Translated by Jay Issei Karslake
Little Known Cycling Paths Over The Seto Inland Sea: Tobishima Route
Written by LIFE STYLE, Inc.
The Tobishima Kaido is a 31 km long coastal highway that connects seven islands located off the coast of Hiroshima in the Seto Inland Sea. A perfect cycling road, here you can enjoy beautiful scenery as you bike your way along.
The Tobishima Kaido, a coastal highway, is approximately 31 kilometers long and ties together seven floating islands (Shimokamagari, Kamikamagari, Toyo, Osakishimo, Heira, Nakano and Okamura islands) found in Kure and Akinada cities in Hiroshima prefecture, in the Chugoku region. The entirety of the Tobishima highway is famous for its citrus fruit production, and if you visit during the growing season, you will be able to see the mountains tinted in shades of orange and vivid green.
On the Honshu side, there are seven bridges: Akinada Great Bridge, Kamagari Great Bridge, Toyo Island Great Bridge, Toyohama Great Bridge, Heira Bridge, Seto Great Bridge and Okamura Great Bridge. By crossing these 7 bridges you will find yourself standing in Okamura Island, a part of Imabari city in Ehime prefecture.
Along with the Shimanami Coastal Highway, the Tobishima Kaido is highly recommended as a cycling road and many cyclists from all across Japan gather here to ride and enjoy the scenic views. Let’s take a look at this interesting region via Google Street View!
Closest to Honshu: Akinada Great Bridge
The Akinada Long Bridge is 1175 meters long and the first one you will need to cross when heading out on the Tobishima Coastal Highway from Kure city in Hiroshima. If you are crossing this bridge, make sure to take a moment to look at the small islands located below the bridge, you might notice that they resemble a cat - hence their name, Meneko Island.
After you cross Akinada Long Bridge you will have reached the entrance to Shimokamagari Island and the gateway to the Tobishima Coastal Highway.
Align your cursor with the picture above and then click and drag. The surrounding scenery will change and you feel like you're actually there.
Kamagari Great Bridge: Ocean Leisure Spot that Reaches Shimokamagari Island
Located in the eastern side of Shimokamagari Island is the 480 meter long Kamagari Great Bridge. Of all seven of the coastal highway bridges, this one was the first to open - on October 13th, 1979.
Shimokamagari Island has one of the many ocean leisure spots found in Hiroshima prefecture. On the southern part of the island there's a 200 meter long white sand beach. Here you can enjoy the magnificent contrasts of the blue ocean, white sand, and surrounding greenery.
Toyo Island Great Bridge: Home of the Hiroshima Loon
Moving on, the next bridge in our journey is the 903.2 meter long suspension bridge, the Toyo Island Great Bridge that connects Shimokamagari Island and Toyo Island.
The bird symbol of Hiroshima, the loon, has a great number of nesting sites stretching across this island. The locals in this area affectionately call the bridge ‘Abi Great Bridge’ with one another, because the Japanese word for "loon" is "abi".
Toyohama Great Bridge: Pay Attention to the Loon Relief!
Connecting Toyo Island and Osakishimo Island is the 543 meter long Toyohama Great Bridge. It was opened on November 30th, 1992.
On the handrails on the pedestrian walkway there are over 270 loon reliefs. When crossing the Toyohama Great Bridge your heart might skip a beat looking at all the adorable designs.
Heira Bridge: Tobishima Coastal Highway’s Only Concrete Bridge
The three bridges that connect Osakishimo Island to Okamura Island (Heira Bridge, Nakanoseto Great Bridge, and Okamura Great Bridge) are generally referred to together as the “Akinada Orange Line”.
As the only concrete bridge on the Tobishima Kaido, Heira Bridge, which spans from Osakishimo and Heira islands, is only 98.5 meters long. This makes it the shortest of the seven bridges and thus not a ‘Great Bridge’.
The height of this bridge is also quite low to the surface of the ocean, meaning that only fishing vessels can safely pass under this span.
Nakanoseto and Okamura Great Bridges: Wrapping Up Your Ride with the Arch Bridges
The Nakanoseto Great Bridge, at 251 meters long, hangs between Heira Island and Nakano Islands, which are both located right in the middle of the Akinada Orange Line. It’s an arch bridge that can easily be seen from the Seto neighborhood.
Just beyond Nakano Island is Okamura Island, a part of Imabari city in Ehime prefecture. Both islands are connected to one another by the Okamura Great Bridge, an arch bridge which spans 228 meters. Past Nakano Island is Okamura Island located in Ehime prefectures Imabari city. A bridge like this that passes through prefectural boundaries over the ocean and through farmland is something you can't see just while walking around Japan.
This surrounding area is within the Seto Inland Sea National Park’s district limits. That’s why this area is made in neutral, light grey tones - to blend in with the natural settings.
Day Trips are Ok! Cycle at Ease Along the Tobishima Coastal Highway
The Tobishima Coastal Highway is a cycling road that crosses both Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures. If you take the "Tobishima Liner” (Kamagari, Toyohama, Toyo route) from the Hiroshima bus center you'll get to Tobishima Coastal Highway’s various islands in around a hour and a half. If you want to enjoy cycling you should get off at the Mitodai bus stop. This is roughly halfway through the total distance of the Shimanami Coastal Highway, making it 30 kilometers one way and gives you enough time to cycle round trip over the Tobishima Kaido in one day. If you would like to see something different from the sights of the Shimanami Coastal Highway, this is the way to go.
*This article was provided by Street View Blog.