A great place for a bicycle ride...
Are you into cycling? Then there might be no better place in all of Japan than Shimanami Kaido.
Shimanami-Kaido (Shimanami Sea Route) is a collective name of the 60 km (37 mile) motor highway over the Seto Inland Sea which connects Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, and Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, and six islands in between. The completion of the route has made Ehime more easily accessible from major cities in Honshu (mainland Japan). “Shimanami-Kaido” often refers the whole area along the road.
Shimanami-Kaido provides the marvelous views with its beautiful bridges. Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridges (4015 m / 13173 ft), which links Oshima Island to Shikoku, are the first three consecutive suspension bridges in the world. To overlook the bridges, the best place to go is Mt. Kiro-san Observatory and Park in Oshima, especially in the sunset. It’s absolutely beautiful! Tatara Bridge (1480 m / 4856 ft), one of the world’s longest cable-stayed bridges, spreads its wings over the border of Ehime and Hiroshima. You can enjoy its great view from Tatara Shimanami Park at the foot of the bridge on Omishima Island.
Cycling is the highlight attraction for most people visiting the bridges. It is the best recommended and one of the most popular cycling course in Japan. Each bridge has the path for pedestrians & cyclers beside the vehicle traffic, which enables you to bike on the bridges. There are 14 rent-a-bike stations along the route, where you can take your bike. You may just go around for a while, or you can run as far as you want, and drop off your rental bike at one of the stations. The entire distance of cycling route is approximately 70 km (44 mile), longer than the vehicle highway. It takes less than seven hours.
You may drop in Oyamazumi Shrine on Omishima Island in the center of this area, which has been broadly worshiped since ancient times. It is also famous for the armors and swords the shrine owns, many of which are designated as national treasures and important cultural properties. Tidal current cruises are another thing you can do and is recommended. The islands are dotted closely along the Shimanami-Kaido, which causes strong and complicated tide flow in spots. One of them, Kurushima Kaikyo Strait is known as one of three fastest currents in Japan. The boat-tour takes you to see the dynamic tidal current, the magnificent Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridges and vessels at the shipbuilding docks. You can also enjoy a cruise to experience on the wildly fast stream at Miyakubo Seto.
Imabari Tourist Information Office
1-729-8 Kitahoraicho, Imabari, EhimeTel: 0898 36 1118
Onomichi Tourist Information Office
1-1 Higashigoshocho, Onomichi, HiroshimaTel: 0848 20 0005
1-729-8 Kita Hourai-cho, Imabari, Ehime. Tel: 0898 25 1175
5-11 Nishigosho-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima. Tel: 0848 21 0068