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.
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.
You can bring your own bike or you can rent a bike. The bike rental costs 500 yen per day, plus a 1000 yen deposit which is refundable ONLY if you return the bike to the SAME station. There are lots of bike terminal where you can drop off your bicycle along the way so there is no need to make the round trip, unless you want to.
I stayed at Itoyama Sunrise. The only hotel available at the start the cycling terminal. Nice hotel and you can rent a bike from there. Make sure you reserve one in advance.
There is no other restaurant or convenient store around here, so you're stuck with the food from hotel's restaurant. Fortunately, the food was quite delicious.
Planning my trip. While you here, make sure to purchase a discount coupon for the bridge toll fees. With the discount coupon you only need to pay half price for the toll fees. If you cycling all the way from Imabari to Onomochi, the total fees without discount is 500 yen.
Managed to get a cross bike + free rental helmet.
69.9 km to go !
You will see the first bridge, Kurushimakaikyo Bridge, almost immediately. This bridge is the longest bridge among the others. All the bridges, except one at Onomichi side, have a separate cycle / walk lane from the road. There is no need to worry getting hit by the car from behind.
Gorgeous view from the bridge.
The second bridge, Hakata-Oshima Bridge.
The entrance to the bridge toll.
The box on the left is where you put the toll fee. There is nobody guarding the place. It is really up to you whether you want to pay it or not.
Each bridge has different fee. This bridge here costs 50 yen.
Taking a break. There are couple of convenient store, rest stops and vending machines along the way so you don't need to worry about food and drinks. However, to be safe, make sure you bring a few of them.
Spectacular view. Check if the weather is nice before you come here. Try to avoid holiday season as well.
Made friends with few cyclers on the third bridge, Omishima Bridge.
Spotted the fourth bridge, Tatara Bridge.
Grabbed lunch before continuing the journey.
I start diverting away from the normal path after the third bridge. I went away to Ooyamazumi Jinja, a small lovely shrine on the Oomishima Island.
After the shrine, I went back to cross the fourth bridge.
The next island, Ikuchijima Island, has the most attractions compare to the other islands. However, that needs to wait till next time. See you on the next post. :)
Part 2 is here.