The Shimanami Kaido
Cycling the Shimanami Kaido with kids can be a challenge and we would always recommend to break the route into a few days. We had already done the first two islands of the Shimanami Kaido over the last two days and decided to head off the beaten path for our next bike ride. The island of rural island off Innoshima seemed the perfect place to explore lesser-visited areas of Japan.
Change of Plan
According to the pre-planned cycle route for the Shimanami Kaido that I had worked out before the trip we should have headed to Ikuchijima today, but instead we decided to take the ferry across to Yuge-jima, the island that let off the fireworks the previous night.
The ferry to Yuge-jima went from Karoto not Habu and runs a few times every day. It was a short ride to the ferry stop past some shipyards with huge cranes, which Jerome found really interesting. Once we arrived at Kamuyuge on the island we noticed that time seemed to have stopped years ago. Life seemed to be at a different pace and the houses all looked more quaint and older than we had seen so far on our trip.
Cycling Along the Yugeseto Straight
We pedalled along the sea front, next to Yugeseto straight towards the northern end of the island. Yuge-jima is famous for it’s seawater onsen, which we cycled past after coming off the ferry. The hot seawater is said to have beneficial effects on the skin. As it was a hot day we decided to go for fresh colder seawater instead, and went to a beach in the next village along the coast.
Lunch at Yuge Town
After lazing on the beach and a swim we cycled back towards Yuge town and went to a small café. A mother and daughter run the café. They offer small set menus for lunch and breakfast. Jerome went for the breakfast burger, ordering a second one as he was still hungry and it was so good! Chris and I had a rice bowl with pork. The daughter of the cafe spoke very good English and told us that she had studied abroad and that came back because she missed the island and to help her mum with the café. Before we left, they asked us if they could take a picture of the three of us which I guess would go up on the wall with the others from guests. We didn’t mind at all as they were so friendly to us.
Beach on Kamejima
We continued our cycle ride onwards towards the first bridge of the day’s ride and spotted a small beach on Kamijima which we went to cool off before heading onto the second bridge connecting to our third island of the day, Ikina-jima.
Views of Innoshima
Here we could see the big dockyards on Innoshima that we had cycled past in the morning on our way down to Karoto. Completing a pretty cycle route through islands less often frequented by tourists.
100 Yen Store Spending Spree
We took the ferry across to Habu port on Innoshima and went for a little shopping spree in the Daiso store. Daiso stores can be found all over Japan. Daiso’s nearest equivalent is an English Pound or German Euro shop almost everything costs only 100Yen. Except that the range and quality in Daiso far surpasses any European pound or Euro shops. We bought swimming goggles, playing cards, Japanese sweets and much more. It’s a great place to pick up some toys for kids. When Jerome was younger we bought him a Shinkansen train set which he would play with in our hotel room for hours on end, and every time we came back to japan we used to extend it with more track, trains and coaches.
Sunset over the Seto Inland Sea
That evening we went through the same routine as the last two nights, first a hot bath, looking out the big windows. Then we would savour the sunset over islands where we had cycled that day and the calm Seto Inland Sea, followed with a delicious Kaiseki dinner at our ryokan.
Taking a Break
After cycling the rural island of Yugeshima, we decided to take a days break in cycling the Shimanami Kaido with a visit to the mystic mountain temple on Innoshima.
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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