Bikes and Bunnies
The Shimanami Kaido is a tourist site that is usually traversed by bicycle, either all the way to Imabari or partially, but the fun doesn’t have to stop after returning one’s bicycle. From Onomichi, famous sites in eastern Hiroshima Prefecture are even more accessible, such as Mihara and Okunoshima. Make the most out of your time on the most famous islands in the Seto Inland Sea (besides Miyajima) over the course of two days!
01 Shimanami Rent-A-Cycle (しまなみレンタサイクル)
Traversing the Shimanami Kaido by bicycle either from Onomichi to Imabari or Imabari to Onomichi is a bucket-list item for a great many Japanese people as well as for tourists from abroad. Although going all the way provides the most enriching experience, it is more than possible to rent a bicycle from select points on Honshu, Shikoku, or any of the six islands in between. Those who wish to show up empty-handed can do so, as these Rent-A-Cycle stations have plenty of bicycles and helmets to lend, and customers simply pay by the day. Given how popular the Shimanami Kaido is year-round, tourists are advised to made reservations in advance during high seasons of travel.
- 9 Higashigosho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: Mukaishima Port [Onomichi-Mukaishima Ferry, ~5 minutes]
02 Mukaishima (向島)
Mukaishima is a small island in the sea about 400 meters from Onomichi City. It is the closest island to Hiroshima on the Shimanami Kaido, which connects Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture with Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture, and can be reached by the Onomichi Bridge and Innoshima Bridge, which are part of the Shimanami Kaido route, as well as the Shin-Omichi Bridge and three ferry boats. From Mukaishima, you can see the city of Onomichi on the other side of the river and the beauty of the islands of the Seto Inland Sea as many boats pass between the islands.
- Mukaishima, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: Innoshima Bridge [Cycling, duration depends on pace]
03 Innoshima (因島)
Innoshima is an island located about 20 km from Onomichi City. It is the second island on the Shimanami Kaido, which connects Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture with Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture, and can be reached by the Innoshima Bridge and Ikuchi Bridge, which are part of the Shimanami Kaido route, and by ferry. Innoshima was once the headquarters of the Murakami Suigun, who were active in the Onomichi area, and is dotted with various sightseeing spots such as Daisen Shrine, where you can pray for the safety of your bicycle journey.
- 1899-31 Innoshima Habu-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: Ikuchi Bridge [Cycling, duration depends on pace]
04 Kousanji Temple and Museum (耕三寺及び耕三寺ミュージアム)
The Kosanji Museum is located on Ikuchijima Island, a small island sandwiched between the Tatara Bridge and Ikuchi Bridge on the Shimanami Kaido. The museum is located in the precincts of Kozanji Temple, which was built by Kozo Kozanji, a businessman from Onomichi City, as a family temple to mourn his mother. It was opened as a facility to manage and exhibit the vast art collection of the Kozanji family. In the museum, many works of art, including nationally important cultural properties, are displayed, and outdoors, there is a huge marble garden created by the contemporary sculptor Kazuto Kaitani.
[Entrance fees (Kosanji Temple grounds, Mirai Kokoro no Oka, Kongo-kan)
Adult: 1,400 yen
University student: 1,000 yen
High school student: 800 yen
Senior citizens (65 years old and over) 1,200 yen
Junior high school students, elementary school students, and younger – Free
[Entrance fee (Chou Sei Kaku)]
Adults and children 200 yen
※ Please present an official ID (passport, international student ID, etc.) at the reception desk to verify your age when entering the museum to receive the discount.
- 553-2 Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
05 Bicycle Café & Bar Shiomachitei (自転車カフェ&バー 汐待亭)
Bicycle Café & Bar Shiomachitei is located in the Shiomachi shopping district on Ikuchijima. The interior of the café, marked by a beautiful lemon colored curtain, is a Japanese style space renovated from an old Japanese house. As soon as you enter the café, there is a bike rack where you can park your bicycle, so you can relax in the cafe without worrying about bike theft. In addition to curry and coffee, the store also offers original lemonade for take-out.
- 425 Setoda-cho Setoda, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: ONOMICHI U2 [Ferry, ~45 minutes] and check into HOTEL CYCLE
06 ONOMICHI U2 (オノミチ ユーツー)
ONOMICHI U2 is a facility located along the seafront in Onomichi. Inside the renovated old warehouse, there is a cyclist hotel where you can stay with your bike, a restaurant and bar, a café and bakery, a lifestyle store, and a bike store. The hotel is a cyclist-friendly facility where you can enjoy excellent food with a view of the sea or go cycling directly from the hotel.
- 5-11 Nishigosho-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: Ichibankan [Cycling; duration depends on pace]
07 Ichibankan (壱番館)
Ichibankan is a ramen restaurant located about a 10-minute walk from Onomichi Station. The ramen served in Onomichi is called “Onomichi Ramen,” and is characterized by a light chicken-based soup with a rich flavor and a lot of back oil. Ichibankan is one of the most popular Onomichi ramen restaurants, offering ramen with plenty of green onions and a clear, special broth.
- 2-9-26 Tsuchido, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: Onomichi Port Bicycle Rental Terminal [Cycling; duration depends on pace] to return bicycle
08 Onomichi Port Bicycle Rental Terminal (尾道港レンタサイクルターミナル)
Shimanami Rent-a-Cycle rents out bicycles for cyclists who want to enjoy the Shimanami Kaido by bike. There are 13 terminals where you can rent bicycles, including Onomichi Port, Imabari Station, and on all the islands along the Shimanami Sea Route. With the exception of some bicycles, such as electric bicycles, all bicycles can be ridden away (returned at a different terminal than the one where the bicycle was rented).
