Translated by Allie
Cycling Around The Oki Islands, A UNESCO Global Geopark In Shimane
Written by MATCHA-PR
The Oki Islands are located in the northeastern part of Shimane prefecture. These beautiful islands have been registered as a UNESCO Global Geopark. We introduce a cycling route around one of the Oki Islands, a place with amazing nature!
Shimane prefecture is famous for Izumo Taisha, a great Shinto shrine. Oki Islands, which belong to Shimane prefecture and consist of four populated islands and many uninhabited islands, are places with beautiful nature. Due to their unique historic geological features, which show how the islands of Japan formed, and their mysterious ecosystems, the Oki Islands were registered as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2015.
Dogo, the largest island in Oki, offers superb natural views and a rich culture with a long history. Moreover, the Oki Islands are the best place to taste delicious food as well as cycle around.
Let’s go on a cycling trip around Oki together!
To learn more about the Oki Islands, please check out these articles: Take in 1200 Year Old Traditions in the Oki Islands, Shimane and How to Travel to the Oki Islands.
This time, we took an 80-kilometer route, which goes clockwise around the island by the coast. The highest altitude of this route is 1,500 meters. Sounds like a pretty challenging cycling route, isn’t it? There is a marathon event called “Okinoshima Ultra Marathon” held every year in Oki, which is a 100-kilometer marathon. We chose almost the same route as the one of the marathon event.
Start From Saigo Port
The starting point of our cycling trip is the Saigo Port which is the gateway to the Okinoshima islands. A route of about 100 kilometers is waiting for you, so please take off early in the morning to have a plenty of time to also see around if you want to cycle across the island in a day.
Most of the time, the route goes along the coast, allowing you to see the beautiful bay while cycling.
Arriving at Cape Nagu - Stunning Scenery!
After a while, we reached Cape Nagu. We rode up a pretty long slope, but it was really worth doing it because the scenery waiting for us was amazing!
In order to recover from the fatigue after going up the long slope, we had Okinoshima chocolate while looking at the beautiful sea and the lighthouse. These cookies are made with moshio (salt) produced in Okinohara, so they are a wonderful combination between sweetness and saltiness. The intake of salt after cycling is beneficial to one's body. You can buy these chocolates at souvenir shops within the island.
Setting Off for the Fukuura Tunnel!
Although the way to Fukuura tunnel takes you up and down several slopes, you can get to see the sea and beautiful greenery anywhere you pass by. Just seeing this landscape is an exciting experience!
You will also pass by a small fishing port. When we were there, the weather was nice and the waves looked pretty calm. Cutting through the wind made us feel very relaxed.
After passing through the port and cycling for a while, you will arrive at the Fukuura Tunnel. Fukuura tunnel was built with the chisel by hands, which is something really rare. Although usually it is not allowed to pass through here, we got permission to do that during our trip.
Back to Saigo Port through the Nakamura District
We are now heading to Nakamura, a place with beautiful views of the blue sea. This area is full of pretty high slopes, which might be hard to cross on the bike if you are not cycling on a daily basis. Please take all the time you need here.
After crossing several hills, you will reach the Nakamura district. There are stores lining the street, where you should enjoy the local specialties of the Oki Islands.
Now let’s head back to the point where we started - Saigo Port.
We found a mysterious tool on our way. What do you think it is? These things rotating around are squid caught in Oki. This is a machine used for drying out the squids. This is quite a unique sight so we took a picture.
Cycling in Oki - A Truly Exciting Experience!
We were so surprised at seeing how beautiful this island is! The blue sea surrounding it is also amazing! The roads in the Oki Islands are well maintained, and there are also wide roads. Moreover, there are not many traffic lights, which makes it the perfect place to explore on one's bike.
In Japan, the Shimanami Kaido is the most famous cycling route. But if you wish to cycle around an island or want to practice cycling with a group of friends while enjoying great views, how about coming to the Oki Islands?
Shimane prefecture is well known for its Izumo Taisha Shrine, but it is also worth visiting for the Oki Islands as well!