Enjoy the fantastic sceneries of “the Aegean Sea of Orient” connected by magnificent bridges. Try cycling on the sea feeling the breeze.
Shimanami-Kaido (Shimanami Sea Route) is a collective name of the 60 km (37 mile) motor highway over the Seto Inland Sea which connects Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, and Onomichi City , Hiroshima Prefecture, and six islands in between. The completion of the route has made Ehime more easily accessible from major cities in Honshu. “Shimanami-Kaido” often refers the whole area along the road.
Shimanami-Kaido provides the marvelous views with its splendid bridges. Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridges (4015 m / 13173 ft), which links Oshima Island to Shikoku, are the first three consecutive suspension bridges in the world. To overlook the bridges, the best is Mt. Kiro-san Observatory and Park in Oshima, especially in the sunset. Tatara Bridge (1480 m / 4856 ft), one of the world’s longest cable-stayed bridges, spreads its wings over the border of Ehime and Hiroshima. You can enjoy its great view from Tatara Shimanami Park at the foot of the bridge on Omishima Island.
Cycling is the highlight attraction. It is the best recommended cycling course in Japan. Each bridge has the path for pedestrians & cyclers beside the vehicle traffic, which enables you to bike on the bridges between the blue sky and blue sea. There are 14 rent-a-bike stations along the route, where you can take your bike. You may just go around for a while, or you can run as far as you want, and drop off your rental bike at one of the stations. The entire distance of cycling route is approximately 70 km (44 mile), longer than the vehicle highway. It takes less than seven hours.
You may drop in Oyamazumi Shrine on Omishima Island in the center of this area, which has been broadly worshiped since ancient times. It is also famous for the armors and swords the shrine owns, many of which are designated as national treasures and important cultural properties. Tidal current cruises are another recommendation. The islands are dotted closely along the Shimanami-Kaido, which causes strong and complicated tide flow in spots. One of them, Kurushima Kaikyo Strait is known as one of three fastest currents in Japan. The boat-tour takes you to see the dynamic tidal current, the magnificent Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridges and vessels at the shipbuilding docks. You can also enjoy a thrilling cruise to experience on the wildly fast stream at Miyakubo Seto.
From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 20 min from Haneda to Matsuyama Airport, and 20 min from the airport to Matsuyama Station by bus.
[Rail] 3h 20 min from Tokyo to Okayama Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line, and 2h 15 min from Okayama to Imabari Station by JR Seto-ohashi/Yosan Line (limited express). Take a bus from Imabari Station to Shimanami-Kaido.
From Osaka :
[Air] 50 min from Itami to Matsuyama Airport.
[Rail] 45 min from Shin-Osaka to Okayama Station by Shinkansen.