Slow Tour comes to Japan: Day 4
Ikidane Cyclist Hostel to Onomichi
I say Hostel. You don’t think gourmet breakfast, do you? Well let me tell you Ikidane Cyclist Hostel had a great breakfast. The perfect start for any cyclist doing any part of the Shimanami Kaido. Please note the shoes left outside of the sleeping quarters.
On this day we were completing the ride from Imabari to Onomichi and then taking a Shinkansen to Tokyo. Onomichi is:
- a quaint town located along the Seto Inland Sea.
- known for the Temple Walk, a network of paths connecting 25 temples.
- a famous sightseeing place that is characterised by a townscape that is brimming with a retro vibe.
- probably most well known as the small port town at the starting point of the Shimanami Kaido.
- nicknamed the “Town of Hills and Cats”.
Our route was 45kms and is shown below.
Morning of discovery
The blue line is the official route, but some times going off-piste provides rewards. This is certainly true this day. I found it hard to limit the pictures in the gallery below. Because we:
- discovered a mikan inspired toy capsule vending machine on the side of the road.
- were alerted to the possibility of a close encounter with a wild boar.
- were encouraged to have a beer by a portly statue.
- became reacquainted with Cafe Via, who you might remember lost their Tokyo cafe in the recent typhoon.
- discovered a famous korokke artisan.
This was all before lunch!
Again Takero used his local knowledge and language to find a unique lunch spot just a little bit of the blue line. On Innoshima island went to Manda Fermentation an international company, that unsurprisingly, specialises in fermentation.
Manda Fermentation at its headquarters has a garden, foot bath, store and cafe. I personally believe that all cycling routes should have a foot baths to revive cyclists tired feet.
We had lunch in the Cafe and a tried Manda’s amazake. Wikipedia tells me that amazakeis a traditional sweet, low-alcohol drink made from fermented rice. It is part of the family of traditional Japanese foods, made using the koji mould, that includes miso, soy sauce and sake. I say oishiii!
On the way to our final destination we came across the wonderful 70 Cafe with a beautiful view. At that point, I seriously contemplated resigning and opening a cafe…. It can’t be that good all year round can it?
I thought the name of 70 Cafe was because there was about 70kms to Imabari. But, its named after the owner’s pride an joy – the Toyota 70 Landcruiser.
It is surprising to learn that after all those amazing bridges the “New Onomichi” bridge does not have a lane for cyclists! But it does not matter because there is a frequent and cheap ferry service that is available for pedestrians and cyclists. When we arrive there was a small market along the foreshore. The foreshore does have a converted warehouse with food, accomodation and wonderful local goods.
We didn’t have enough time to explore much more of Onomichi as we had to catch the train. Perhaps next time we visit!
Takero, arigato-gozaimashita. Helen and I look forward to riding with you again.