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Shimanami Kaido: Be Swept Away by Gorgeous Views of the Seto Inland Sea

福島

Translated by Mariko Satoh

Written by Maki

2016.07.23

Shimanami Kaido is a highway and cycling route that links Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture and Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture. This article will introduce the main highlights of this route that is popular among cycling enthusiasts.

The Shimanami Kaido is a highway that connects Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture located in the Chugoku region and Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture located in the Shikoku region. It is the perfect location to admire breathtaking views of various islands on the Seto Inland Sea. This article will introduce sightseeing spots along the Shimanami Kaido that you can stop by along the way.

Shimanami Kaido: A Highway Linking Islands

The Shimanami Kaido, officially called the Nishiseto Jidoshado, is a highway spanning 60 kilometers that links Onomichi City and Imabari City. Each bridge linking the islands has its own name, and they are collectively called the Shimanami Kaido. Before continuing, we would like to point out that there are special lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists to pass through the highway free of charge.

Both Onomichi and Imabari offer bike rentals and a coin-operated shower stall. This means tourists can go cycling along the sea without any advanced preparations. You can find more information on bike rentals on the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido Co-Operative Association website, which is available in several languages.

The Starting Point is the Hilly City of Onomichi

Shimanami Kaido: Be Swept Away by Gorgeous Views of the Seto Inland Sea

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The Shimanami Kaido starts in the hilly city of Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture. You will first reach Mukaishima by passing the first bridge, Onomichi-Ohashi Bridge, across the Onomichi Strait. Since this bridge is narrow, it can be dangerous when crossing. However, bikers and pedestrians can use ferries to reach Mukaishima.

Onomichi is a compact city where everything is gathered in a narrow, hilly area surrounded by the sea and mountains. The most popular activity for visitors is sightseeing around historical shrines and temples.

Mukaishima and Innoshima Islands

Shimanami Kaido: Be Swept Away by Gorgeous Views of the Seto Inland Sea

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Mukaishima is just on the other side of Onomichi, and leads to Innoshima. This island is known for its mandarin oranges (mikan) production. In particular, the fresh orange juice is very famous.

The Perfect View: Everything About The Shimanami Kaido

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Hassaku Jelly is made using locally-grown Hassaku oranges, a citrus fruit that is the size of a grapefruit. This is a dessert you can enjoy anywhere in Hiroshima.

Innoshima is known as the origin of Hassaku oranges. It also functioned as the ancient hub of Japanese pirates. There are many historical spots and museums related to pirates found here.

A Gigantic, Eye-Catching Suspension Bridge

Shimanami Kaido: Be Swept Away by Gorgeous Views of the Seto Inland Sea

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When speaking about the Shimanami Kaido, one must mention the big suspension bridge that connects the islands.

Tatara Ohashi is the largest cable-stayed bridge in Japan, located between Ikuchijima and Omishima islands. A cable-stayed bridge refers to a structure that supports the crossing area with a cable built diagonally from a high tower. This design forms a beautiful triangular shape.

Kurushima Ohashi, the bridge linking Kurushima Island and Imabari City, is over four kilometers long. You can see stunning sunsets from the bridge that stretches from east to west.

Oshima: A Spot Brimming with Attractions

Shimanami Kaido: Be Swept Away by Gorgeous Views of the Seto Inland Sea

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Oshima is located on the other side of Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture. It is surrounded by the Kurushima Strait, which has a rapid current. When the streams hit the islands, it causes natural whirling waves to occur.

Shimanami Kaido: Be Swept Away by Gorgeous Views of the Seto Inland Sea

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You can see these powerful whirlpools by hopping on a whirlpool sightseeing boats from Oshima.

The Perfect View: Everything About The Shimanami Kaido

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Kirosan Observatory Park is a recommended spot to look out at the Kurushima-Ohashi Bridge from Oshima. The observation platform was designed by the famous Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma. It is made of wood and has a modern look. You'll marvel at the spectacular view that comes into sight upon walking up the stairs.

Shimanami Kaido: Be Swept Away by Gorgeous Views of the Seto Inland Sea

Photo by Pixta
The panoramic view captures the beautiful suspension bridge with an unconstrained arch. The Seto Inland Sea also appears different with the rapid streams. We hope you will get the chance to see this impressive view in person.

Kirosan Observatory Park

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Imabari City: Where History and Industry Production Intersect

Shimanami Kaido: Be Swept Away by Gorgeous Views of the Seto Inland Sea

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The Shimanami Kaido ends in Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture. It developed as the major marine traffic point in the Seto Inland Sea. There were even castles in the area in the old days. Presently, the castle tower symbolizing Imabari Castle has been rebuilt, and visitors can also walk inside.

Moreover, Imabari is well known for high quality towel production. Old weaving looms and machines are exhibited at the Imabari Towel Historical Museum.

Imabari Castle Ruins

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The Imabari Towel Flagship Store, located next to the museum, sells official Imabari towels and is always full of tourists.

Imabari Towel Flagship Store

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In Conclusion

The Shimanami Kaido is full of entertaining spots all the way from Onomichi and Imabari City. Even those traveling without a car can make the entire journey on a bike. Why not plan a visit to the Shimanami Kaido on your next trip?

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.