- Onomichi Port Terminal: 9 Higashigosho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN/Imabari Station Terminal: 2-773-8 Kitahorai-cho, Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, JAPAN
Lodging: HOTEL CYCLE
01 HOTEL CYCLE (ホテルサイクル)
HOTEL CYCLE is a hotel along the Shimanami Kaido where guests can check in while still mounted on their bicycles; this cycle-friendly accommodation is a rarity worldwide. Located inside the ONOMICHI U2 complex, which was formed out of a renovated naval warehouse, the hotel is bordered by establishments that would bring joy to any cycling traveler, such as a restaurant and a GIANT bicycle store.
- 5-11 Nishigosho-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: Mihara Station [JR Sanyo Green Line; ~20 minutes]
02 Mihara Castle Ruins (三原城跡)
The Mihara Castle Ruins are the ruins of the great Mihara Castle that once existed in Mihara City, Hiroshima Prefecture. Although only a part of the castle still exists, such as the castle tower (the stone foundation of the castle tower), the moat surrounding the castle, and the Funairi Tower, it is known as a popular tourist spot visited by most of the tourists who come to Mihara City for sightseeing due to its convenience of being just a short walk from JR Mihara Station. This is one of the few places in Japan where you can see part of the castle ruins from the platform of JR Mihara Station, or even from the JR train.
- 1-1 Shiromachi, Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
03 Okonomiyaki Tetchan (お好み焼 てっちゃん)
Okonomiyaki Tetchan is a popular okonomiyaki restaurant in Mihara City. There are 7 other restaurants all thoughout Japan including Hiroshima, Osaka, Tokyo, boasting nationwide popularity. Okonomiyaki Tetchan offers a wide variety of okonomiyaki, including modern-yaki (Osaka-style but with noodles) and Mihara-yaki topped with chicken offal. Mihara-yaki is a very rare dish that can only be found in the Mihara okonomiyaki restaurants in Hiroshima Prefecture.
- 1-5-25 Shiro-machi, Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
04 Mihara Port Ferry Terminal (三原港フェリーターミナル)
The Mihara Ferry Terminal is only five minutes on foot from JR Mihara Station, located at Mihara Port. There are high-speed and passenger boats that take tourists to nearby islands in the Seto Inland Sea such as Okunoshima or Ikuchijima. There is also a bicycle rental terminal inside the ferry terminal, so tourists can also visit said islands by bicycle.
- 3-1-1 Shiromachi, Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: Okunoshima [Ferry, ~40 minutes]
05 Ōkunoshima (大久野島)
Okunojima is an uninhabited island located about 15 minutes by ferry from Omishima Island, one of the islands on the Shimanami Kaido, and from Tadanoumi Port, a short distance from JR Tadanoumi Station. Okunojima has long been famous as the “Rabbit Island,” with about 900 wild rabbits living on the island. Okunojima is also known as the island where the former Japanese Army secretly conducted poison gas experiments during World War II, and the island is dotted with facilities such as the Poison Gas Museum.
- Okunoshima, Tadanoumi-cho, Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: Tadanoumi Port [Ferry, ~15 minutes]
06 Tadanoumi Station (忠海駅)
Tadanoumi Station is a humble station right by Tadanoumi Port, which is most tourists’ first stop on their journey to Okunoshima, the infamous “Rabbit Island” off the coast of Takehara. As such, the station sign also features a rabbit mascot to remind tourists to disembark here if they wish to see the bunnies. Its location also makes it easy to squeeze a quick visit to either Takehara Preserved Historic District or Mihara Castle in the same day as well.
- 1-1-1 Tadanoumi Nakamachi, Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Transportation: Hiroshima Station [JR Kure Line; ~140 minutes]
07 ekie (エキエ)
ekie (stylized with lowercase letters only) is a relatively new shopping center attached to the northern and eastern ends of Hiroshima Station. It’s actually broken down into several sections, but on the whole, it’s a bookstore, a convenience store, a food court, a nightlife destination, a souvenir store, and a supermarket at the same time! Grab a bite to eat here right after stepping off the Shinkansen, or buy a last-minute present for someone special right before catching your train!
- 1-2 Matsubara-cho, Minami Ward, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Fill up on dinner and hops (from beer, get it?) before heading back to your accommodation or proceeding to your next destination.
Shimanami Rent-A-Cycle (しまなみレンタサイクル)
9 Higashigosho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Mukaishima, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
1899-31 Innoshima Habu-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Kousanji Temple and Museum (耕三寺及び耕三寺ミュージアム)
553-2 Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Bicycle Café & Bar Shiomachitei (自転車カフェ&バー 汐待亭)
425 Setoda-cho Setoda, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
ONOMICHI U2 (オノミチ ユーツー)
5-11 Nishigosho-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
2-9-26 Tsuchido, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Onomichi Port Bicycle Rental Terminal (尾道港レンタサイクルターミナル)
Onomichi Port Terminal: 9 Higashigosho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN/Imabari Station Terminal: 2-773-8 Kitahorai-cho, Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, JAPAN
HOTEL CYCLE (ホテルサイクル)
5-11 Nishigosho-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Mihara Castle Ruins (三原城跡)
1-1 Shiromachi, Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Okonomiyaki Tetchan (お好み焼 てっちゃん)
1-5-25 Shiro-machi, Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Mihara Port Ferry Terminal (三原港フェリーターミナル)
3-1-1 Shiromachi, Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Okunoshima, Tadanoumi-cho, Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
Tadanoumi Station (忠海駅)
1-1-1 Tadanoumi Nakamachi, Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN
1-2 Matsubara-cho, Minami Ward, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture, JAPAN