This is my forth trip to Shimanami Kaido (please see this article for the previous trip.) as well as for my cycling buddy, Haruna, thus both Haruna and I wanted to try something new. Under searching on the internet, we found that there are some more cycling courses in Setouchi (Seto Inland Sea) area. Especially after Shimanami cycling road had come to be very popular domestically and internationally, local municipal governments are trying to develop more cycling courses to attract more tourists visiting the area for cycling. I totally understand and agree that Setouchi is the perfect destination for cycling for its mild climate with low rainfall level. Adding to cycling, this area has lots of beautiful beaches where we can enjoy water activities, such as kayak, SUP etc. Cycling and kayaking! What a great combination for us.
Travel is always fun and travel planning is also a part of the fun. We did lots of on-line search and read someone’s blog etc., finally completed a rough plan for our 2 nights 3 days “Haruna & Yukiko’s Setouchi Great Journey”
Day 1 : Tokyo – Hiroshima Cycling on Kakishima Kaido in Etajima island
We took Shinkansen from Tokyo station to Hiroshima station, we had reserved the seat at the most end in the compartment so that we could store our bikes at the back of our seats. Although our bikes are Brompton and it can be folded nicely in small size but even so it is important to get this seat as Shinkansen has no luggage space 😦 The advantage of Brompton bike is not only its compact size but also easiness to put in Rinko bag. In Japan we can not bring our bikes in the train without putting them in the bags or boxes.
We are heading to Etajima, an island located in Hiroshima Bay and just 30 minutes by ferry from Hiroshima (Ujina*) port. Etajima is very famous of its oysters, and which is my favorite food!!! OISHII!! Actually Kakishima Kaido, the name of the cycling road in Etajima is taken after oysters (Kaki means oyster in Japanese). There is no reason we won’t go there! While making cycling plan, I was already dreaming to enjoy oyster over nice white wine after cycling….! (I knew May is not a season for oysters, but I though we can still have chance to eat some…)
*Ujina port is about 6 km south from JR Hiroshima station.
(Map of Kakishima Kaido)
We arrived at Koyo port in Etajima around lunch time and we were the only cyclists in the ferry. We though there were more but not… A ferry port crew, a nice gentleman named Saito san kindly talked to us. He welcomed us warmly especially when we told him we were from Tokyo.
I asked Saito san if he knows any good place we can enjoy oysters, but his answer was NO… not in this season… Some of the restaurants had offered oysters last months and their guests had got sick. OMG!!!
(OK, at least I got this at a local shop, so I could enjoy a canned oyster with beer after Onsen!)
During our cycling trip, we met quite a nice local people and we had chat, drink, picture etc. Meeting nice people is always fun part of the trip.
Saito san recommended to go to the Naval Academy Etajima, which used to be Imperial Japanese Naval Academy trained officers for the Imperial Japanese Navy before WWII. According to the guidebooks, it is really “must visit” place here in Etajima, however, as our schedule didn’t match their visitor’s program and we were not so interested but interested more in local food, so we rather skipped this and head to Etajima Olive Factory . Under perfect condition (good amount of sunlight, less amount of rainfalls, less impact of typhoon etc.) their olive cultivation is getting bigger. What a beautiful color of their olive oil! But just a bit too expensive…
Shelves to cultivate oysters… I need to come back here when oysters are in season!!!
The view from our hotel. Sun is setting – our Day 1 is going to be over. Total distance for today was about (only!) 30 km.