Posts Tagged ‘Shimanami-Kaido’

Setouchi Great Journey – Side trip from Shimanami Kaido cycling road – Day 3

July 22, 2017

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We left the hostel on the next morning, after cycling in the historical heritage district in Mitarai. It used to be a very prosperous port in Edo period as there were many important shipping routes and channels in Setouchi and sometime seamen needed to wait for the good condition of the wind and tidal current. So there are many old wooden houses preserved from that time, they are so lovely.

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We have crossed the last bridge on Tobishima Kaido to Okamurajima island, then took a ferry to Omishima island.

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We were planning to take Shimanami Kaido cycling route from Omishima heading to Onomichi, the goal of our cycling trip. We could leave depart for Onomichi directly, but again, this is our 4th. trip in Shimanami, so we would like to try something new, then we have decided to swing by Okunojima island, which is know as a rabbit island because there are many (more than 700) rabbits living on this island and you can touch and feed them. Although this island has a history that before and during WWII, there was a poison gas factory …

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(Haruna, Haruna’s travel company, Peter Rabbit and a rabbit at Okunojima)

Me? I’m not that big fan of rabbits, giving food to them is very childish! So I didn’t care at all…. but…

 

 

 

 

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Oops… Yes, they are cute…

Not like islands on Tobishima Kaido we saw many tourists visiting Okunojima from overseas countries, which is great. Many Youtube videos, blogs and other SNS about rabbits here are bringing more tourists to this tiny island, where not so easy to reach.

We stayed there 30 minutes and took the same ferry to back to Omishima island, then headed to Tatara Ohashi bridge, one of the most symbolic bridges along Shimanami Kaido.

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We were very hungry and decided to have a lunch before crossing the bridge, so we went to a restaurant. This decision was correct! When we were at the entrance, I heard someone were calling my name. What a small world is this!! They were actually guests from Singapore and I was a guide for them at  Tokyo Great Cycling Tour. 

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Very impressive encounter at Shimanami with Rachel and Kung (in yellow jersey) and their cycling mates Lilian and Tey. They bought lunch for us. Thank you very much!!!

They were cycling from Onomichi to Imabari, and we were heading to Onomichi, so we said good bye to them and continued our way. It was another nice weather today. Since we had started cycling, we only saw blue sky, blue ocean …. what a perfect cycling days. At around 5 pm, we finally arrived at our goal, Onomichi U2. Although Haruna has to work tomorrow and needed to go back to Tokyo tonight, I would stay here tonight.

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Finally our Setouchi Great Journey was over. We had cold beer at the terrace to toast our safe and fun cycling this time. We like cycling, cycling everywhere, especially at this beautiful cycling heaven, Setouchi. We will definitely come back very soon!

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Bye Haruna, she took train back to Tokyo at JR Onomichi station.

The third day  – Cycling around 45 km

 

 

 

 

Setouchi Great Journey – Side trip from Shimanami Kaido cycling road DAY 2

July 20, 2017

DSC_0305We had a reservation of a kayak tour in the afternoon, we left our hotel very early and head back to the Koyo port. There were a few hills along the north coast of Etajima but we could make ourselves to be in time to get the ferry to Kure. Kure is the 3rd. big city in Hiroshima prefecture and it is famous as its history of the naval dockyard which built the battle ship Yamato  before WWII.

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We took a bus to the first bridge, Akinada Ohashi, on Tobishima Kaido cycling road. We could cycle there, it is only around 10 km but cycling on busy streets is not so fun so we decided skip this part, and which we believe as a right decision.

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Tobishima Kaido Cycling Road is about 30 km connected 5 islands with four bridges. Other than those bridges between islands the course is relatively flat and it is only 30 km so you could of course ride through easily in one day. You could start cycling from Kure (which we did) or from Onomichi via Shimanami Kaido cycling road or even taking a ferry from Imabari to Okamura island.

We arrived at the second island, Kamikamagari island early afternoon and we cycled to Kenmin no hama beach where we tried a kayak tour.

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It was a perfect day for kayaking! Actually yesterday was too hot and we thought we would like to jump in the water at any moment we were hill climbing but today it was a little cloudy so very comfortable. Our guide, Shiroki-san was young, nice guy and luckily we were only guests and when we told we’re doing a kayak tour in Tokyo, he was kindly suggested to take us to a little further than usual course. We were so relax and enjoyed paddling. We saw a small Shinto shrine on the rock which paddlers or boatmen pray for safety at the sea.

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(The message at the bottom of a kayak saying  “Take care! Bye!!” They offer a paddling school for children and when they see them off, they capsize on purpose to show this message to them. Wow, what a hospitality!! Shall we do the same thing at Tokyo’s canal? No way…..)

After kayaking we head to Mitarai district on Osaki Shimo island where we will stay tonight. Mitarai is the name of historical port and the area is preserved old houses and streetscape. We book a hostel whose building was a former medical clinic. It was Sunday and the owner of the hostel said to us there were no restaurant open nearby. This is the important point for cycling on Tobishima Kaido. Not like the previous Kakishima Kaido or Shimanami Kaido, there are very few convenience stores, so you need to prepare emergency food and drink in advance.

On the way we happened to meet the owner of orange and lemon farm where they sell fresh fruits and juice. That gave us really a power back. Only 100 yen per a cup!

