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Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

The Shimanami Kaido toll road can be a relaxing day trip in your car or an intense cycling trek, depending on what you’re up for. With great museums, food, and even an island full of rabbits, it’s worth exploring; but first, you need to get some wheels.

Getting Around Shimanami Kaido
  • Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    The most popular way to get around on the Shimanami Kaido is by bike. Bike rentals are relatively cheap. There are about a dozen bike rental shops along the road run by the Shimanami Kaido. There bikes start at 1,000 yen for a regular bike and you have to pay a 1,000-yen deposit. You can drop your bike off at one of the other locations along the road, but you’ll lose your deposit unless you return it to where you rented it from. The other option is the two Giant rental centers; they have better, more expensive bikes, so you’ll pay more for the deposit and the drop-off fee. There are two Giant rental stations, one at Imabari station and one at Onomichi station. You can rent a simple bike for as little as 4,000 yen or spend a bit more to get something like a road bike with a carbon frame. There’s a special bike path alongside the road, so usually you won’t have to compete with cars. The entire road will take more experienced cyclists about 5–7 hours and novices closer to 10 hours. The good news is that tolls have been waived for cyclists until the end of March 2019.

    Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    Car rental in Japan is pretty affordable, and if you have an international driver’s license, are over 18, and have around 5,000 yen, it’s a relatively painless process. Most websites let you make reservations online in English. The base fee for a small rental car is 5,000 yen per day, but it goes up depending on what type of vehicle you want. There are other fees usually. For example, you might have to pay 1,000 yen for insurance and another fee to drop the car off at a different franchise location. You’re also supposed to return the car with a full tank. Getting a car will definitely shave some time off of your journey and your legs probably won’t be as sore afterward.

    Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    There are six main islands along the Shimanami Kaido, but there are plenty of detours along the way. Some of the smaller islands are accessible only by ferry. For example, Okunoshima, an island full of rabbits, can be reached only by a short ferry ride from Tadanoumi port in Omishimaat a round-trip cost of 620 yen.

    Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    Habu port on the southern tip of Innoshima Island is a good jumping-off point for exploring some of the smaller islands not connected to the main road. These islands, like Iwagi Island and Ikina Island, are well off thebeaten path and most tourists will never visit them, so they are a great opportunity to have a one-of-a-kind experience. You can visit every island in the chain just by ferry, taking it all the way to Imabari Port for just 1,700 yen, so that’s definitely another way to enjoy your trip.

    Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    Getting Around Shimanami Kaido

    Lastly, there’s always the Setouchi Bus if you’re trying to get from one place to another. For 2,250 yen, you can go from Onomichi to Imabari in about 90 minutes, but that really seems to go against the point of a scenic highway.

    Address
    広島県尾道市-愛媛県今治市
    Phone
    Onomichi
    Address
    Hiroshima Pref. Onomichishi Higashigoshochou
    Phone
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