigun||Murakami Pirates’s Noshima Castle Ruins, Funaoriseto Current, Hakukata Oshima Bridge||Details >|
Any good place to visit in Oshima?
The reason why the main route of Oshima island have two hills and you can not see any beautiful sea, I recommend you the seaside route. However the east coast is followed by cliff, so the west coast is the best. And you can find nice beach and old fishing village.
“Nagahama Beach” is one of the most beautiful beach in the Oshima island. The beach appears as you get off the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge. You should be able to take good photos with the great bridge and the beautiful sea.
・Island explorer route
The southwest coastline route of Oshima island, from Kurushima-Kaikyo bridge to Rose park, is completely flat and the landscape is lovely. The route is also guided with the blue color line on the road as “Island Explore”. You will be able to see the landscape of a real Japanese fishing village.
・Mt. Kiro obsevatory
“Mt. Kiro Observatory Park (Kirosantenbo Park)” is one of the places you should visit. The altitude at the top of the mountain is about 300m but if you can make it to the top (about 3km) you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view!
Any good restaurants or cafes to visit on Oshima?
We would like to introduce you to the cozy bakery and cafes, restaurants we recommend in Oshima island.
・”Paysan” Bakery and Cafe
This local bakery is one of the most popular cafes with cyclists doing the Shimanami Kaido, however, it’s only open on Fridays and Sundays. It’s also a little hard to find, but it’s definitely worth it if you have the time. Why don’t you give it a visit and try their delicious food!
・Coriolis Coffee (Coriolis-sha)
“Coriolis Coffee,” which used to provide coffee at stalls and kitchen cars in a corner of the island, has been reborn as a store of home-roasted coffee and books by renovating an old private house. The roasting machine hand-rolled carefully roasts each grain and makes you feel warm. Selected new and used books are also good.
・Restaurant Noshima Suigun
The restaurant “Noshima-suigun” managed by a fishermen’s cooperative in Oshima. The seafood BBQ is prepared using choice local ingredients that you can eat only here.
|Paysan||11am – 17pm||Mon. – Thurs.||Google Map >|
|Coriolis Coffee||12pm – 17pm||Irregular||Google Map >|
|Noshima-suigun||11am – 16pm||Mon.||Google Map >|
🏝2nd island of the Shimanami Kaido
Hakatajima is an island the outer circumference of about 20km, with a population of about 8,000. This island has long been famous for its salt production called “Hakata Salt”. Currently, shipping, shipbuilding and shrimp farming are popular.
The main cycling route in Hakatajima is just 3km, which is only a small part of this island. So we recommend that you bike around the island’s coast; it’s less than 20km and nearly always flat. You can see some beautiful scenery and enjoy the peace and quiet of rural island life.
Any good restaurants or cafes to visit in Hakatajima?
We would like to introduce you to special cafes and restaurant on Hakatajima island.
・Patisserie T’s cafe Tamaya
“Patisserie T’s cafe Tamaya” is a stylish cafe on Hakatajima island. As you open the door of the cafe you will be greeted with a row of colourful cakes beckoning you in. At the special seats near the window you can admire the wonderful, sparkling ocean view whilst eating a cake made by pastry chef Mr.Kunisada, baked fresh and served with a cup of aromatic coffee. The lunch menu including clock mush, pizza, and curry…are also delicious.
・Sanwa salt ramen
Sanwa is the most famous ramen shop in Shimanami Kaido. The shop is located in Kinoura area where is the biggest town in Hakatajima island. Ramen using the salt, the special product of Hakatajima, is popular among bicycle travelers.
|Patisserie T’s cafe Tamaya||10am – 19pm||Sun.||Google Map >|
|Sanwa||11am – 19pm||Sun.||Google Map >|
Any good place to visit in Hakatajima?
One of the reasons why we want to recommend that you go around Hakatajima island is because the ocean and beaches are really beautiful……..
