I have been looking forward to getting out and exploring parts of Japan that aren't Fukuyama. Not that I don't love my city, because I do. However, when another teacher at my school asked if I would like to bike part of the Shimanami Kaido with him I jumped at the chance. The Shimanami Kaido is actually an expressway that connects Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture to Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. Alongside the expressway is an incredibly well developed cycling route with rest stops, bike rental places, and intense infrastructure all put in place to enjoy the Seto inland sea by bicycle. The forecast called for rain today but we didn't let that dampen our spirits. At ten o' clock we loaded our bikes into his car and started out for our first stop the Kurushima-kaikyo bridge, which is about 6.4 km, and is the final bridge connecting the island of Oshima to the main part of Shikoku.
|Kurushima-kaikyo bridge as seen from Imabari City|
We had nice ride across the bridge in which I blew through the toll gate not knowing that cyclists have to pay a small toll of ¥200 and had to sheepishly come back and throw my change into the box when I noticed my teacher no longer behind me. Once we got to the other side he kindly bought me lunch at a wonderful little restaurant with a fantastic view and equally fantastic food. It seems everything on the menu comes in little dutch ovens and served with a side of warm bread and a salad with vinaigrette made from locally produced citrus that is to die for.
|Deliciously warm melted cheese, vegetables and meat|
all simmered in a Dutch Oven.
After lunch we headed back to the other side, loaded up our bikes and drove to Hakatajima Island where we unloaded our bikes again and proceeded to ride the entire circumference of the island. During this portion of our ride it began to rain... a lot! We were soaked to the bone by the time we got all the way around the island, that being said I still had a lot of fun and I think he did too. Once we were completely around the island and the rain had subsided, he headed to the car and I continued by bike through a shipyard where they were christening a new ship and finally over one more bridge to Omishima Island and the Tatara Shimanami Koen (Park). There we packed up our bikes and headed over to the Tatara Shimanami Onsen for a much deserved soak in the those soothing hotwaters. All in all a wonderful day.
|Ship building as seen from the Kurushima-kaikyo.|
|Some of the amazing infrastructure build solely for cyclists.|
|Hakatajima IC bike parking and tourist center.|
|The incoming rain on Hakatajima.|
|My fellow teacher at a little rest stop on Hakatajima where we|
enjoyed some delicious snacks that Laura sent along with me...
...just the energy boost we needed to keep cycling in the rain.
|Ship christening on Hakatajima.|
|Approach pathway to Omishima Bashi Bridge.|
|Omishima Bashi Arch Bridge.|
|Tatara Onsen where we spent some time relaxing after a hard day cycling in the rain.|