Shimanami Kaido Bikeway
- This article is an itinerary.
This 70km bikeway connects Onomichi with the islands of Mukaishima, Innoshima (for the pirate Suigun Castle), Ikuchijima (for Kosan-ji), Omishima, Hakatajima, and Oshima, ending in Imabari on Shikoku. You're welcome to walk or jog any length of the bridge, but cycling is the best way to go. The route consists of wide dedicated lanes for bikes and pedestrians, typically alongside but separated from the car roadway. Special bike lanes have been created to provide reasonable approaches to each of the modern bridges connecting the islands.
Bikes can be rented or dropped off at any of the 14 bike depot locations along the route (Y500 to rent, Y1000 deposit, deposit forfeited if you return to a depot other than the one you rented at). Bike depots have a variety of bicycles including 8-speed road bikes, 3-speed "upright" bikes, and electric assist bikes (electric assist must be returned to the original depot it was rented from). Helmets are available but sizes may be limited. The bike depot at the Onomichi port (7AM-6PM, +81 848-22-5332) is located in the parking structure to the right of the Green Hill Hotel, located opposite the JR Train Station. On weekends, you should plan to rent your bike before 10am if you are starting from Onomichi.
An excellent English language brochure is available at the bike depots but unfortunately is not available online. The brochure provides riders with side-trip directions to sights on each island and alternate routes for those who desire more strenuous rides. The brochure also has information on rest stops, bike depot locations, public transport (if you get tired) and other facilities and there are many choices along the way for lunch, snacks, and other stops. If staying overnight in Onomichi, it is recommended that you pick up a brochure from the bike depot the night before your trip.
The Green Hill Hotel is also the location of the ferry connecting Onomichi with Mukaishima, Innoshima, and Ikuchijima/Setoda. Serious bikers intent on completing the route in a day could do so, but the route is best enjoyed over the course of two days or in one day by taking a ferry from Onimichi to Setoda (bypassing the two most rural islands on the route). Ferries leave Onomichi once an hour starting at 7:20 in the morning; the trip to Setoda is 40 minutes. Tickets are available in the ferry terminal behind the Green Hill Hotel.
The main route is generally flat except for reasonable and well-graded approaches to the bridges and one large hill on Oshima Island. A small toll is required at the entrance of each bridge, ranging from Y50 per rider to Y200; a discount pass is available at the bike depots if you will be riding across all the bridges.
The "recommended" main route distances are
- Mukaishima (9.2 km)
- bridge (3.2 km)
- Innoshima (9.3 km)
- bridge (3.2 km)
- Ikuchijima (11.8 km or 5.7 km if you arrive at Setoda port)
- bridge (4.2 km)
- Omishima (6 km)
- bridge (1.2 km)
- Hakatajima (1.9 km)
- bridge (3 km)
- Oshima (11.4 km)
- bridge (6.4 km)
- Imabari - endpoint at Sunrise Itoyama bike depot.
There are a limited number of buses between Sunrise Itoyama and the Imabari JR Train Station; buses depart Sunrise Itoyama at 8:55am, 10:10am, 1:40pm, 4:10pm and 6:15pm. If traveling in the direction of Onomichi to Imabari, Kosan-ji Temple and Hirayama Ikuo Museums on Ikuchijima Island are about 4 km along the main route. On Omishima Island, in order to visit the Omishima Museum and the Oyamazumi Jinja Shrine Treasure Hall you must make a round trip (15 km total) off the recommended main route. If taking two days for the ride, Tatara on Omishima is a good place to spend the night before/after this side trip to Oyamazumi Shirine.