A quiet beachfront located just outside the outer circumference route. It is a natural sandy beach with a feeling of openness, a place where you can forget time while watching the calm ocean waves.
Mt.Hirakiyama is a small mountain with an altitude of 133 meters on the west side of Hakatajima Island. There is a three-story observatory in Hirakiyama Park near the top of the mountain, from which you can see the three bridges and islands: Hakuta Oshima Bridge, Omishima Bridge, and Tatara Bridge. It is a scenic view as if you were standing in the center of the Shimanami Kaido. The scenery of spring cherry blossoms will be an unforgettable scenery for the rest of your life.
Sasagejima, a small island that floats a little away from the outer route of Hakatajima Island. Normally, it is a small island that is not unusual, but a rare phenomenon called the “tonboro” that continues on land occurs only at low tide. If you can see this, that’s super lucky. There may be good things in the future.
・Hakata SC Park
Making salt was the main industry on Hakatajima for a long time. Why don’t you try the salt ice cream at “Hakata SC Park”. It’s great on hot summers day.
🏝3rd island of the Shimanami Kaido
Omishima is located in the center of Shimanami Kaido, so it is suitable for a 2-day cycling trip. There are many migrants from cities such as Tokyo and Osaka on this island with a peaceful and beautiful scenery. Nice cafes, shops and guesthouses have been opened one after another. It is recommended to stay on this island for a long time.
“Omishima bridge” is the oldest bridge on the Shimanami Kaido. This bridge also has a bikeway separated from the road so you can overlook the beautiful sea and islands without worrying about traffic.
This island is the biggest island on the Shimanami Kaido, the route around it is about 45 km. There are some museums, restaurants, cafes and great viewing spots. Stay here! You’ll love this island. Our recommendations are shown below.
The other bridge on Omishima island is called”Tatara Bridge” which you cross to reach the next island, Ikuchijima. It is one of the most beautiful bridges on the Shimanami Kaido and a lot of cyclists usually take a break at the “Tatara Shimanami Park” at the foot of the bridge as it’s about half way along the route. You can also find funny bicycle stands here!
Omishima island is also known as the “island of Gods” because the great “Oyamazumi Shrine” is located there. There are many 2000 – 3000 year-old camphor trees near the shrine and it’s well worth a visit.
This Shrine was also once one of the most important shrines in Japan for samurai and as a result, it hosts an impressive collection of weapons and armour making it a mecca for people interested in samurai and the martial arts.
There are a few museums on Omishima including “The Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture”, “The Tokoro Museum Omishima” and “The Ken Iwata Mother and Child Museum” all located at various scenic spots along the southwest side of the island. They’re a little difficult to visit by bike, but if you get the ferry from Imabari to Munagata port, it’s a lot easier.
|Oyamazumi Shrine Treasure Museum||Armor and swords of national treasures and important cultural properties||Details >|
|Tokoro Museum Omishima||Approximately 30 contemporary art sculptures on display||Details >|
|Ken Iwata Museum of Mother and Child||43 sculptures by sculptor Ken Iwata||Details >|
|Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture||Two buildings and exhibits by architect Toyo Ito||Details >|
Any wonderful restaurants or shops?
Omishima is an island with many immigrants from cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, and in recent years, wonderful cafes and shops have opened one after another.
Mr. Yamazaki and his wife moved to the island and started growing organic lemons to make homemade liqueur “Limoncello”. Enjoy their lovely liqueur shop “Omishima Limone”. Besides liqueurs, original items using lemon and lemon goods fill the store .The shop is as cute as a button.
“Yoshikawa” is a local restaurant where you can eat local fish dishes and seafood bowls. The shop offers many fresh and tasty fish dishes. It’s located near Oyamazumi Shrine.
“Marumado Bakery ” is an island bakery that opened in April 2018 in Inokuchi, Kamiura-cho, not far from the Tatara Bridge on Omishima Island. Mr. and Mrs. Komatsu, who have moved to Omishima, are the only bakeries on the island that have a homely atmosphere. Bread made with mandarin yeast and sandwiches made with local ingredients from Omishima are all delicious.
