Wednesday 26 February, 2020
Day 10 | Ikuchijima to Onomichi (Shimanami Kaido)
[Missed the previous post? Check it out here]
It’s our final day along the Shimanami Kaido and the morning is clear but chilly with a top of 13 degrees forecast for the day.
Before we set back off on route to Onomichi, we take a slight detour and cycle the small island of Takaneshima, across a small bridge near our guesthouse.
The island is dead quiet with lovely views of the water.
We make it about half way around the island before we discover the road has been closed off.
It turns out the road ahead has collapsed and we now have to back track back to our starting point. We find it amusing that the road closure sign has a picture of a puppy with a soccer ball. We figure it’s to soften the blow, because who can stay angry when there are pictures of cute puppies.
We turn around and back track, noticing a lot of citrus on the roadside, in particular lots of lemons.
We make our way back over the bridge onto the main island of Ikuchijima.
We cycle back past the guesthouse and down the main strip where most of the shops and food places are closed. There is a bicycle café called Shiomachi-Tei which looks like a cute place to stop for a break or meal. I believe they also do bicycle rental, sales and repairs.
A bit further onto the main road we come across a citrus display where you can have your photo taken.
There’s also one of those cut outs where you can be a lemon.
A bit further along the coast we arrive at Dolce Gelato, a popular stopping point for cyclists and tourists alike.
The place is empty as it’s only 10am but we decide what better way to start the day than have gelato for breakfast.
After browsing the many options, we decide on three flavours: salt milk, lemon, orange.
As we continue around the coast we can see Ikuchi Bridge in the distance.
This is our second last bridge crossing before we arrive at our destination.
As we hit the second last island, Innoshima, we see a dog casually sitting in the driver’s seat of a truck, looking like he’s about to start a delivery job.
We continue following the blue line to Onomichi…
We notice as we approach the final bridge the area is a bit more built up with noticeably more cars, shops and buildings.
We approach Innoshima Bridge and have to cycle underneath it before crossing it. This is the last bridge crossing and will take us to the final island of Mukaishima, from where we’ll need to catch a ferry back to the mainland.
We cross the bridge via a tunnel, which feels like the start of a rollercoaster ride. Make sure you checking out the video at the bottom for some footage cycling through it.
The final 9km on final island goes pretty quickly. We stop for Soda pop (cider) and chat to the old Japanese man who runs and owns the place.
The final bridge into Onomichi is too narrow for pedestrians and bikes so we catch ferry across. There’s no need to pre-book: you simple jump on board, pay the man and off you go.
There are also two cars and a motorbike onboard the ferry, and the entire journey takes about two minutes.
We have a bit of time before meeting the host of our guest house, so upon arrival in Onomichi we park our bikes and go for a wander. We decide to stop by The Little Mermaid Bakery.
For lunch we get an egg salad sandwich, curry croquette, fromage bun and a coffee. A Japanese lady starts talking to us and gets us to help her fill out a survey about our trip so far in Japan. Japanese locals are always appreciative when we tell them we love cycling the country.
We meet out host Yoko around 3pm at the JR Station. There is a huge bike area nearby so we park our bikes and remove our panniers.
Yoko walks us to our AirBnB and shows us a few local places along the way.
We make our way through alleyways and up some steep steps to the house.
The house is really nice and the view is amazing, especially as the sun is setting.
After settline in, we decide to walk to the undercover mall but most of the shops are closed.
We make our way to Yamaneko Café which we saw on the Happy Cow website.
Cheye orders the fried chicken and I get the vegan plate. It’s delicious. The vegan fried chicken tastes too much like real chicken for my liking, right down to the skin and fatty bits.
We toss up whether to get a parfait but decide to get some desserts from the kombini instead before making the cold walk home. It’s been a great two weeks cycling and tomorrow we jump on the Shinkansen to head back to the big city for the remaining days we have left in Japan!
Check out the video of our day:
Accommodation: Onomichi AirBnB (Tom’s place)
Distance cycled: 46km
Breakfast: Fresta Bakery
Lunch: Little Mermaid Bakery
Dinner: Yamaneko Café Facebook | Happy Cow
Other: Dolce Gelato | Shiomachi-Tei Bicycle Café & Bar