So happy we rode, explored, saw, ate, and admired the beautiful Seto Inland Sea of Japan. Huge thanks to our new friends at Hidden Japan Travel. Put this experience on your “must-do” list!
The kind of thing we want to tell people about, but also want to keep to ourselves. Hotels, service, maps – everything was fabulous. Thank you so much.
We went to Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Kyoto but this was by far the best thing we did in Japan. I was a bit worried about managing the cycling as I’m not very athletic, but I shouldn’t have been. The traditional ryokan were also amazing!
About this tour
Cycle across 6 islands and 7 bridges. Stay in traditional Japanese hotels that serve exceptional food from the area. Suitable for cyclists of all levels (novice-advanced). We take care of all bookings, luggage transfer, and provide quality cross bikes and helmets. This is a self-guided tour, but you receive our custom guidebook to direct you to secret spots and the best restaurants. We also provide a phone in case of emergencies and support is always close by.
What’s the Shimanami Kaido?
Lying in between the islands of Honshu and Shikoku, the Seto Inland Sea is a place of tranquil waters, kind people, and hundreds of small islands. It’s also home to the Shimanami Kaido, the longest series of bridges in the world. It spans the 70 km stretch from Onomichi to Imabari. It is possible to cycle from one side to the other – across a bridge, down onto an island, up to another bridge. This is island hopping by bike, slow tourism at its best. Our tour perfectly shows off this landscape, balancing beauty and culture while introducing a few of our favourite secret spots.
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.
Is it worth doing a self-guided tour?
Yes! Not only do we take care of everything – accommodation, luggage transfer, bike rental – but we also provide very detailed maps. These have information about the history of each island and our favourite places to enjoy the local culture, nature, and cuisine. We hand-pick these locations based on our local knowledge of the area and the needs of our guests. We also choose great hotels – the ones with the most character, the best food, and the most relaxing views. We provide a phone in case you need to get in touch and electronic maps so you can navigate to your hotels easily. All this means that you can concentrate on having a unique experience that’s facilitated by local knowledge and supported safely if anything goes wrong.
Single adults are priced at ¥65,000 (approx. $500)
Children are priced at ¥40,000 (approx. $350)
A ¥1,000 (approx $10) per person discount is applied for groups of two or more. To calculate the exact price of your tour, click “Book this Tour”, choose the number of people in your group, and select your preferred start date. To calculate exact price in your currency, we recommend using this tool.