Day 9 – Omishima to Ikuchijima

Tuesday 25 February, 2020
Day 9 | Omishima to Ikuchijima (Shimanami Kaido – Island 4)

[Missed the previous post? Check it out here]

The weather today isn’t as nice as it was yesterday but it’s still ok, and there’s no rain on the forecast until the evening with a top of 15°C. We get ourselves ready and Atsuko has prepared us breakfast of soup, an egg salad brioche roll, yoghurt with citrus jam and tea.

She also gives us a gift of some handmade charms made by a 90 year old local lady of Omishima Island. I attach mine on my jacket zipper.

We pack our bags up and set off for a round island explore of Omishima.

It’s about 40km which will bring us back to the Tatara Bridge where we will cross to the next island, Ikuchijima.

Along the way we spot loads of citrus trees, some so full of fruit that the ground is littered with the ones that the tree can no longer hold.

One of the trees even had the fruit wrapped in black cloth, most likely to protect it from the cold weather.

It’s nice riding along the coast with the sea in our sights for much of the way.

We make a stop at Oyamazumi Shrine.

There are hardly any others there when we visit. We wander the quiet grounds and see a huge tree, probably hundreds of years old.

At the back are also some drums.

A bit further around the coast are several museums. The Toyo Ito Architecture Museum, The Tokoro Museum Omishima and The Ken Iwata Mother and Child Museum.

We also spot a strange looking house that looks like it’s been built using the front of a vehicle.

As we cycle around the terrain ends up being a bit more hilly than we expected for a leisurely day on the bike. We end up doing 470m in elevation throughout the course of the day!

Just before we cross Tatara Bridge we make a stop at a Tatara Shimanami Park, also known along the path as a ‘Cyclists Sanctuary’. There are quite a few of these along the way where cyclists can park their bikes, use the facilities and grab a bite to eat.

There’s a great view of the bridge and we start chatting to a lady named Hirumi when she asks Cheye to take a photo for her.

She tells us she’s from Sapporo and her son is completing an exam today, so she is taking a drive and enjoying her day off. We tell her that we cycled Sapporo back in 2014 and have been cycling the Ishikawa and Ehime prefectures during our current trip.

We pop into a fruit shop to look at all the different citrus fruit they have for sale.

There is a poster set up for people to vote for their favourite citrus fruit.

Most people have voted the ‘Madonna’ variety so we try to find some in the store but there are so many different types on display that we can’t find it.

Instead we decide to go to the food shop and grab something to eat.

Cheye wants a Salt Soft Serve but we get distracted by all the other sweet treats on offer.

We end up getting a Hassaku Daifuku (mochi ball filled with fresh orange), citrus pancake and citrus cake. Cheye also spots a Barysan plush (the Ehime Prefecture mascot) so I add it to my collection of prefecture mascots that I’ve already picked up.

The sweets are all really nice, maybe because I realise I haven’t had lunch yet. We decide to make our way to our accommodation first then get ourselves a late lunch.

We get back on the bikes and carry on towards our accommodation but get distracted by a strange looking sight on the side of the road.

If you can’t beat em, join em!

After saying goodbye to our friends we finally arrive at Guesthouse Nest at around 2.15pm but it’s closed. A bunch of Japanese guys are also waiting outside with their bikes, so we decide to go for a ride down the shopping street and come back later.

The street is pretty quiet with most of the stores closed. Most of them seem to be restaurants that will open later tonight but there are a few small shops open selling produce and citrus products.

We stop at this small shop called 岡哲商店 (Okatetsushoten) to buy potato croquettes from an old lady who looks like she has been selling them all her life. The lady is really sweet and knows a few words in English, I guess from serving all the tourists and cyclists who have passed by over the years.

We still haven’t had any lunch yet (which I feel is becoming a bit of a thing) so we get one each and chow them down in the front of the shop.

We then head down to a giant supermarket called Fresta to pick up some sushi and udon for dinner, plus some other bits and pieces. There’s no convenience store near our guesthouse and I don’t think any restaurants have vegetarian food as the area is known for its seafood. The store is massive and I don’t think we realise how much we have purchased until we get back to the guesthouse.

As I’m checking in, Cheye starts chatting to a Japanese student named Kota, one of the guys who was waiting outside earlier and is cycling the Shimanami Kaido with a group of friends.

The guesthouse accommodates a lot of cyclists so and it seems like a full house tonight with plenty of bikes being crammed into the front foyer. The photo only shows two of the bikes but it gets pretty full as more guests check in.

There’s also a cute hand drawn map of the area at the front desk.

The room is a traditional Japanese set up but slightly smaller than the Ryokans we’ve been staying at. It has a bit more of a hostel feel to it as all the other ryokans we’ve booked have been pretty empty, having been the only guests on most occasions.

We have a lovely view of Setoda Port and also the small island Koneshima which we will be cycling around tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be our last cycle day before we head back to the big city of Tokyo!

Distance cycled: 55km (470m elevation)
Accommodation: Guesthouse Nest
Breakfast: Guesthouse Farmor
Lunch/Dinner : Fresta Supermarket
Other: Tatara Shimanami Park (Cyclist Sanctuary) | Okatetsushoten (Potato Croquettes)

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