Between the north of Shikoku and western Honshu (Japan’s main island) lies the so called Seto Inland Sea, a vast turquoise-blue sea filled with many, many smaller islands. A set of 7 huge bridges was completed in 1999, connecting Onomishi (on Honshu) with Irabari (on Shikoku) via 6 of these islands. Along with the highway over all these bridges, an 80 km cycle-path was constructed and a well working and cheap bicycle rental service put into place.
As usually in Japan, everything works perfectly here. The path is well marked, in fact you follow a blue line all along the 80 km, so you can’t get lost. On the islands the path is usually away from the car traffic and when it comes to the bridges, there are separate lanes or in one case the path is even under the bridge. Every few kilometres there’s either an information kiosk, ice cream parlour or convenience store and a few camp sites and hotels allow spread the 80 km over two days, providing a rather relaxed cycle experience.
We enjoyed ourselves a lot here, but sometimes we thought that it didn’t feel that special. Everything was so easy, not much of an adventure and the scenery, while mostly beautiful, wasn’t exceptional and sometimes a little spoilt by the local industry. The highlight was probably the peaceful Oyamazumi Shrine on the island Omishima and the nearby Shiyoden Treasure Museum, hosting plenty of samurai gear.