“Omishima Brewery” is the first craft beer brewery and cafe bar on the Shimanami Kaido. Originally a Minoh beer brewer, Mr. Takahashi became independent and moved to Omishima to start this workshop. Three fermentation tanks are lined up next to the bar space where there is also a tatami room, and I’m really looking forward to what kind of beer I can drink from now on. Of course, drunk riding is strictly prohibited, so let’s enjoy the island by staying overnight at Omishima.
|Omishima Limone||11am – 17pm||Tues. and Fri.||Google Map >|
|Yoshikawa||11am – 15pm, 17pm – 20pm||Irregular||Google Map >|
|Marumado Bakery||11：30am –||Sun. to Wed.||Google Map >|
|Omishima Brewery||12pm – 19:30pm||Tues. and Wed.||Google Map >|
🏝4th island of the Shimanami Kaido
Ikuchijima island or “Lemon island”, as it’s known is a place where lemons are grown on a large scale and where even the mountains turn yellow in in winter time. You can find some shops along the cycling path selling lemon cakes. Delicious and popular.
Several temples and museums are also famous along the Shimanami Kaido. “Kosanji temple” was founded in 1936 by a successful businessman “Kozo Kosanji” who was inspired by the devotion of his mother. Several colourful buildings are replicas of famous buildings in Japan. “Hirayama Ikuo Museum of Art”, a museum dedicated to the artist Hirayama Ikuo, hosts many of the great artist’s works.
Many of the monuments scattered on Ikuchijima Island are works of an art project called “Setoda Biennale” about 30 years ago. At present, a total of 17 art works are displayed in various places as “Shimagoto Museum: whole island museum” (although it is a difficult task to go around all 17 …)
Any wonderful restaurants or shops?
You can enjoy many of the locals’ favourite foods like fried mashed potato and roast chicken on the “Shiomachi shopping street” in Ikuchijima. Octopus and conger eel are a favorite in the area. Lots of cyclists also visit “Dolce” and eat Italian-style ice cream made with local lemon and oranges. Let’s take a break!
・Bicycle cafe Shiomachitei
The bicycle cafe and bar “Shiomachitei” on the Shiomachi shopping street is well known among the cyclists on the Shimanami kaido. The house was built in the Edo period. It is a cafe that the owner couple who like bicycles and music started opening in 2015.
・cafe VIA shimanami
Originally a cafe popular among cyclists near the Arakawa Cycling Road in Saitama Prefecture. The second store was opened in the Shiomachi shopping street on Ikuchijima Island, and tourists on the Shimanami Kaido often stop by. This shop also sells original cycle jerseys.
This shop is a complex tourist facility that houses lounges, cafes, and accommodations where locals and tourists gather. Of the two buildings, one is a renovated old warehouse with a coffee roaster.
|Dolce||10am – 17pm||Google Map >|
|Shiomachitei||11am – 18pm||Mon.||Google Map >|
|cafe VIA shimanami||9am – 17pm||Tues. – Thurs.||Google Map >|
|Soil Setoda||8am – 21pm||Google Map >|
🏝5th island of the Shimanami Kaido
Crossing the Ikuchi bridge, you can get into Innoshima island. West side of Innoshima is nearly flat but east side has lots of ups and downs, so that is advanced route. In this island, fishing is main economic activity like other islands, but there is also agriculture, especially citrus called “Hassaku” and pyrethrum flowers, and even shipbuilding is also main industry.
Since Innoshima was one of Murakami navy’s base, the castle called “Innoshima suigun castle” is also still exist in this island.
・Manda Fermentation’s HAKKO Park
“HAKKO Park”, opened by the representative company of Innoshima “Manda Fermentation” next to its head office, is ideal for cycling breaks. The park is free to enter and has an excellent café and shop. It is a hot place now for cyclists traveling on the Shimanami Kaido.
