Wonders of Shimanami Kaido (Cycling Tour):
Onomichi, Shimanami Kaido, & Matsuyama
Experience Japan with an entirely different perspective as you take this scenic self-guided cycle tour through several islands in the Seto Island Sea. The 44-mile long Setouchi Shimanami Kaido includes Japan's first strait-traversing cycling road, and is well known as a "cyclist's paradise." Your tour combines unique culture, incredible landscape, great food, and the hospitality of traditional ryokans. And at the end, you'll have the opportunity to relax your body in Japan's oldest bath house.
1 Night Onomichi
1 Night Omishima Island
1 Night Matsuyama
Private Evening Onomichi Foodie Tour via Public Transportation
Standard Train Tickets Imabari to Matsuyama
2-Day Road Bike Reservation
Arrive in Onomichi by train from your previous destination today. After making your way to your accommodations, you're free to explore Onomichi at your leisure until this evening's exciting gourmet tour.
Your guide will pick you up at approximately 6:00pm and proceed to a covered shopping area where you'll enjoy some of Japan's famous sashimi as an appetizer, followed by dinner. After an enjoyable meal, you'll head to one of Onomichi's trendier bars. Two drinks are included and you'll have some time to relax and enjoy the local atmosphere. Besides wine, beer and cocktails, here's an opportunity to sample Japan's traditional drink, sake (rice wine). "NOTE: Please forward your luggage from your previous destination to the destination after Matsuyama"
(Dinner & Accommodations, Onomichi)
After breakfast, you can select a regular road bike beginning at 11:00am. A reservation will be made under your name at a cycle terminal nearest to your hotel. Please be advised that payment is made upon arrival, so you will need to pay the rental fee of 3000yen (approx $28) total for your two days of cycling (cash only, cards not accepted).
You'll start at the Eki-mae port and take a short 15-minute ferry ride across the strait to Mukaishima and begin your ride (fee is 110 yen/1 USD to be paid on the boat). Today's cycle route will be on the Shimanami Kaido covering 19 miles. It's the major road in the area and you'll find all road signs easily accessible. Although not a great distance, be prepared that today's cycle will have a few steep inclines, and you may find it necessary to dismount and walk up some of the steeper hills. Along the way you will cross Mukaishima, Innoshima and Ikuchi Islands. There's plenty of time to detour and head to points of interest around each of the islands. Be sure to take a look at Murakami Suigun Castle on Innoshima Island, a museum that tells the history of the once powerful Murakami clan, who ruled the waterways of the Seto Inland Sea. Setoda town located on Ikuchijima Island, is home to the strange, but enchanting Kosanji Temple.
Your final destination today is Omishima Island, and after checking into the Chaume Ryokan, dinner is included in tonight's stay.
(Breakfast, Dinner & Accommodations, Omishima Island)
Begin your day with a Japanese breakfast at your ryokan before setting off to finish the remaining 28 miles of the Shimanami Kaido. You will cross over Hakata Island, renowned for its beautiful beaches, so feel free to take a detour and explore some of the them (though be advised you do have a train to catch later this afternoon). On Oshima Island, it's recommended that cyclists veer off the main road (which has a number of steep climbs) and follow the "Island Explorer" route around the west coast offering astonishing views. You'll cross the Great Kurushima Bridge, before arriving in Imabari. Here, leave your bike at the JR Imabari Station Rental Bike Terminal and take the 35 minute train ride to Matsuyama.
Upon arrival in Matsuyama, make your way to your ryokan. After checking in, you can relax or explore on your own. Matsuyama's most popular attraction is its historic castle, which remains one of the few "original" castles remaining in Japan. Another option is a visit to Dogo Onsen, the oldest bath house in Japan. The warm waters are guaranteed to soothe your aching muscles after your two long days of cycling!
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Matsuyama)
After breakfast, make your way to the rail station, and onward to your next Avanti Destination!
** Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change