Breakfast at our Ryokan
Breakfast was almost as elaborate as the dinner we had last night at Hotel Innoshima. We tried to eat as much food as we could. There was plenty of rice and miso soup we could have filled up on before we were to depart onto our next adventure cycling the Shimanamai Kaido.
We then went and drove to the other end of Habu town where we parked our car in a pachinko parlour car park, it seemed like the easiest option for free parking on Innoshima.
In a few minutes were were ready with our bikes for the second stage of our island cycling. We started from Ikuchi-hashi bridge and our goal for today’s ride was to get back to Innoshima bridge, around the second island in the chain of the Shimanami Kaido.
Cycling along the Coastline
The first part of the cycling path was along the busy road next to the shoreline but once we had passed the town hall traffic got less busy. We saw a giant radish outside a pickle plant, perfect spot to stop and take a photo.
Ship Building Factory
The road curved around, up a small hill and down into an area with a large ship building factory. We could see a gigantic car carrier ship being built in the dock.
Further down the road we reached busy しまなみビーチ – Shimanami beach, with an 因島アメニティプール outdoor swimming pool.
The Outdoor Pool
The pool has two curly slides and Jerome wanted to go on them. We paid the entrance fee and changed into our swimming costumes. The next hour we spent going down the slides. We were the only gaijins (foreigners) and to the amusement of the Japanese, I was probably the only girl in a bikini as the locals mostly cover up to avoid the sun and stay white skinned for beauty.
Next to the beach at Shimanami were some food stalls, selling standard Japanese takeaway fare of yakisoba, chicken katsu…etc.
Lunch with a View
Here we had a basic cheap lunch with a view of Shimanami beach and the Seto Inland Sea.
Right behind there is a small playground with a slide and see saw in the shape of animals and a huge Brontosaurus!
On the beach again!
We pedaled on up the hill, turning left before getting to the Innoshimahashi bridge, where we had turned round the day before. Over the rise we free wheeled down to the sea where we found a much quieter beach with clear blue water and golden sand. There were two other families on this beach and Jerome made friends with their kids, playing Frisbee and with a bouncy water ball from Waboba.
It always amazes me how easy it is for children to ignore language barriers.
The Bike Ride Back
The sun was already hiding behind the trees on the hill and it was time for us to ride back on our bicycles to the car. For our return to Innoshima we cycled past the 因島フラワーセンター Innoshima Flower Center, up over a steep hill and down to the town hall, which was shorter but somewhat more strenuous than the way out, especially for Jerome who was getting tired by now.
Dinner at Hotel Innoshima
We got back to Hotel Innoshima in time to have a hot bath before dinner. Like the previous night we were served seven courses of Kaiseki cuisine, each dish was delicious. It is amazing how they can take one fish and serve it in six or seven different ways to make a whole multi-course meal.
Fireworks – Hanabi
Our concierge at Innoshima hotel had told us that tonight there were going to be fireworks – fire flowers in Japanese or – hanabi on the island across the bay, Yugejima. He invited us to watch it together with guests from the hotel on the top terrace. We gathered on our plastic chairs, together with the other guests, including many children and stared into the dark of the night waiting for the fireworks to start. We could see the colourful explosions of the rockets and of course we could only hear the bang a few seconds later because of the distance between the island and us. The fireworks were elaborate and went on for sometime maybe over 20 minutes. How can such a small island deliver such an elaborate firework show? I will never know, but it was amazing to see even from the distance.
Where to Stay on Your Tour of the Shimanami Kaido:
Onomichi: The uber cool U2 Hotel Cycle, even Paul Smith stayed there…
Innoshima: Hotel Innoshima somewhat dated but a truly authentic experience and very helpful staff offering amazing views
Ikujijima: Tsutsui, a lovely, modern ryokan in the heart of Setoda
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