・Okonomiyaki and Habu shopping street
There was a time when “Habu shopping street” on Innoshima once flourished due to the huge shipbuilding company nearby. The specialty in this area is “Okonomiyaki”, Japanese-style pancake made from egg, flour and water with lots of toppings. You can eat it in the local Okonomiyaki restaurant on Habu street.
Hassaku daifuku is a kind of Japanese confection consisting of a Hassaku orange inside ‘daifuku’, which is a rice cake stuffed with sweet bean paste. Hassakuya has prepared a space that can take a break with coffee and tea, that is absolutely good for bike tourists, and the view of the Innoshima Ohashi Bridhe from there is so nice.
🏝6th island of the Shimanami Kaido
After Innoshima bridge, Mukaishima is the last island on the Shimanami Kaido. “Mukai” means “Opposite” in Japanese, it’s name coming from the fact that it’s on opposite side of the channel from Onomichi. From Mukaishima to Onomichi, you have to take the ferry with your bike as Onomichi Bridge is very unsafe for cyclists. Don’t worry its only about 100 yen for you and your bicycle!
The places we recommend on Mukaishima include “tsubuta SANK!” craft ice cream shop with the view of the sea, “Goto Soda Factory” which is a traditional soda pop factory ,”Ushio Chocolatl” which is a hand-made chocolate factory, and Pancake cafe “Willows Nursery”. Both are very popular among cyclists. You should reward yourself for completing the Shimanami Kaido and give them a visit before getting on the ferry!
|Ochi Okonomiyaki||11am – 17pm||Tues.||Google Map >|
|Hassakuya||8am – 18pm||Google Map >|
|Goto Soda Factory||9am – 16pm||Sun.||Google Map >|
|tsubuta SANK!||8:30am – 17pm||Tues. – Thurs.||Google Map >|
|Ushio Chocolatl||10am – 16:30pm||Sun.||Google Map >|
|Willows Nursery||11am – 16pm||Tues. and Wed.||Google Map >|
🚲The goal of the Shimanami Kaido
The new station building of Onomichi Station was opened in March 2019. It is the shopping complex with souvenir shops, cafes, hotels and bicycle rentals. You can freely access the observation deck on the second floor.
Onomichi is hilly port town, well known for its historic temples and narrow alley explore. You can find many cats here and there, so Onomichi is also known as the cat town. Lots of cafes and grocery stores have been opened here in the last few years. Onomichi is the one of the places you should visit in your Japanese Tour.
9. How to travel the Shimanami Kaido by bus or boat
Any ferries available?
🚢Several ferry routes are convenient
I have compiled a timetable focusing on the ferry routes that travelers often use for cycling on the Shimanami Kaido and Tobishima Kaido. We update the latest information as much as possible, but please be sure to check the official website. The ferries can allow you to enjoy cycling a small part of the Shimanami Kaido and can also aide you if have an accident or problem along the way.
Imabari ⇔ Habu (Innoshima) Website >
*Ship #2 and #5 cannot carry bicycles. Available to passengers only.
*Ship #4 and #6 cannot carry bicycles. Available to passengers only.
Imabari ⇔ Munakata (Omishima) Website >
Setoda (Ikuchijima) ⇔ Onomichi Website >
*This timetable for the route between Setoda and Onomichi changes frequently. Please be sure to check the latest information.
For example, Setoda town (Ikuchijima island) is the best place to quit cycling. You can return the bike at Setoda rental bike terminal and then, can take a ferry to Onomichi from there.
Any buses available?
🚌Some bus routes are convenient
There is currently no direct bus connecting Imabari and Onomichi. On the Shimanami Kaido, the highway buses “Shimanami Liner” that connects Imabari Station and Fukuyama Station, the local buses from Imabari Station to Omishima, and the local buses from Habu Port to Onomichi Station are often used after the rental cycle is returned.
