Meguro is known as one of the best spots to watch the Sakura, especially the Meguro River. The view of sakura trees lining up on both sides of the river is beautiful. There is also a pedestrian only areas where you can take a very pleasant walk under the sakura trees. A very lovely place. However, there are also a lot of people who avoid this place because it can gets very crowded especially during weekends. Lucky for me, I live very close to the river. I could go there in the morning when there are less people, so I could enjoy the gorgeous view all for myself. And believe me, nothing beats running under the sakura trees in the morning. Happiness.
The second part of the Shimanami Kaido. We're going to continue where we left off, and that is the Ikuchijima Island, the most interesting island compares to others.
I forgot to mention this before. Before crossing to Ikuchijima Island, make sure to stop by at the rest area and eat the Hakata Salt Soft Ice Cream. It's delicious and some people actually come far away to the island to eat the ice cream. There is also one in Hakatajima Island, but it was closed when I passed it (Hakata S.C. Park).
Shimanami Kaido was the main reason why I went to Shikoku. A few months ago, I had an urge to experience something different, something unique, something challenging during this year. I finally decided to take a journey biking along the Shimanami Kaido.
So what is this Shimanami Kaido ? Shimanami Kaido ( しまなみ海道 ) is an expressway which links the main islands of Honshu and Shikoku through a series of bridges and 6 islands ( Mukaishima, Innoshima, Ikuchijima, Omishima, Hakatajima and Oshima ). The best part about it is that you can travel the Shimanami Kaido by bicycle. Cycling is a very popular way of experiencing the Shimanami Kaido. The bicycle route is well maintained, and there are lots of sign pointing you to the right direction so you don't need to worry about getting lost.
The beginner normal bicycle route is about 70 kilometers long. With a little bit of push, you can travel the route within 8 hours. Along the route, there are plenty of places you can visit such as temples and museums. I ended up cycling up to 100 km long. It was quite tough, but a very rewarding experience.
Usually people starts from Onomichi ( Honshu ) to Imabari ( Shikoku ), but I decided to go the other way around from Imabari to Onomichi. Click here to see the route that I took.
Due to the amount of photos, I will split the post into two.
Matsuyama Castle (松山城) is definitely the best Castle I've been in Japan. The castle stands proud above the hill, right in the middle of the town. This castle is one of the preserved castle. It is still original, with a little bit of repair here and there because of the fire long time ago. It also offers you a gorgeous view of the city from the top. There is also a place where you can dress up as a samurai inside. And for non Japanese speakers, rejoice ! All of the history and description have very good English translation. It is a very impressive castle.
There are four main islands in Japan: Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Shikoku ( 四国 = Four Countries ) is the smallest of the four. It is considered to be the forgotten island among the four. People rarely go to Shikoku. Guide books don't bother mentioning about this island. Even my friend questioning my decision to go to this island.
Let me tell you that Shikoku is Japan's hidden gem. There are lots of thing to do here. Some of them are pretty wild, but if you like outdoor, nature, adventures, and willing to spend some time to venture into the inner part of this place, you will be rewarded with amazing scenic views, natural beauty untouched by human.
I only had a few days off to enjoy the island, but I definitely want to go back to Shikoku again.
I will split the Shikoku review into separated posts, starting from Matsuyama.
Last month I had a chance to visit to Shuunan City in Yamaguchi Prefecture for business trip. The city itself doesn't offer any interesting sightseeing spot, however the city does have a lot of delicious food to offer.
One of them that I really want to introduce is the Teuchi Udon Kuukai (手打うどんくうかい), the best udon that I've had eaten so far.