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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Chugoku - Onomichi
Shimanami Kaido 
# 1   of 4 most visited
sights in Onomichi

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On April 1, 2014, the consumption tax increased from 5% to 8%, causing widespread changes to fees and fares. This page has not been updated yet, and some of the fees may not be up-to-date

The Shimanami Kaido is a 60 kilometer long toll road that connects Japan's main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku, passing over six small islands in the Seto Inland Sea. It is also known as the Nishiseto Expressway. There are two other land connections between Shikoku and Honshu, but the Shimanami Kaido is the only one traversable by foot or bicycle.

The Shimanami Kaido begins on Honshu in Onomichi City. It then leads across the six islands of Mukaishima, Innoshima, Ikuchijima, Omishima, Hakatajima and Oshima, before terminating on Shikoku in Imabari City. The route was opened in 1999, so the bridges are modern and attractive. Along the way, travelers can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Seto Inland Sea and the islands' small towns.

In addition to the scenery, there are a few other attractions on the way between Honshu and Shikoku: On Ikuchijima Island there is the Hirayama Museum, which is dedicated to one of Japan's most famous painters, Hirayama Ikuo, who was born on the island. Nearby is a unique temple, Kosanji, which was built by a rich business man for his mother. There are a number of minshuku and camping grounds on the islands for those who want to extend the journey over multiple days.

Cycling is a popular means of experiencing the Shimanami Kaido among tourists. The bicycle route is well marked and maintained, and diverges from the expressway on the islands. The ramps leading up to the bridges were built at small inclines with cyclists in mind. At about 70 kilometers, the bike route is a bit longer than the toll road, but because there are no large inclines, it can be comfortably completed in a day by intermediate cyclists.

A convenient bicycle rental system is in operation, which allows tourists to rent a bike at one cycling terminal and drop it off at one of twelve others along the way. This allows tourists to rent their bicycles at one end of the route and drop it off at the other end, or to stop anywhere in between when they become tired and take a bus for the rest of their journey.

Many types of rental bicycles are available, including children's bicycles and electronic-assist bicycles. All types are available at the largest cycling terminal, Sunrise Itoyama Cycling Terminal in Imabari (8:00 to 20:00; until 17:00 from October through March). The other cycling terminals have shorter hours and a limited variety of available bicycles. Electronic-assist bicycles are only available at a few of the cycling terminals, and must be returned to the station from which they were rented.

Regular bicycles cost 500 yen per day, children's bicycles 300 yen per day and electronic-assisted bicycles 800 yen for four hours. There is a 1000 yen deposit that is forfeited when bicycles are not returned to the same cycling terminal. Small tolls (totaling 500 yen) must be paid when crossing the bridges, not including the bridge between Honshu and Mukaishima Island, which is best replaced by a short ferry ride to/from central Onomichi (around 100 yen one way for an adult with bicycle).

Travelling the Shimanami Kaido is of course also possible by car. Expressway tolls total around 5000 yen one way. Travelling between Onomichi and Imabari by bus cannot be done directly, and requires a transfer on Innoshima. There are, however, direct buses from Imabari to Hiroshima and Fukuyama.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
On April 1, 2014, the consumption tax increased from 5% to 8%, causing widespread changes to transportation fares. This page has not been updated yet, and some of the fees and fares in this section may not be up-to-date.

Cycling Terminals

In Onomichi, the most convenient cycling terminal is located about 150 meters from Onomichi Station in a parking lot just west of the Green Hill Hotel at the waterfront. There are three ferries operating between central Onomichi and Mukaishima, the starting point of the bicycle trail.

In Imabari, the most convenient cycling terminal is the Sunrise Itoyama, although it is a bit difficult to access. There are infrequent buses from Imabari Station to the terminal. Alternatively, it can be reached in a 30 minute walk from Hashihama Station, which is a 4 minute, 200 yen train ride from Imabari Station. For those who are making bicycle reservations beforehand, a shuttle bus ride from Hashihama Station can be arranged with Sunrise Itoyama.

Bus transportation along the Shimanami Kaido

Highway buses travel from Imabari City across the Shimanami Kaido to both Fukuyama (1.5 hours, 2400 yen, 1 bus/hour) and Hiroshima (2.5 hours, 3600 yen, 3 buses/day), but they do not stop at Onomichi. To cross the Shimanami Kaido by bus from Onomichi, a transfer of buses is required:

From Onomichi Station (some buses also serve Shin-Onomichi Station), take a local bus bound for Innoshima Island and transfer to a highway bus bound for Imabari at Innoshima Ohashi bus stop. Buses operate about once per hour, and the entire journey between Onomichi and Imabari takes 1.5 to 2 hours and costs 2200 yen one way.

Ferry transportation along the Shimanami Kaido

There are many ferry lines that travel to and from the islands along the Shimanami Kaido. The following four lines are most relevant to foreign tourists:

  • Onomichi Ekimae Port - Shige Higashi Port - Sawa Port - Setoda Port:
    40 minutes, 800 yen (additional 150 yen for bicycle), 9 boats per day
    The Hirayama Museum and Kosanji Temple are located near both Setoda Port and Sawa Port. There are cycling terminals near all four ports. Only four boats per day stop at Sawa Port.

  • Onomichi Ekimae Port - Habu Port:
    40 minutes, 900 yen (additional 150 yen for bicycle), 6 boats per day
    There is a cycling terminal near Habu Port.

  • Imabari Port - Tomoura Port - Kinoura Port - Habu Port:
    70 minutes, 1700 yen, 9 boats per day
    There is a cycling terminal near Habu Port. The line is served by a high speed ferry, and bicycles can not be taken on board.

  • Imabari Port - Shitadami Port:
    25 minutes, 400 yen (additional 50 yen for bicycle), every 40 minutes
    There is a cycling terminal near Shitadami Port. Because Imabari Port is only a ten minute walk from Imabari Station, the cycling terminal near Shitadami Port may be more easily accessed than the Sunrise Itoyama Cycling Terminal at the beginning of the route.

How to get to and around Onomichi

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User Ratings
Ratings for Shimanami Kaido:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 56 users):
88/100
  recommended

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English Links
Shimanami Kaido
Information on the official Onomichi website.

Japanese Links
Shimanami Kaido Promotion Association
Official website.
Sunrise Itoyama Cycling Terminal
Official website of the main cycling terminal.
Onomichi City Bay Area Promotion Section
Official website showing ferry timings and fees

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Related Pages
Travel
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Onomichi

Bicycles
Expressways

Temple Walk
Shimanami Kaido
Hirayama Ikuo Museum
Kosanji Temple

Onomichi: Access and Orientation

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