From Onomichi to Imabari

March 16, 2018

March 16, 2018

My nine-year-old son, my husband and I, pedaled Shimanami Kaido, from Onomichi to Imabari, 73km.

Shimanami Kaido is one of the best bike routes in the whole world. It is about 70 kilometers long, with the spectacular road-and-bridge network connecting the main island of Honshu to Shikoku island.

Contents

My son’s First Challenge

Every year in March, my family join the “Shimanami Tandem Bike Festival,“ it is a two-day ride which is held annually in Shimanami by Cycle Tourism Shimanami. Usually, my son rides with my husband on a tandem bike or a trailer bike. We also enjoy cycling in this are before are after the event. This year, we did not bring own bikes but rental bikes but used rental bikes instead. We could not find a tandem bike that could be dropped off at Onomichi, the starting point, so we made the plan for my son to ride the complete route of shimanami by himself. The first day, we started riding at Onomichi and ended the ride at ”Sunrise Itoyama,“ at the end of the last bridge, ”Kurushima Kaikyo Ohashi.“ I wondered if my son would be able to reach the destination, but I was not worried because if he gives up, we could return the bikes at a terminal and get on the bus to Imabari. There are 14 cycle terminals. I thought he would complain about the long cycling during the tour as usual. (He usually complains about cycling, such as ” I’m tired, I can not ride anymore.“, ”I would rather travel by car,“ ”I want to go back,“ or ”Where is the inn, I want to go there immediately”… (I’m sorry my son, but it’s your destiny because you were born to bike lovers. )

Onomichi Cycle Terminal (10 am, 0km)

At 6 am we got on the Shinkansen bullet train from  Tokyo station to Fukuyama station, then and transferred to the local train to Onomichi station. At 10 am we arrived at Onomichi station, bought bread and visited Onomichi Cycle terminal. I told the staff that I’d already booked two bikes for adults and one for a child. My son and my husband went to the kid’s bike parking to choose my son’s bike. The attendant, an old man, brought two to for me to inspect. The light on the first bike wouldn’t turn on. The headlight of the second bike turned on but was not mounted. He struggled to attach the light to the bike in some ways and gave up trying in the end. Finally, on the third attempt, I found the perfect bike.I paid 4,800 yen for the one-day rental bike fee.

The rental fee was -Adult bike 1,000yen + Deposit 1,000 yen /day Kids bike 300 yen + Deposit* 500 yen/day.
*Deposit only refunded when the customer returns the bike to the same terminal.

Started pedaling at Mukaishima

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The Rental bikes we rode ( In the boat from Onomichi to Mukaishima)

We got on the ferry boat from Onomichi to Mukaishima Island. It was a ten-minute boat trip, and the ferry departs every 10–15 minutes. We started pedaling at Mukaishima. Our speed was slower now that my son was pedaling himself. We could go less than 15 km / h at his pace. It was raining and cold. I wondered if my son could reach the destination because his bike was not a sports bike. This is the first bridge, Innoshima Ohashi. The bike lane is in the car lane. It was so comfortable on rainy days. The rain didn’t stop, and the temperature was still low. My son started complaining that he felt cold and hungry.

Thank you “Family Mart” ( In Innoshima; 20 km)

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Pedaling on Innoshima Bridge in the rain

I remember there were some convenience stores in the south of Innoshima Island, but I didn’t tell my son because I didn’t want him to be disappointed if the store would be closed. We found “Family Mart” and took a rest. “Fami chiki” (The chicken piece sold at Family mart) is one of my son’s favorite snacks. After eating it, he revived. Thank you, Family Mart. I encouraged him that there is “Dolce,” the best gelato shop along the course within 10 km. My son is good at climbing the slope.

Dolce in Setoda, Ikuchijima (30 km)

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One of our attractions in Shimanami Kaido

We stopped at “Dolce” and ate “double” gelato. “Hakata-no-shio”(Salt) flavor and lemon flavor.“Hakata-no-shio” is the most famous salt in Japan which is produced in Hakatajima island with the unique CM.

Tatara Ohashi Bridge (40 km)

I think Tatara is one of the highlights of Shimanami Kaido. The beautiful bridge is one of the world’s longest cable-stayed bridges. We can see the panoramic view of Seto Inner sea.

Naki Ryu (“Crying Dragon”)

We stopped at Tatara Park and took a short break. The rain finally stopped.

 

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Tatara Park

 

Hakatajima (51 km)

The official route of Shimanami Kaido grazes Hakatajima. We stopped at “Marin Oasis Hakatajima.” My son ate ice cream again despite the cold weather. My husband and I ate hot snacks. From Setoda of Ikuchijima to Hakatajima, there are lots of stunning viewpoints, so I had thought my son was not bored in the section. The rain had stopped, and north wind pushed us from behind.  We pedaled comfortably.

Oshima (60 km)

The last island was Oshima. It was the second longest island after Innoshima, and there is a 300 m hill, but he pedaled smoothly.

Kurushima Ohashi bridge (68 km)

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Kurushima Ohashi Bridge

Kurushima Ohashi bridge is 4,045 meters long. It is said to be the longest suspension bridge in the world. We crossed over the last bridge in the marvelous sunset. It seemed to bless him.
My son said, “It’s like an infinitive bridge.”

“Sunrise Itoyama” (73 km)

At 6 pm, we reached the “Sunrise Itoyama,” a cycle station and inns for the cyclists. We returned the rental bikes and took a warm bath, ate tasty dinner and enjoyed beer. With the help of north wind, my son completed the 73 km ride of Shimanami kaido. And he seemed not too tired. I felt his growth, not only body but also in mind. He complained less than I had expected. I think only a few kids under ten years old had completed the whole Shimanami kaido ride by themselves, but he did it. I’m proud of him.

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Beautiful sunrise from the room

Useful links

Shimanami Kaigo General Info.

Bike Rental Reservation

Sunrise Itoyama, cheap and clean Inn with beautiful scenery

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