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October 15, 2013
Day 12 - Shimanami Kaido

The Shimanami Kaido (܂Ȃ݊C) 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. The route was recently opened in 1999 and the bridges linking the islands are modern and attractive. Along the way, travelers can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the sea and the islands' small towns.

Cycling is a popular means of experiencing the Shimanami Kaido, where there are dedicated tracks for bicycles for most of the route. There are also several places of interest along the way, such as the artistic Hirayama Museum and the unique Kosanji Temple.

Today's Report
 
Shimanami Kaido will have to wait

This restaurant used to be a bath house.

Yet another cancelled walk due to typhoon. Thatfs three cancelled walks because of the weather! Thankfully, the rain and wind didnft affect Onomichi as strongly as it will Tokyo and the north. All Ifve seen on television the past few days has been various typhoon reports and updates. Hope Karolinafs alright!

Shop houses in Onomichi town.

Thanks to the cancelled walk today, I had a chance to explore Onomichi and catch up on sleep. Therefs a temple erunf you can do in Onomichi, with stops including poems carved in rock and great views of the town. But no better plan than to stay indoors when Ifm staying at an absolutely gorgeous place

Tiny streets, torii between houses, train tracks at the end of the steps, and then stairs. Temple run anyone?

Onomichi is a little sleepy port town with more elderly than young people. DLS (Discovery Link Setouchi) has an ongoing project to attract more young people back to the town and reopen more shops in the main shopping street. While it is a sleepy town, there are gems if you know where to look. Ifve had the honour of having DLS and Minato no Yado staff bring me around and give suggestions on where to go. Without them, my trip here wouldfve been really different.

A part of the shopping street (shotengai).

This shop recycles ship sails and makes them into other stuff.

There are two houses, Izumo House and Shimazui Manor, that make up Minato no Yado, with each house separated into two, by connecting doors to make up a total of 4 apartments. Each apartment feels like a standalone apartment with its own entrance, kitchen and sleeping area. Definitely feels very lush and upmarket! It felt a little lonely staying alone in a big house, but the space was a welcome change after staying in a room.

Entrance to Izumo House

Entrance to my side of Shimazui Manor.

I had the opportunity to tour all four apartments and I was blown away by the level of detail and attention to the renovation. From the outside, the houses look like they always been for the past 80 years. But upon entering, it is definitely a modern apartment with with traditional touches. Youfll get to enjoy your modern conveniences in a traditional setting. The renovation team used similar (if not original) materials to maintain the feel of Izumo House.

Cypress wood bath tubs. The bathroom smelt so good!

Bedroom and a living space with views of the garden.

Once again, I could learn more about building architecture after touring the two houses. I also learnt a little more about why the doorways were so low (Ifve hit my head a few times), why the entrance to the tea room was a tiny box, that tatami isnft just tatami, they come from different regions. I could also learn a little more about the history of the two houses and about Onomichi. It has been a living history trip here in Onomichi with so much more to learn. To my knowledgeable guides, thank you very much!

The 'nijiriguchi', a tiny door to enter the tea ceremony room.

The lattice work on the ceiling is called 'ajirogumi'.

Living area and the cushion covers are made of 'bingo kasuri'.

Looking down the rafters from the room. Love high ceilings!

When in Hiroshima, do the Hiroshima-yaki. In this case, I had Onomichi-yaki.

Golden roasted sesame ramen.

Train tracks and power lines.

School house themed cafe with a backpackers upstairs.

Five vending machines selling similar drinks.

Chanced upon the ending of a festival on the way to dinner.

These lanterns lit the street leading to the shrine.

This elderly couple run a jazz bar that's decorated (covered) with shells and the victor records dog.

The knowledgeable and friendly DLS team.

This picture describes how I feel in the trip thus far.

Today's Program
 
Today's Walk: Cycling along the Shimanami Kaido

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Important Notice

Due to a passing typhoon, today's bicycle ride has been cancelled.

Today we have our first of two cycling days on the We Love Japan Tour South Route. The itinerary features a long, pleasant cycle along the Shimanami Kaido, promising gorgeous vistas and photogenic scenes. The day starts at the Sunrise Itoyama Cycling Terminal in Imabari on Shikoku Island, and ends at Onomichi Station in the quaint town of Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture. We visit the interesting Kosanji Temple in the course of our journey.

Date October 15, 2013
Start Time 9:45
Start Sunrise Itoyama Cycling Terminal
Goal Onomichi Station
Distance 60-70 kilometers (about 6-8 hours)
Terrain The cycling route today is often on level ground, although there are some moderate uphills, as well as ramps with small inclines leading up to the bridges. It is a considerably long route that only people in good shape will be able to completed in a single day.

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. Electronic-assist bicycles are available but must be returned to the station from which they are rented.

The cycling tracks go only as far as the eastern end of Mukaishima Island, from where you can take a short ferry ride with your bicycle (110 yen) to central Onomichi.

Weather Average daytime high: 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit)
Average nighttime low: 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit)
Weather Forecast for Matsuyama
Access There are infrequent buses from Imabari Station to the Itoyama Tenbodai Iriguchi (RW]) bus stop, from where the Sunrise Itoyama Cycling Terminal is a five minute walk. Buses depart the station around 8:35, 9:52 and 13:20. The 8:35 departure arrives at the cycling terminal in time for today's ride. Alternatively, a taxi ride from the station to the cycling terminal takes about 20 minutes and costs around 1500-2000 yen.
More details on how to get to Shimanami Kaido
Lodgings Convenient locations as a base for today's walk are Imabari and Onomichi, where there are several lodgings available respectively. A good alternative is nearby Fukuyama, where there are direct buses to Imabari. Matsuyama and Hiroshima cities are further away in proximity, but offer more accommodation choices.
Search hotels in Imabari through Japanican
Search hotels in Onomichi through Agoda, Booking.com or Japanican
Search hotels in Fukuyama through Agoda, Booking.com or Japanican

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Daily Quiz
The deadline for answering the quiz question for day 12 has passed.

The Nishiseto Expressway is the toll expressway that connects Shikoku with Honshu via the Shimanami Kaido. Which of the following statements about the Nishiseto Expressway is correct?

2%   It contains the world's longest cable-stayed bridge
41%   It contains Japan's longest suspension bridge
2%   It was the first expressway connection between Shikoku and Honshu
39%   It is Japan's only expressway on which bicycles are allowed
16%   None of the above

The correct answer is: None of the above

None of the above statements about the Nishiseto Expressway are true.

Current Standings: (after 30 days)

28 Points: Csabba, AlexanderStankov
27 Points: gladhiola, almoehi, ZoomX2, mikaelus
26 Points: Rabbityama, Proxy707

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