Nine nights; nine days. Often referred to as road bikers’ heaven, this route follows the Shimanami Kaido Bikeway from Onomichi, across the Seto islands to the beautiful Shikoku – the smallest and least populated of Japan’s major islands.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- The Shimanami Kaido Bikeway from Onomichi, across the Seto islands to the beautiful Shikoku, the road bikers’ heaven
- Bridges through a trail of islands
- Oyamazumi Shrine – the largest treasure house of fighting equipment used during the age of the samurai in Japan
- historical temples, castles, and even Japan’s oldest bath house
Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.
Much of the route is on dedicated bike paths with paved surfaces. There are walks, and stops at interesting sites each day.
- DAY 1: Introductions, ~2.5 km walk
- DAY 2: ~60 km
- DAY 3: ~60 km
- DAY 4: ~60 km
- DAY 5: ~80 km
- DAY 6: ~90 km
- DAY 7: ~90 km
- DAY 8: ~50 km
- DAY 9: ~60 km
- DAY 10: Farewells
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Shin Onomichi Station, near Hiroshima, 13:00, Day 1. Bullet trains come often from Osaka in the east or Kukuoka and Hiroshima in the west. A description of Japan’s trains can be found here. Optional pickup from Hiroshima airport also available.
Finish: Your hotel in Hiroshima, 09:00, Day 10. Optional transfer back to Hiroshima airport. Please note that on guided trips your guide will depart the previous evening.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Introductions and ~2.5 km walk
Start with an early afternoon pick up At Hiroshima Airport or Shin Onomichi Station. Onomichi is famous for being the start of Shimanami Kaido – a bikeway linking Honshu with Shikoku. Stretch your legs on the Temple walk, a beautiful 2.5 kilometer walk along the historic slopes of Onomichi. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Onomichi to Omishima, ~60km
Short ferry to start Shimanami Kaido cycling route, crossing bridges between islands of the Seto Inland Sea. On the Island of Omishima, visit Oyamazumi Shrine. There is one of Japan’s best collections of Samurai Swords and other military equipment. The shrine’s Treasure House is reputed to hold 80% of Japan’s cultural and national treasures. BLD
Chaume Ryokan, Omishima
Omishima to Matsuyama, ~60km
From the end of the bike path in Imabari city, transfer 25km to Matsuyama City and Dogo Onsen, or cycle the extra distance into Matsuyama. In the evening you can take a hot spring bath at the oldest bath house in Japan. BLD
Matsuyama to Yanai, ~60km
09:40 ferry from Matsuyama to Yashiro Island. Ride 40km along the coast, then cross another bridge onto the main island of Japan, and another 10km to Yanai City, known for its Shirakabe no Machi – an area of beautiful white-walled buildings, and the site of the Well of the Willow Tree. BLD
Kanpo no Yado Hikari, Yanai
Yanai to Yamaguchi, ~80km
Ride into Yamaguchi Prefecture, and to Yamaguchi City – a city whose wealth originated from trade with China’s Ming Dynasty. Fascinating glimpses of its past can be seen at Kozan Park, where a highlight is the five-storey pagoda at Rurikoji Temple – a world heritage site. BLD
Yamaguchi to Tsunoshima Island, ~90km
Follow quiet valleys and head inland towards Akiyoshidai, a beautiful area of limestone landscapes. Explore limestone caves, where an elevator can transport you to the plateau, where your bikes will be waiting. Descend through farmlands, back to the Japan Sea and, and if time allows, cross to the tiny island of Tsunoshima. Explore the island’s pretty lanes before returning to your lodging on the mainland.
Hotel Nishi Nagato Resort, Tsunoshima
Tsunoshima to Hagi, ~90km
First stop today is the famous Motonosumi Inakari Shrine. Stroll through the sacred red Tori gates to the Shrine. Then follow the coast towards our destination, the Town of Hagi – a classic old castle town, fantastic for walking through old feudal Japan. BLD
Mihagi Hotel & Resort, Hagi
Hagi to Yoshika, ~80km
It is 50 kilometers through rural Japan to the town of Tsuwano, remotely hidden in a valley, and known for its picturesque main street, lined with Edo-era buildings and koi ponds. Continue to Yoshika, a quiet village with rice paddies, nestled in the mountains of Shimane Prefecture. BLD
Yurara Hotel, Yoshika
Yoshika to Hiroshima (Miyajima), ~60km
An early start to cross over the mountains and ride back towards the Inland sea. The route ends at Iwakuni City`s Kintaikyo Bridge. Ferry to Miyajima Island and the Itsukushima Shrine for a few hours of exploration on the island before transferring into Hiroshima. A final dinner at the famous Hiroshima Okonomiyaki provides a fitting conclusion to a wonderful week of immersion in rural and urban Japan. Your guide will say goodbye following dinner. BLD
Hotel Granvia, Hiroshima
Your tour concludes this morning after breakfast. Transfers to Hiroshima airport can be arranged on your behalf. B
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2023 Guided dates:
- Apr 2-11
- May 30-Jun 8
- Nov 5-14
2024 Guided dates:
- Apr 7-16
- Nov 3-12
New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Guided: C 6595 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 9 nights, 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners, full-time guiding, vehicle support, necessary transfers, maps, luggage handling, taxes
Small groups or private tours, fully supported with drivers/guides and vehicles, all lodging and most meals included. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Single Occupancy: 1195
Carbon Racing: 455
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
Often referred to as road bikers’ heaven, this route follows the Shimanami Kaido Bikeway from Onomichi, across the Seto islands to the beautiful Shikoku – the smallest and least populated of Japan’s major islands. All linked with beautiful bridges, the trail of islands leads you to Yashiro Island and the Yamaguchi Prefecture. Along this route you will visit the largest treasure house of fighting equipment used during the age of the samurai in Japan, Oyamazumi Shrine. You will also visit captivating limestone caves, historical temples, castles, and even Japan’s oldest bath house. Allow some extra time in Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park and the Genbaku Dome, the Shukkei-en Gradens, or the Hiroshima Castle to take in some rich cultural history.
NOTE: Japan is an interesting but culturally very different place. Food, rooms, even the side of the road: everything is different: You will sleep on futons on tatami floor mats. You will eat beautiful raw fish sushi with rice for breakfast. You may choose to bathe in onsens (communal baths). Please refer to Freewheeling’s introductory documents in order not to be surprised by some of the social graces that will be expected of you.