Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Shimanami Kaido

The Shimanami Kaido, translated as Shimanami "sea road", is a beautiful connection between two of the four main islands of Japan.

Fifteen years or so ago a cycling path was added along the route and has become a very popular destination. The recommended route is about 70km (43 miles).

Star is Iwakuni / Cycling route in red
The base provides transportation a few times a year so Dustin and I jumped on the opportunity to explore a new area of Japan. The route goes up through the mountains of some of the islands and along the coast for others. Along the way, we crossed six beautiful bridges. The entire journey displays some of Japan's most breathtaking views. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate.

Boy, was it foggy! Many times we could only see a few hundred feet. Forget breathtaking views, just stay on the road.

Safety wasn't a concern for the most part. The path is built specifically for cyclists (although small cc scooters and walkers can use it).

Amazingly, with all that moisture there was very little rain. We had a few sprinkles coming off one bridge, otherwise we stayed dry the entire day.

Sometimes we were in small fishing villages.

Here we stopped when we passed interesting things.

Like an old club where everyone takes their pants off?

Or a giant dinosaur
Other times we were climbing the mountains in the middle of the island. I am sure at many of the designated view points we would have seen all the islands sprinkled around.

We never worried about getting lost. "Follow the blue line" were the only instructions we needed. Although the countdown helped when we started getting saddle-sore.

To make the jump from the last island to Shikoku, we had to take a ferry.

On the other side we rode through town until we reached the designated meeting spot. We stashed our bikes, changed clothes, and walked around the city for a bit.

A very expensive trailer!
Onomichi-shi reminded us of Chattanooga: on the water, lots of small shops and boutiques, permanent art displays, and tasty food.

After all those miles we were ready for a long bus ride home. Sleep!

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