The orange colored line, shows the buses between “Imabari-Ekimae” and “Oyamazumi Shrine（Oyamazumi Jinjya）”.There are 16 buses / day. “Omishima BS” are located near the rental bike terminals so it’s easy to take the bus after you finish cycling.
When going from Imabari Station to Onomichi Station, please transfer to the Shimanami Liner bound for Fukuyama and the local bus bound for Onomichi at Innoshima Ohashi BS.
10. How to deal with trouble when cycling the Shimanami Kaido
What to do if troubles such as a flat tire occur?
🔧Fee-based on-site repair services
If you have any bicycle please check where the nearest rental terminal is. If it is not too far, you should go to the terminal and ask them to change your bicycle. Don’t be afraid to ask other cyclists along the way, they’ll probably help you and many of them are more than likely experienced cyclists.
There are also several auto‐repair shops and filling‐stations which offer support known as “Toso Rescue”. If you find the red coloured flag pictured below in these shops, the staff might repair your flat tire.
“Shimanami Cycle Saver” service is an outwork flat-tire repair system and is also available on Saturday and Sunday (10am – 17pm). This service is only available on Oshima, Hakatajima, and Omishima island. Reception: Kamiura Rental Bike Terminal (Tel: 0897-87-3855)
WAKKA in Omishima, the cycle taxi company has started cloudcomprehensive cycling support service such as cycle taxi, on-site repair, rental-bike return and same-day transport. Although it depends on the island, it will provide first aid for bicycle troubles such as flat tire repair, chain problems, brake adjustment, irregular adjustment and the cost is just on-site repair charge ＋ part cost.
If you can fix a flat tire yourself, bring a flat tire repair kit. Even if you don’t bring an inflator, you can rent it at Cycle Oasises. Also, there are usually DIY shops on every island in the Shimanami Kaido, where they sell flat tire repair kits.
How to reduce pain in the buttocks?
🎯Saddle cover with gel is probably good
“It was hard for my buttocks to hurt.” This is a sentence I often hear from people who cycle long distances on a rental cycle for the first time. Even if you are cycling in the spectacular view of Shimanami Kaido, the condition that your butt hurts all the time brings unpleasant cycling.
You may wear cycling pants with cushions on your hips, but it’s a bit expensive considering a one-time use. So why not prepare a “saddle cover with gel”? By attaching the cover containing the gel to the saddle, it suppresses impact and rubbing. It is also sold at giant stores and local bicycle stores.
Other than the shape and hardness, one of the causes is that the height of the saddle does not match. Before you leave, adjust the height so that the toes of both feet touch the ground. It is important to find a height that allows you to turn your legs smoothly.
What should I prepare in advance?
Of course, when cycling on the Shimanami Kaido, it is important to wear “easy-to-move clothes”. There are many ups and downs on the Shimanami Kaido. Especially in winter, the uphill is hot and the downhill is cold, so be sure to wear clothes that are easy to put on and take off.
☀Sun protection is important
The area of Shimanami Kaido has strong sunlight. Sun protection is important because you will be exposed to the sun all morning. Sunglasses as well as sunscreen will help reduce fatigue.
⛑A helmet is also supplied
Helmets can also be rented for rental bicycles in the Shimanami Kaido area. It seems that there are many accidents such as “If you were wearing a helmet, it would not have been such a big accident.” Even if you think it’s hot or annoying, you should definitely wear a helmet.
Can I buy drinking water on the way?
💧Not difficult to get drinking water
There are vending machines, convenience stores and shops on the islands of Shimanami Kaido, so you don’t need to prepare too much water. A 500ml PET bottle can also be attached to the drink holder attached to the rental cycle. Dehydration may occur not only in the summer but also in the winter, so be sure to replenish it frequently.
11. Some information you might want to know about cycling on the Shimanami Kaido
Place of departure
Which should start, Imabari or Onomichi?
