Shikoku, Shimanami Kaido & Hiroshima

Sorry for the lack of update in the past month! We have a few posts to catch up~

Riding in Shikoku was a passionless affair. It was crowded with truck traffic along with endless sidewalk riding. We spent 2 days riding the Northern section of Shikoku, trying to get to Imabari City as soon as possible so we can get on the Shimanami Kaido route– a 70km route that people hail as ‘one of the world’s most incredible bike routes’ . This route takes both car and pedestrian/bike traffic from Shikoku to Honshu through 6 bridges across 6 of the inland sea islands.

thumb_IMG_7838_1024Obviously this area is not super exciting– I only took two pictures– this endless cabbage row is one of them

 

thumb_IMG_7839_1024Here’s the other photo taken from inside of our tent– it’s a pretty sweet camping spot 50km East of Imabari City. Food was scrace in this area, but we managed. This campsite overlooks the inland sea– lots of baby crabs crawling around next to the water.

 

thumb_IMG_7841_1024At Imabari city– this region is famous for its citrus produce and biking. Japanese are excellent at making all these cute characters.

 

thumb_IMG_7846_1024I was super stoked to find this cool bike-stand sculpture. I guess people take the high speed train to either the Northern or Southern terminus of this Shimanami Kaido ride and take the train/flight back home for a weekend ride.

Here’s a map of Shimanami Kaido ride:

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thumb_IMG_7853_1024And– that’s the first bridge- 4105m long Kurushima Kaikyo suspended bridge. It is also the world’s longest suspension bridge structure (it’s actually a series of 3 suspension bridges with 6 towers and 4 anchorages). The ride is generally easy and flat, except when we needed to get up onto the bridge with a max of 200′ elevation gain every time.

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thumb_IMG_7856_1024The underside of the bicycle way that takes you onto the bridge.

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thumb_IMG_7862_1024Assigned bike lane on the bridge, amazing bright sunny day.

thumb_IMG_7871_1024The current down there looks pretty strong with lots of eddies and whirlpools. We spent a long time starting at the water and the boat traffic below.

 

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thumb_IMG_7892_1024Our campsite on Hakatajima island-25% of the way North of Imabari. We got the whole site to ourselves (and a bunch of mosquitos). It was a quiet starry night, accompanied by the occasional horn from the boats.

thumb_IMG_7897_1024The third bridge- this one is a 328m arch bridge- Omishima bridge.

thumb_IMG_7900_1024And this one- Tatara bridge, a 1408m cable stayed bridge (center span of 890m)– It was an elegant bridge.

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For those of you not super interested in bridges, I’m providing a temporary relief with food photos:thumb_IMG_7914_1024 thumb_IMG_7915_1024This island (Imoshima, I think?) is famous for Tako= octopus! This was my octopus fried rice.

thumb_IMG_7918_1024The fifth bridge is yet another cable stayed bridge this one was half the length of Tatara at 790 m long.

thumb_IMG_7945_1024Bridge porn to the max.

thumb_IMG_7925_1024 The route was pretty well marked (though not as well as Korea’s bike paths). It was generally exclusive for bicyclists with some sections (30% or so) on shared road with car. The 70km could easily be done in a day. There were plenty of bike rental places, and for those of you not super inclined to ride bicycles, I think there’s a few places that rent electric bikes as well. Information on the bike ride is abound on the net, so search on.

 

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thumb_IMG_7939_1024The best triple pork fatty ramen we had in Onomichi– we both think that this was the best ramen we have had in Japan.

thumb_IMG_7931_1024Onomichi also had an awesome craft beer bar with American IPAs.

 

thumb_IMG_7943_1024From Onomichi, both Brady and I were so so sick of sidewalk riding on crowded streets. So we decided to take the train to Hiroshima– here’s our bikes, neatly wrapped in Rinko-Bukuro (bike bag) which is a requirement for any bikes to be able to take them onto trains. It also started raining a little bit.

thumb_IMG_7961_1024We got to Hiroshima just in time for halloween! here’s the bike parking area during halloween. I LOVE how many bikers there were.

thumb_IMG_7960_1024Halloween is a new thing in Japan-Hiroshima has 3-5 parties going around town. Mostly people wandered around the enclosed strip mall area with costumes. It was excellent people watching.

 

thumb_IMG_7953_1024What we love most about Hiroshima: Its okonomiyaki – a pancake made out of ramen, egg, bacon, and all the good stuff.

thumb_IMG_7972_1024At the front of Peace Memorial Museum– Brady was ambushed by groups of school children on field trip. They spoke pretty good english!

thumb_IMG_7974_1024This group had a tough question: Where are you from?- America- What do you think of the atomic bomb?? Brady was put on the spot.

thumb_IMG_7976_1024Posing with the kiddies. The Memorial Museum was very well done- it documented the impact of the nuclear bomb and a lot of very personal stories of the people impacted. The displays are also very hopeful and attempt to enact peace in every nation/ people.

thumb_IMG_7981_1024A ridiculously amazing dog in Hiroshima

thumb_IMG_7985_1024A short jaunt to Fukuoka (by train), boxed our bikes and off we went. We were done with Japan! We spent a total of 40 days there– a long time of going 80% or so the length of the country. I feel like we have visited most of the tourist attractions in Japan and eaten most of the variety of the food! It was a great experience! It was different than the metropolitan Japan that we knew before this trip. The riding was half frustrating and half absolutely fantastic. The weather (other than Hokkaido and occasional wind/rain) was great with amazing autumn foliage- the best I’ve seen in my life. It was expensive- even with camping 70% of the time and cooking 70% of the dinners.

thumb_IMG_7987_1024One night layover in Manilla!

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thumb_IMG_8009_1024We went to the busiest street market– it was very similar to Indonesia, except they have the Christmas theme going strong everywhere– this was the first week of November! The Jeepneys (that bus looking thing on the right side) were obnoxiously fun with loud blaring music and ridiculous decorations.

Up next– trip to Indonesia- we arrived just in time to celebrate my Mom’s birthday, then meet up with the Poepping parents who travelled with us ’round Indonesia on their first ever trip to Asia!!!

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