Onomichi / HiroshimaExplore natural beauty and scenic cycling in Onomichi, Hiroshima

Riders enjoy an invigorating ride on the Shimanami Kaido

Onomichi, a port city in Hiroshima Prefecture, is a common setting for Japanese literature and film thanks to its historical port town, lush scenery and reputation as a cultural crossroads for areas on the Seto Inland Sea. Active travelers can enjoy cycling across bridges connecting small islands on the Shimanami Kaido. For a more relaxing pace, check out Onomichi's museums, historical sites, and picturesque ferry rides.

Island-hop by bicycle on the Shimanami Kaido cycling course

Fresh mikan and gorgeous sea views along the Shimanami Kaido course

Enjoy breathtaking views, salty sea breezes, and an invigorating ride on the Shimanami Kaido cycling course. The roughly 70-kilometer course is exclusively for bicycles and was nominated as one of the world's seven best cycling courses by CNN. If you're a cycling enthusiast or feeling particularly adventurous, cycle the full length of the course from Onomichi to Imabari on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands.

Cyclists cross from one island to another on a scenic adventure

For beginners, families or those who want to take it a bit easier, substitute a ferry ride for some portions of the course and join back up with the cycling when you're ready. You can bring your own bicycle or rent one from 1,100 yen per day at various rental stations. Points of interest along the course include ruins of a pirate fort on Kurashima Island, opulent Kosanji temple, and sunset views from Sunset Beach.

Refreshing sea breezes off the Seto Inland Sea

Visit Mukaishima Island, just five minutes by ferry from Onomichi, for a leisurely ride around the quaint town. Take pit-stops for retro Japanese soda or artisanal chocolate. Ask any questions you have about the course at ONOMICHI U2 (see below) before setting off.

Function and charm at Japan's first comprehensive cyclist center

The ONOMICHI U2 complex, beside the Seto Inland Sea (Photo: Tetsuya Ito/Courtesy ONOMICHI U2)

ONOMICHI U2 is a sprawling, cyclist-centric compound made up of a section of several former warehouses that stretch along the shore of the Seto Inland Sea. It includes a hotel, several restaurants, and specialized bicycle shops. Its location near the foot of the Shimanami Kaido cycling course makes ONOMICHI U2 an ideal starting point for a cycling trip through the area.

Inside ONOMICHI U2, Hotel Cycle has comfortable guest rooms, each equipped with a bicycle rack. Hotel guests can rent Giant-brand bicycles by the day for a fee and explore the area in style.

The Giant store and Shima shop welcome you into ONOMICHI U2 ((Photo: Tetsuya Ito/Courtesy ONOMICHI U2)

If you are planning to bring your own bicycle, the Giant store at ONOMICHI U2 is a great pit-stop for tune-ups or repairs. The shop offers rental wear and bicycles and Giant gear for purchase.

Try a wide variety of food at ONOMICHI U2, from diverse lunch buffets and wood-fired pizzas to coffee and baked goods. All eateries share an emphasis on natural, wholesome ingredients that showcase local Setouchi flavors. Sip your coffee and take in the sea view from the open deck surrounding the compound. you can also ride up to Yard Café's cycle-through order window and take your coffee to go.

Yard Cafe's cycle-through order window for cyclists on the go (Photo: Tetsuya Ito/Courtesy ONOMICHI U2)

Staff are happy to chat about cycling, good food, or local sights in English. For inquiries, please call or email. Rooms at the hotel can be booked online.

Architecture meshes with nature at LOG

The soft colors and bedding encourage total relaxation in LOG guest rooms

Rest your body and mind at the LOG guesthouse. A group of city residents worked with Mumbai-based architect Bijoy Jain to repurpose this 1960's apartment building into a shared space with the concept of coexistence with nature. The peaceful garden near the entrance combines with the wood furnishings and soft, natural paint colors to produce a feeling akin to being in the woods.

Locally sourced food is served up for breakfast

While it feels like a world apart, LOG is actually a short walk from Onomichi Station, making it a convenient base for exploring the city. The building has six guest rooms, which you can book from 35,000 yen per night, with variations in numbers and styles of beds. Reservations are available online.

LOG staff setting up a perfect meal

LOG also offers a restaurant and a cafe-bar. After a restful night, enjoy a tasty breakfast in the restaurant. Return in the evening for a dinner also made from local, seasonal ingredients. In the cafe, savor fresh pastries and specialty coffees from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. After 5 p.m., the space becomes a casual bar where you can order various local brews.

The green walls in the library lounge bring the garden inside

Take a moment during your stay to relax in the library and catch rays of sunlight filtering through the garden's trees. There is also a shop on the first floor to pick up all-natural housewares or souvenirs. The staff are happy to assist you in English at any time.

Access information

Getting to Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture:

It takes about 90 minutes from Haneda International Airport to Hiroshima Airport, then about 60-90 minutes by bus to Onomichi. Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Onomichi Station, meanwhile, takes about 90 minutes by shinkansen.

*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.

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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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