📌Imabari start is recommended
Whether you start Onomichi or Imabari, the difficulty of biking does not change much. However, there are slight differences, so I will introduce them. When planning to ride the Shimanami Kaido, the first thing to decide may be the starting position. The question “Which should I start from, Imabari or Onomichi?” Is a frequently asked question from those who are planning. Many cyclists may choose Onomichi as their starting point. This is probably because transportation access such as the Shinkansen and Sanyo Main Line is convenient. However,
- ・Pass through the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge and Oshima in the early stages
- ・Strong winds are often blowing from the Imabari side
- ・The route of the ship is better on the Onomichi side, and it is easier to retire on the way
- ・Easy access to Hiroshima and Osaka after cycling
The above benefits are available when you start Imabari. Too strong headwinds hinder comfortable cycling. You may be able to change the starting position of the day using a highway bus or boat. Onomichi start, on the other hand, has the following merits.
- ・You can rent a bicycle early in the morning （Onomichi Port 7:00～）
- ・In Imabari, you can return the rental bikes until late.
- ・The climax of the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge is impressive
The advantage of being able to rent a bicycle for a long time may be one of the factors that should start Onomichi.
What season is the best?
🚲Cyclists visit all year round
The scenery of the islands shows various expressions depending on the season. The highlights and delicious foods, as well as the planning and preparation of cycling will change. Please enjoy the Shimanami Kaido in each of the four seasons.
The Seto Inland Sea has a warm climate with few rainy days. You can enjoy cycling all year round, except during the rainy season from mid-June to early July and on special weather days such as typhoons. I made a graph of the monthly average temperature in the Shimanami Kaido area (Imabari City). The gray shaded area shows the range between the daily maximum temperature and the daily minimum temperature.
*Data from the Japan Meteorological Agency website (1981-2010)
My personal favorite is winter biking. As with a marathon, I feel that a little colder is less of a burden on the body during long-distance exercise. In addition, there is almost no snow in this area. In winter, there are extremely few rainy days, and especially in December and January, sunny days with clear air continue. The benefits and precautions of cycling vary depending on the season.
|Advantages||・Long daylight hours|
・The bulk of clothing is small
・Activities such as camping is good
|・The air is clear|
・Lemon and tangerine are in season。
・Without sweating too much
・Relatively few travelers and quiet
|Notes||・Measures against heat stroke and sunburn|
|・Check the sunset time and avoid riding at night|
・Cold protection measures that are easy to put on and take off
Since the daylight hours are quite different between summer and winter, it is important to check the time of sunset and plan with plenty of time. Most cyclists are between March-May and August-November. I think it’s best to avoid it during consecutive holidays such as Golden Week, when there are too many people to rent a bicycle.
1 day cycling
What is the plan in one day?
🌀For person who don’t have much time
I have selected four recommended cycling plans for those who spend only one day on the Shimanami Kaido. Guests at Cyclonoie often go cycling with this plan. You can enjoy a part of Shimanami Kaido by using a bus or a boat. It’s a good idea to choose a plan depending on what scenery you want to see and which island you are interested in.
The difficulty level indicated by the star mark is a guideline when the plan to ride from Imabari to Onomichi in one day is set to 5 stars.
① Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge + Oshima
This is a plan to rent a bicycle in Imabari and cycle the “Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge” and the first island “Oshima”. This plan is recommended for those who want to experience Shimanami Kaido Cycling the easiest.
Difficulty ★☆☆☆☆ Distance 20～30km
② From Imabari to Omishima (return by bus)
This is a plan to rent a bicycle from Imabari to Omishima. On the way back, board the bus bound for Imabari from Omishima. Kamiura rental cycle terminal on Omishima can be used as a drop-off point for bicycles, and there is no need to change buses from Omishima to Imabari. The rental cycle terminal is close to the bus stop, and there is about one bus per hour. If you get tired on the way, you can return your bicycle at Oshima or Hakatajima and return to Imabari by bus.
