Widely considered one of the best cycling routes in the world, the easily accessible Shimanami Kaido offers stunning natural views, local delicacies and, of course, great exercise.
What to expect
The 70-km Shimanami Kaido connects the quaint city of Onomichi, in Hiroshima Prefecture, with Imabari, Ehime Prefecture. The route crosses six islands in the Seto Inland Sea on its journey from Japan’s main island to the smaller island region of Shikoku. For those who don’t want to cycle, the route is also open to walkers, and a 60-km toll road (about 5,000 yen one way) that diverges from the cycling route also makes the islands accessible by car.
The cycling route is easy to follow thanks to a blue line painted on the ground for the entirety of the main route. Ramps leading up to the many bridges were built at a reasonable incline to accommodate bikes, but amateur cyclists will probably still find themselves huffing and puffing — so make sure to find a bike with proper gears when picking out a rental.
Renting a bike
Renting a bike does not require an advance reservation but making a reservation does improve your odds of getting a nicer bike, as this GaijinPot writer discovered. Although reservations can max out, especially on weekends, the rental system typically holds back a number of bikes for day-of renters.
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