Shimanami Kaido: Scenic Cycling Road in Japan
Shimanami Kaido (しまなみ海道) is one of the most famous scenic road in Japan.
The Nishi-Seto Expressway, also known as the Seto-uchi Shimanami-Kaido (highway above sea), was opened to traffic on 1 May 1999. The bridge connects Onomichi City in Hiroshima and Imabari City in Ehime, as well as six islands (namely Mukai-shima, Inno-shima, Ikuchi-jima, Omi-shima, Hakata-jima, and O-shima islands) within the Geiyo Islands situated near the center of the Seto Inland Sea.
What is so great about this place is that they are open for cyclists and pedestrians! Especially on bridges, there are dedicated lanes for us.
Very few signals to stop, and safe dedicated roads stretching straight ahead.. Ever since I bought my cross bike, riding my bike there had been one of my dreams.
For Golden Week vacation this year, we were invited to four-family Onsen trip in Shikoku. Everybody else took trains and airplane. We took our car, put our bikes in backseat and trunk, and drove from Nagoya to Shikoku, all the way to Hiroshima, and drove back home in Nagoya, so that we can bike there.
We probably drove over 1000km in total, but it was totally worth it!
This is entrance to cycling road on Imabari-city side (south).
Itoyama Cycling Terminal in Imabari city, called Sunrise Itoyama, has rental bike. They have several kinds of rental bikes, including road bike and tandem bicycle. They also have free parking, so I saw many people with own bikes in their cars there.
Oh yes, you need to pay tolls, just like expressway. You can pay with cycling coupon (sold at toll gate, Sunrise Itoyama, etc), then it only costs 250yen even if you bike all the way up to Onomichi-city side on north.
Roads were amazing.
Stopping by for snacks. They are famous for Mikan, Japanese tangerine. Their juice was so good!
It was fun to see other bikes.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t ride all the way, but only half of it, because we had to go back to our parking. Still, we biked over 74km that day. Longest ride ever!
Maybe someday, I will go back there for complete round trip.