Difficulty ★★★☆☆ Distance 30～50km
③ Enjoy one or two islands
First of all, select one or two islands of your interest. This is a plan to cycle one or two islands. Each island is unexpectedly large, so it takes more time than you think to go around.
Difficulty ★★☆☆☆ Distance 20～50km
④ From Imabari to Ikuchijima (Setoda Port)
This is a plan to cycle only the southern half of the Shimanami Kaido. I rented a bicycle in Imabari and set Ikuchijima (Setoda) as the goal. A passenger ship operates from Setoda Port to Onomichi, so after the goal, take this ship to Onomichi. It’s about half the total length, so you can take your time to explore the islands all day long.
Difficulty ★★★★☆ Distance 40～50km
Can even beginners go to the observatory?
⛰Some of the climbs to the observatory are tough
The scenery from “Kirosan Observatory” on Oshima, which is always published in tourist guidebooks and pamphlets and is often used in videos introduced as Shimanami Kaido on TV. There are many people who want to visit the spectacular view of the beautiful islands that represent the Shimanami Kaido, but there are some things to be aware of for those who ride sports bicycles for the first time and those who rent a bicycle.
Each island has an observatory that is worth seeing, but of course all of them have an altitude of 100 to 300 m, so you need to have some time and physical strength. For example, the aforementioned “Kirosan Observatory” has a climbing distance of about 3km at an altitude of 308m. The average slope is quite severe at 10%, and in the case of a non-electric bicycle rental, it is better to think of walking up (comparison: the slope of the approach road to the bridge is about 3%). On the other hand, if you have a bicycle with electric assist, you can climb without problems.
And more important to note is the downhill after enjoying the observatory. It is difficult to control the speed on steep slopes, there are many blind curves, and one mistake can lead to a major accident. I think it’s a good idea to walk down. There are no fixed-route buses to most of the observatories, so you can use an island taxi as an alternative to biking or walking.
Some observatories are sometimes referred to as “sunset spots”, but I personally do not recommend going up to the observatory to see the sunset by bicycle. This is because there are few street lights and it is very dangerous to drive in the dim light after sunset, especially downhill. You may have the option of taking a safe approach and, in some cases, refraining from cycling unfamiliar to the observatory. Below is a list of observatories that I personally like the scenery.
|Imabari||Itoyama Observatory Park||60m||1.1km||It is easily accessible from the middle of the uphill to the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge.||★☆☆☆☆|
|Oshima||Mt. Kirosan||301m||2.7km||A view that represents the Shimanami Kaido, where you can see the scenery of the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge, small islands, and ships passing by. The observatory is built by Kengo Kuma.||★★★★★|
|Hakatajima||Mt. Hirakiyama||148m||2.0km||There is an observatory in the park at the top of the mountain, and a 360-degree panorama where you can see Oshima Bridge, Omishima Bridge, and Tatara Bridge. Spring is a famous place for cherry blossoms.||★★★☆☆|
|Innoshima||Mt. Shiratakiyama||227m||1.8km||10 minutes walk from the parking lot. The islands of the Shimanami Kaido seen through the stone Buddhas of the 500 Arhats. You can also see the Innoshima Bridge.||★★★☆☆|
|Iwagijima||Mt. Sekizenyama||370m||5.0km||An observatory that makes you feel as if you can see the entire Shimanami Kaido. The 3000 cherry blossom season is crowded.||★★★★☆|
|Onomichi||Senkoji Temple||143m||1.2km||The spectacular view of the Onomichi channel is the highlight of the trip. 30 minutes walk from the alley of Onomichi or by ropeway.||★☆☆☆☆|
How to bring own bicycle?
There are many people who want to ride the Shimanami Kaido on a bicycle that they are accustomed to riding instead of renting a bicycle. In this case, there are many three patterns: (1) loading a bicycle in a private car, (2) bringing a bicycle by public transportation, and (3) transporting the bicycle to the site by a delivery service.