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When we travel it is always the most interesting is meeting new people. After a while of chatting with the owner, we continued cycling heading our hostel.  And we found a small restaurant open very close from the hostel. Lucky! Although we got some foods from the shop, it is much nicer to have cooked dishes along with cold beer! That was a Okonomiyaki restaurant  and they serve Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki, so even better. (Be careful! Hirochima people never say “Hiroshima style” , those are proper Okonomiyaki.) At the restaurant we met a group of local people (who seemed already having some amount of beer, Sake ;-)), and we started chatting each other. They were surprised when we told them we were from Tokyo. It was nice and funny talk and I enjoyed food and drinking over chatting a lot. After they left, we also asked the restaurant owner for check, surprisingly she said the bill was settled by those men…! Thank you so much! They didn’t tell anything when they had left the restaurant. Actually they were a bit rude, as they called Haruna as Onesan ( a young lady) and me as Okasan (an old lady) ! But I’ll definitely forgive them 🙂

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We had more drink at the hostel with Yano san, the owner. Again, meeting and talking new people is always great fun. According to Haruna I was too talkative on that night and talked the same things many times… I was totally drunken… Sorry,  Haruan and Yano san.  By the way the hostel did very good jobs to renovate an old clinic to a nice cozy place to stay. Highly recommended!

Hatagoya Kusushi  (Website  http://hatagoya-kusushi.com/)

Second day – Cycling around 45 km   Kayaking around 5 km

Setouchi Great Journey – Side trip from Shimanami Kaido cycling road DAY 1

June 23, 2017

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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”

 

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Day 1 :   Tokyo – Hiroshima  Cycling on Kakishima Kaido in Etajima island 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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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…

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Shelves to cultivate oysters… I need to come back here when oysters are in season!!!

 

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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.

The most beautiful cycling road in Japan ~Shimanami-Kaido

June 2, 2011

As I accomplished what I have wanted to do for a long time in my golden week holiday,  my next long-held goal is cycling at Shimanami-Kaido where all cyclists without any exception say “must do” if you are cyclists. So I asked three of my friends to go cycling together. All of us have similar folding bikes, so it is easier to pedal in the same pace. Our itinerary is as follows;

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Day 1   Take the overnight sleeper train, “Sunrise Seto” (サンライズ瀬戸), departing from Tokyo station at 10:00 p.m.

Day 2  Arrive at Sakaide(坂出) station at 7:08 a.m., then change to JR Yosan line(予讃線).  Ishizuchi express No.5 (特急いしづち5号)departing  at Sakaide stn. at 7:52 a.m. and arriving  at Imabari (今治)station at 9:29 a.m.

Start cycling from Imabari station heading to the first bridge named “Kurushima Kaikyo Ohashi” bridge ( 来島海峡大橋). Cycling from one island to another then stop at Omishima (大三島)to stay overnight.

Day 3  Start cycling at around 9:00 a.m. to continue our way to Onomichi (尾道). Arrive at Onomichi station at about 4:00 p.m. Take the bullet train (Shinkansen) to back to Tokyo.

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Overnight sleeper train “Sunrise Seto” /My friends got on board from Yokohama station / I already happily started my first beer in my seat.

Folding bike is very easy carry, easy set-up. Two BD-1 & two Brompton. Mine is a red Brompton/ In front of Imabari castle / Imabari is famous for shipbuilding, we saw many shipyards.

 

Kurushima Kaikyo Ohashi, consisting of three suspension bridges, 4,015 meters in total. The longest suspension bridge in the world/ The lane for cyclists and pedestrians is completely separated from the lane for cars/Look at this beautiful sea!

Gorgeous sea food!! /Pay a toll to put in the box/ The bridge between Hakata (伯方)island and Omishima (大三島)

The access to the bridge is gentle slope/ Easy to understand signs/ This area is major production area of citrus fruits/ Sweet perfume everywhere!

We decided to stay at a Minshuku ( guest house) near the beach/ We need Onsen hot spring after long ride! / Beautiful sunset

Oyamazumi shrine (大山祇神社)has 8 national treasures/ giant camphor trees, natural treasure and a holy tree

There are some ups and downs / We stopped over for shopping a bottle of lemonchero /Tatara (多々羅)bridge

Lunch time! Fresh sushi and also very good Kamameshi (釜めし Steamed rice with octopus) We asked a local fisherman for good restaurant and it was right decision!  Keima (桂馬) 251 Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi city, Hiroshima (Tel. 08452-7-1989) / Local shopping street – Shiomachi / Desert time! Right after the lunch? Oh, yes…!

Comfortably flat path along the coast / Our trip is ending… / Noz, Meg, me and Q

Finally the last bridge to Mukai island (向島)/ From Mukai island to Onomichi, it is 1 min. by boat / Completed !

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It was a really nice cycling in easy and relaxed mode with good friends. Beautiful view of Seto inland sea and bridges, we could enjoy nice food and drink, people are very friendly as well. If you have time for two days, please try to go cycling on Shimanami-Kaido. I will guarantee that you never regret.

We brought our own bikes, but rental bike is also available. For more information about Shimanami-Kaido,  you can check following websites.

JNTO  http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/hiroshima/shimanamikaidou.html

Shimanami official web   http://www.go-shimanami.jp/global/english/