Imabari / EhimeCycle around the stunning Seto Inland Sea; enjoy hands-on activities on a farm

Cycling on Shimanami Kaido

The Shimanami Kaido cycling road stretches for approximately 80 kilometers across the beautiful Seto Inland Sea by way of numerous islands. It’s Japan’s most popular cycling route, linking Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture with Imabari in Ehime Prefecture. Cyclo Tourisme Shimanami, based in Imabari City, offers customized programs, including guided cycling tours and opportunities to carry out activities on a Japanese farm - an excellent opportunity for visitors to meet the local people.

Cycle-tourist-friendly guesthouse with a view of the Seto Inland Sea

Namito Minato guesthouse is a remodeled ferry terminal

The small port town of Namikata faces the Kurushima Strait at the beginning of the Shimanami Kaido, making it an ideal location to start your cycling trip. Inside the old Namikata ferry terminal building you'll find Namito Minato (meaning "waves and harbor"), a waterfront guesthouse with a wooden deck. The guest house rooms look out on the Seto Inland Sea, islands, and the Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge, which spans a string of islands.

Enjoy the stunning sea view outside your window

Namito Minato offers simple, sea-view accommodation in small private rooms for two, and two dormitory rooms for four and six people, respectively. The living room is an interaction space, and CYCLO CAFE serves original curry, pizza, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages. The shared kitchen is equipped with a fridge, IH cooker, and microwave, so you can cook up favorite dishes using local ingredients bought at the nearby supermarket.

The room layout affords a great opportunity to exchange information with other guests

There are some restaurants in the wider area if you don't feel like cooking, but these may feel somewhat distant from the guesthouse if you travel on foot. In the maintenance room, meanwhile, you can use the specialized tools to ensure your bike stays in tip-top order. One member of staff has even cycled around the world.

The location is ideal for sea-kayaking

From the harbor, you can see people enjoying themselves kayaking in the sea. If you crave adventure and spectacular views, then this is a break like no other. (Note that stays are limited to Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights without special arrangement.)

Leisurely island-hopping on a custom-made cycle tour

A guide leads a group of cyclists down a hidden back street

The Shimanami Kaido is famous for its exhilarating views of sea, sky, and islands. The 80-kilometer-long cycling road links the islands of the Seto Inland Sea. One of the most enjoyable aspects of cycling the Shimanami Kaido is weaving your way over bridges and around each island.

Junior high school students pose for a picture

Cyclo Tourisme Shimanami is a private nonprofit organization working towards sustained community improvement through the development of the cyclo tourisme concept. With help from your guide, you'll enjoy the secluded hideaways and charming back alleys of the islands at a relaxed pace.

Cyclists enjoy riding along cherry blossom-lined roads in the spring

In addition to being highly competent cycle-tour managers, cycling-staff guides are experts on Shimanami Kaido. Since the mini-tours are custom-made, they tailor the trips to each person's needs. The tours are relatively short, so people of all abilities and physical strength levels can experience the delights of Shimanami Kaido. Beginners are more than welcome, too.

Try the local cuisine as you travel around

On these customized tours with Cyclo guides, you can experience everyday life on each island and interact with local people - a rare kind of tour, indeed. Cyclo Tourisme Shimanami can create and tailor a bicycle trip that provides nourishment for both body and soul.

Try a range of agricultural activities - and more - at the experimental Cyclo Farm

A citrus orchard and bamboo grove at Cyclo Farm

Cyclo Farm is an experimental farm, aiming to revive and utilize abandoned fields. The farm and its orchard produce a variety of vegetables and fruit, mainly citrus. Enjoy a range of activities at Cyclo Farm, including farming and harvesting, barbecuing with fresh local products, "farm" yoga, and wall-climbing.

Enjoy a healthy and natural BBQ using Cyclo Farm produce

You can also take advantage of guided tours around the neighboring countryside - a rare opportunity to visit various farms and meet local farmers. It's also a great chance to begin to understand how Japanese farmers utilize the land and protect the environment around them. The Cyclo Farm project launched in response to an aging farming population and the resultant diminishing farmland.

Experience outdoors yoga at Cyclo Farm

All around Japan, farms are falling into disuse as farmers grow old and their children head off to urban areas in search of education and work. The Cyclo Farm version of agritourism is intended to create a flow of people into farm areas, in hopes it will stimulate the region and revitalize the agricultural economy.

Access information

Getting to Imabari, Ehime Prefecture:

To Matsuyama Airport takes around 90 minutes from Haneda International Airport and about one hour from Kansai International Airport. It then takes about 90 minutes by limousine bus from Matsuyama Airport to Imabari Station, or about one hour by express train via Matsuyama Station on the Yojo Line.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change. Unless stated otherwise, prices do not include tax.
*Unauthorized reproduction of material in this article is strictly prohibited.

About “Countryside Stays“

If you’re looking for a new way to experience Japan, sign up for a farm-stay experience through the Countryside Stays Japan program and participate in traditional rural-lifestyle activities in recommended countryside locations.


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