About this tour
What’s the Shimanami Kaido?
What’s included in this tour?
- two nights at traditional Japanese hotels
- dinner (first and second night)
- breakfast (second and third morning)
- bike and helmet rental
- support while cycling
- transport fees while on the tour
- luggage transfer
- custom guidebook with maps and information about the area
- phone in case of emergency
- a water bottle
Start in Onomichi
Finish in Imabari
On the morning of the first day, we’ll meet you at Onomichi train station at 9.30, where you’ll drop off your luggage and collect your bike. We’ll give you all the information you need for your journey – maps, information about the route, money for the ferries. We’ll see you to the port from which it’s a short ride to the start of the route. The first day has a minimum of 35kms of cycling across four islands, although for those who want to a bit more of a challenge, there’s plenty of opportunity for extension. We’ll suggest places to stop off along the way, but you’re in control – you have the freedom to explore these remote locales as you wish…hiking, swimming, sitting on a bench looking out at the sea…you choose (my personal recommendation is ringing the Buddhist prayer bell on top of Mount Shirotaki). When you decide you’ve had enough fun, your luggage will be waiting for you at your hotel. The first night is on a small island,only accessible by boat, at a charming inn run by a local fisherman, who serves what he catches that day…it’s incredible. This is a sleepy place with narrow streets and traditional houses, where people greet you as you pass…it’s a million miles away from the pace of Tokyo.
Day two starts with a traditional breakfast. After leaving your luggage at reception, you’ve got another 35kms ahead of you. Short enough so that you have enough time to get off your bike and truly experience this landscape, but long enough so that there are plenty of places to explore. My personal favourite is facing your fears in the cave beneath a Buddhist temple…but really, you can’t go wrong whatever you decide to do. After three more islands you’ll arrive at your hotel. This is a small ryokan with exceptional food only metres from the sea. Sitting on the sea front and breathing in the sea air, before a first-class meal and a relaxing bath, that’s how to truly see Japan.
After another traditional breakfast and leaving your bags for us to pick up, it’s back on the bike one last time. On the final day you’ve got two islands to explore and the most picturesque bridge of the lot to look forward to…leave at least an extra 30 minutes for photos! After that, Shikoku awaits. Once you arrive on the island, you will head towards Imabari train station where we’ll be waiting with your luggage and a smile. This is a wonderful springboard into Shikoku proper or an easy place from which to return to Honshu (by train to Okayama or boat to Hiroshima). Either way, we’re sure you’ll have special memories of this hidden part of the Japan, and a better sense of this fantastic country.