🚊Special bike bag is required in train
In Japan, if you carry your bicycle by public transportation (2), you must pack it in a special bag. Remove the front and rear wheels of the bicycle, and fold the folding bike down and pack it in a special bag called a wheel bag. (Whether the baggage fare is necessary or not, and whether it is possible or impossible to travel in the first place depends on the rules of each public transportation system). Intermediate to advanced cyclists often carry their bicycles by JR or airplane to visit the Shimanami Kaido, which is convenient because there are bicycle assembly spaces at both Imabari Station and Onomichi Station.
All JR trains can be loaded with bicycles in bags. Buses that run in the Shimanami Kaido area are also usually available. Airport buses at Hiroshima Airport and Matsuyama Airport are also available.
✈Bicycle assembly space at airports
At Hiroshima Airport, the “Bicycle Hub” is equipped with a bicycle stand, special tools, an inflator, and a changing room for changing clothes. There is also a “cardboard storage area for bicycles” for disposal and storage of cardboard. On the other hand, a bicycle assembly space is also available at Matsuyama Airport in Ehime Prefecture. Inflator and tool rental are provided here, and a cycle station and changing room are fully equipped, and cardboard storage service and baggage transportation service are also provided.
Can I take a shower after cycling?
🚿There are several shower rooms
In the Shimanami Kaido area, shower rooms that can be used by cyclists are being developed. We have compiled information on showers and public baths that are useful when you want to take a shower after riding a bicycle and before getting on the train.
There are plenty of places to take a shower and public baths around JR Onomichi Station and JR Imabari Station. After sweating to your heart’s content, take a shower or hot spring to refresh yourself. Enjoy comfortable Shimanami Kaido cycling.
|Imabari||Shower||Giant Store Imabari||9:00-19:00||400 yen||Free for Giant’s rent-a-bicycle users.|
|Imabari||Shower||Cyclonoie||16:00-21:00||400 yen||Free for hotel’s guests.|
|Imabari||Shower||Sunrise Itoyama||8:00-17:00||100 yen||Bicycle rental users only.|
|Imabari||Onsen||Kisuke no yu||10:00-24:00||650 yen～||Near JR Imabari station.||Available|
|Imabari||Public bath||Horai Onsen||15:00-21:00||400 yen||Near JR Imabari station. Traditional.|
|Omishima||Shower||Michinoeki Mishima||8:30-17:00||200 yen||Equipment in the roadside station.|
|Omishima||Onsen||10:00-20:00||310 yen||A natural hot spring near the Tatara Bridge.|
|Omishima||Public bath||Mare Grassia||10:00-20:30||500 yen||Seawater bathing facility.||Available|
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|630 yen||A hotel on a hill with a great view.||Available|
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|900 yen||A hotel on Iwagi Island with a nice view.||Available|
|Onomichi||Shower||Onomichi U2||7：00-21:30||100 yen / 5 min||Shower facility facing the road on the north side of Onomichi U2.|
|Onomichi||Public bath||Kurihara Onsen||15:00-21:00||430 yen||Many local users. Traditional.||Available|
|Onomichi||Public bath||Daieiyu||16:00-21:00||430 yen||Many local users. Traditional.|
If you plan to cycle the next day again, it is important to take care to recover from fatigue. A hot and cold alternating bath using a sauna is also effective.
Thank you for reading
Lots of tourists who enjoy cycling and have cycled the Shimanami Kaido stay at our Gusethouse Cyclonoie, so why not come and share your experiences with us and our guests! We are always happy when people share their feelings and thoughts of both the Inland Seto Sea and the Shimanami Kaido. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying “It was an amazing experience”, or that “It was an awesome cycling route” or that “It was one of your best experiences in Japan!”, you wouldn’t be the first! As residents of the Shimanami Kaido and bicycle enthusiasts, these happy sentiments are always encouragement for us working here and we really hope we can be of some help to you when you are planning your trip. We, the staff at Cyclonoie are looking forward to meeting you! Thanks for reading and safe travels!