The Shimanami Kaido, which connects Imabari in Ehime to Hiroshima, is a popular tourist spot for cycling. You can also feed your soul with history and nature at Kirosantenbo Park and Oyamazumi Shrine, and enjoy local delicacies such as Imabari Yakibuta Tamago Meshi (grilled pork and egg over rice).
The First Cycling Route in Japan that Passes Over Sea Straits!
The Shimanami Kaido cycling route is the first route over sea straits that can be traveled by bicycle in Japan. This route across islands is a cyclist’s dream, and gives the rider a glimpse into the history and culture of Setouchi region. Few cars travel the route, and there is a blue line marking the path as well as rest areas known as Cycle Oases, meaning that even beginners can ride with peace of mind. You can enjoy stunning views and the idyllic scenery as you ride. The Shimanami Kaido cycling route is also renowned worldwide, with the US CNN Travel selecting it as one of the 7 best cycling routes in the world, and it has been given one star by the French Michelin guide.
Kirosantenbo Park, the Greatest View of the Shimanami Kaido
This observatory park is located on the peak of Mount Kiro at the southernmost part of Oshima Island. The view of Kurushima-Kaikyo from the peak was selected as one of the 88 best sceneries in Shikoku. This park is said to offer the best view along the Shimanami Kaido, and with good weather you can see Mount Ishizuchi, the highest peak in west Japan. No matter what time of day, the scenery is absolutely stunning—watch the sun set into the ocean or the Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge be lit up on certain days.
Oyamazumi Shrine, Shrine of Sochinju; a God of Seas, Mountains and Military
This shrine is the oldest in Ehime and the head of the over 10,000 Yamazumi shrines and Mishima shrines around Japan. In the center of the shrine precinct, there is an approximately 2,600 year old camphor tree, which is enshrined as a sacred tree, and there are many Important Cultural Properties such as the main and front shrine. You will find yourself forgetting the passage of time in this mystical space. The deity of this shrine is believed to be the god of sea, mountains, and military. Many military commanders have given weapons as an offering as a prayer for victory or for thanks. The shrine also has a Treasury Museum that displays these offerings. It is said that this museum houses 80% of the weapons and armory that are designated Important Cultural Properties or National Treasures in Japan.
Imabari Yakibuta Tamago Meshi
The Shimanami Kaido is lined with a variety of unique local culinary delights that you’ll want to stop off and try during your cycle. Dishes include Imabari Yakibuta Tamago Meshi (grilled pork and egg over rice), which is famous around Japan, salt ramen made using the renowned Hakata salt, and bowls of rice topped with sea bass (mahata), a rare fish.