At a time when international tourism is questioning itself to offer more virtuous travel experiences for local populations and the environment, the Setouchi region in Japan offers many outdoor activities, to discover the “real” Japan: Explore the islands and coastal landscapes of Setouchi. The region has become in recent years the Mecca of cycling for enthusiasts from all over the world and welcomes budding and experienced cyclists throughout the year.
The Shimanami Cycle Route, known to cyclists around the world, is Japan’s first track to cross from Honshu Island to Shikoku Island. 70 km long and crossing 6 islands and 7 bridges (including the most famous, the Shimanami-Kaido), this road nicknamed “blue line” connects Onomichi to Imabari (with possible stops). The Shimanami Kaido offers a spectacular view of the surrounding islands to cyclists who use it.
Daily rental of bicycles for adults costs 1,100 yen (approx. € 9) and 300 yen (approx. € 2.50) for children and schoolchildren. Electric bikes are available at a rate of 1,600 yen (approx. € 13) for 4 hours and the tandem is 1,300 yen (approx. € 11) per day. The toll to cross the Shimanami Kaido varies from 10 to 200 yen depending on the bridge and is free until March 2021. You can also check this site for details regarding the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido cycle path.
Awaji Island is one of the best places in Japan to explore by bike and have an invigorating getaway, even for beginners. Between sea and mountains, several routes, between 23 and 230 km, allow you to discover the picturesque charm of this small fishing island. Far from the big crowded cities, the small town of Awaji City or the Akashi Kaikyo bridge are among the most beautiful panoramas of the island.
Japan’s largest plateau, the Akiyoshidai, is also a national park (since 1955) and a perfect spot for cycling! There is even a national monument dedicated to the abundant nature. This nature changes from season to season: the pale pink of its cherry blossoms in spring rivals the blazing red of its maple trees in autumn.
The vast Setouchi region is made up of 7 prefectures: Ehime, Hyogo, Kagawa, Okayama, Tokushima and Yamaguchi, all located in the Inland Sea area of Japan. Straddling the south of the island of Honshu and the island of Shikoku, Setouchi, nicknamed the “Mediterranean of Japan”, is also a large archipelago made up of more than 700 islands, some of which are known – like those of Naoshima. or Teshima where many works of contemporary art flourish.