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How to Bike Along the Shimanami Kaido

The Shimanami Kaido runs 40 miles between Japan’s largest island of Honshu and the smaller island of Shikoku, skipping over several islets. The main route is popular even with novice cyclists, as Shimanami Kaido has sprouted bicycle rental shops, inns, restaurants and other businesses set up to outfit and comfort riders along the way. After getting to the area, these are a few tips to keep in mind before setting out.

How to Bike Along the Shimanami Kaido

Index

  • Choose the right bike

  • Be prepared

  • Plot your trip

  • Fuel up and chill out

  • Make a friend

  • Choose the right bike

    Choose the right bike

    Choose the right bike

    The Shimanami Kaido has revitalized the local economy in both Imabari (in Ehime Prefecture, on Shikoku) and Onomichi (in Hiroshima Prefecture, on the main island of Honshu) and businesses big and small have set up shop offering bikes for rent. Staff will help you to choose the right bike for your skill level and level of fitness. The majority of rental shops are open from 9am to 5pm, although a few, such as the Chuo Rental Cycle Terminal in Imabari extend their operating hours during the peak season in midsummer. For those with more experience, high-tech road bikes are available for rent, as well.

  • Be prepared

    Be prepared

    Be prepared

    The shops in Imabari and Onomichi have got you covered for safety equipment. When renting a bike, you will be given a helmet and usually a pump, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for a drizzle or worse on the way. Grab a rain jacket—or at least a sandwich and a can of coffee, if you plan to hunker down roadside until the weather blows over. If you happen to get a flat tire or run into any other trouble, head back to one of the many pick-up and drop-off points forrental bikes. If you want to bail on the trip, the Shimanami Cycle Express is a bus that runs several times a day in both directions between Imabari and Onomichi.

  • Plot your trip

    Plot your trip

    Plot your trip

    There’s no need to run the entire 40 miles in one straight go! Most of thearea rental companies operate multiple pick-up and drop-off points along the route, so exploring is encouraged. A map of the area will include side excursions, day trips, inns and rest stops along the way, and routes to explore nearby villages and shrines.

  • Fuel up and chill out

    Fuel up and chill out

    Fuel up and chill out

    Is there a better excuse than a bicycle trip to recklessly stuff yourself with saucy carbohydrates? Does any bed feel softer than the one you sink into after riding the saddle for a couple dozen miles? There are countless options along the route catering to hungry and tired cyclists. Many shops do double duty, pushing carb up meals and offering a way station with showers and a rest area to riders.

  • Make a friend

    Make a friend

    Make a friend

    The road is the perfect place to make a new friend. Chat up some of your fellow riders as you make your way across the islets or while slurping ramen. Many of the riders on the route have made the trip before and are a great source of intel on side trips and the best places to crash.

    Seto Inland Sea Shimanami Kaido
    Address
    Hiroshima Prefecture Onomichi City - Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture
    Phone
    今治市サイクリングターミナルサンライズ糸山
    Address
    愛媛県今治市砂場町2-8-1
    Phone
    0898-41-3196
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