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The Ultimate Road Ride: Shimanami Kaido

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Part of the Shimanami Kaido

The Shimanami Kaido – the expressway that spans the Seto Inland Sea – stretches from Imabari (in Ehime prefecture) to Onomichi (in Hiroshima prefecture), crossing no less than 6 islands (and its small towns) along the way. The route has been voted as one of the world’s most incredible bike routes by CNN.

A dedicated cycle lane runs parallel to the highway, and cyclists can rent bicycles (¥500-¥7,000 per day) at one end and return them at the other. The complete route runs for 65kms, and can be completed in a day, although 2 days is recommended.

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Matsuyama Castle

Attractions
The many islands in the Seto Inland Sea are linked via a series of unique inter-island bridges, including the Tatara Bridge (the longest askew-arched bridge) and the Kurushima-kaikyo Bridge (a triple suspension bridge).

The towns near the Shimanami Kaido are equally breathtaking. Matsuyama city (Ehime) is home to Matsuyama Castle, one of Japan’s 12 ‘original castles’ situated on a hilltop with views of the sea. Another attraction is Dogo Onsen, one of Japan’s oldest hot spring resorts that houses the Dogo Onsen Honkan, a Meiji-era wooden public bathhouse dating from 1894 which is said to be the inspiration for Miyazaki’s animated film ‘Spirited Away‘.

Dogo Onsen

Dogo Onsen

At Onomichi (Hiroshima), you’ll find a collection of old temples, including Senko-ji (spread out on the slope of Mt. Senjoki) and Jodo-ji, which houses one of Japan’s three most famous towers, the Taho-to.

Thanks to its mild climate, the area is famous for its farm produce, especially citrus fruits.

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Cycling Shimanami
Once a year, the Cycle Shimanami event welcomes over 8,000 participants to participate in one of Japan’s largest international cycling events along this scenic route. There are a variety of cycle courses available during this event, ranging from 62km to 111km – the Complete Shimanami course is 65kms long, stretching from Imabari to Onomichi, crossing 6 islands along the way.

With limited slots, the Cycling Shimanami event takes place on October 26 this year. Registration is already closed, but those interested can book a spot on the event on a 6D4N cycle package via Follow Me Japan. The package includes flights, accommodation, race entry and some activities, including a day at Morimoto Farm for a barbecue, and a visit to a local bicycle factory.

For more on the cycling event, visit Cycling Shimanami’s site.

3 Responses to “The Ultimate Road Ride: Shimanami Kaido”

  1. Zita says:

    You share interesting things here.

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