The Shimanami Kaidō is a chain of islands across the Seto Inland Sea, joined by a series of bridges which carry an expressway and cycle paths. The route connects Imabari in Ehime Prefecture on Shikoku, with Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture on Honshū. From the Ehime side, the islands are Ōshima, Hakatajima, Ōmishima, Ikuchijima, Innoshima, and Mukaishima.
Each of the islands has its own character and attractions. Shikoku Tours offers accommodation on all of the islands, with transportation options including rental cycles, rental cars and charter buses, as well as tickets for attractions such as boat trips, museums and art galleries.
There’s a tendency to want to ride the whole Shimanami Kaidō from Imabari to Onomichi, just to say that you’ve done it. This is of course a valid and enjoyable objective. However, unless you stay somewhere along the way, you’ll miss most of the secrets of the islands. So we recommend choosing one or two places to stay, and picking the best means of transport to get there and around. And instead of doing the whole route, we suggest that you spend some time exploring an island or three. You won’t be disappointed.
We offer accommodation on each of the islands. This ranges from high-end ryokan and Western-style hotels, through minshuku, to economy hotels, all at the best prices available. The accommodation comes in a variety of styles. You can choose somewhere with a bed or futon as you like. All have some Western-style toilets. Please note that much of the accommodation on the Shimanami Kaidō is quite old and characterful. We also offer accommodation of the very latest style. WiFi is available in most but not all places.
There are several options for cyclists, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
- You can bring your own bicycle.
- You can hire one of the bicycles provided on the Shimanami Kaidō, picking them up and leaving them along the route as you please. There are e-bikes too, which allow even unfit cyclists access to the mountains on the route. However, large sized e-bikes are few.
- You can hire a bicycle from the Imabari Giant Store at a reasonable daily rate. These bikes are beautiful and are available in all sizes. However, they must be returned to the Giant Store in Imabari or Onomichi.
- Shikoku Tours can find the ideal type and size of bicycle for you.
Cars can be hired in Shikoku, and we can advise you on the procedure.
Please note that if you’re not resident in Japan, you must get an International Driving Permit before you come. The Japan National Tourism Association has this to say on the matter;
If you wish to drive a car while in Japan, you must obtain an International Driving Permit prior to departure. You will also need to be in possession of your national license while driving in Japan. International Driving Permits are generally issued by the national Automobile Association in your country. Some countries, such as Germany & Switzerland, do not have a reciprocal agreement with Japan to honour the permits. Please check with your automobile association when applying. The Shimanami Kaidō is a toll road, with different prices for each class of motor vehicle. Please budget for the tolls and pay them yourself.
We can charter buses of any size to meet the requirements of groups.
If you’d like a guide to accompany you, we can arrange it for an additional fee. We can provide guides who speak English, French, and Chinese.
For media organizations wishing to cover the Shimanami Kaido, we offer a package including bicycles, support vehicles, and a plan of shooting locations.
There are many enjoyable things to see and do on the Shimanami Kaidō besides cycling. Contact us if you’d like to explore more.
- Boat rides
- Museums and galleries
- Sea kayaking
Name in Japanese: しまなみ海道
Pronunciation: shimanami kaidō
Address: Shimanami Kaido, Japan