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Hiroshima to Imabari

Justin

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Nov 12, 2016
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I'll (possibly) be cycling from Yamaguchi City back to Tokyo next month, and one leg of the journey will be Hiroshima to Imabari. I'm hoping to get advice from anyone who's cycled between those two places. I won't have time to head all the way up to Onomichi and then do the Shimanami-kaido ride (I've done it before, so I'm skipping it this time), and it looks like it's impossible to island hop all the way around from Hiroshima without taking one or maybe two ferries.

Does anyone here have a recommended route?

It seems I can get most of the way around as per the badly drawn image attached (which is meant to indicate a very rough general direction, as opposed to an actual route), and at some point I can get a ferry and finish off on the last part of the Shimanami-kaido.

Any help greatly appreciated.

HiroshimaImabari.jpg
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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The keyword you're looking for is Tobishima Kaido. A short (but infrequent) ferry ride from the east end would get you back on the road to Imabari.

Here's what I and some friends did (during Golden Week, too many years ago) https://www.strava.com/activities/569034432

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There were not many options for places to eat! We stumbled upon Okonomi Mari-chan. I would love to know whether they still have the same cardboard sign.

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If you haven't been already and are into that sort of thing, Imabari Castle is IMHO worth an hour or two.

今治城_メイン.jpg

As you may know, frustratingly, there's no way to cycle on or off Awajishima (at the east end of Shikoku) and onto Honshū.
 
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Justin

Maximum Pace
Nov 12, 2016
154
138
Thanks @Half-Fast Mike. This is exactly what I was after. I was positive I'd seen similar rides/routes to yours on Strava 4-5 years ago while I was doing research for my Shimanami kaido ride, but after googling dozens of variations of "Shimanami alternative route Hiroshima", I was still coming up empty handed.

This is a big help. Cheers.
 

jonmanjiro

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Dec 29, 2019
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There's a couple of ferry options to/from the ferry port on Okamura Island (岡村島). There's the short ferry hop to/from Munakata Port (宗方) on Oomishima Island (大三島) that Mike took above, and there's also a ferry that runs between Okamura Island and Imabari Port. I got the latter ferry from Imabari last November. This ride below started in Imabari but I didn't start recording with Strava until the ferry arrived at Okamura Island.


Instead of riding through the suburban sprawl between Hiroshima and Kure, you could catch a ferry from Hiroshima Port to Etajima Island (江田島) and ride to the start of Tobishima Kaido from there. Much more scenic. I did the reverse on the day after the ride linked above.

Riding the ferries between the islands down there is a blast. Just be sure to check the schedules in advance as they're not very frequent (only a couple a day in some cases).
 

jonmanjiro

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Dec 29, 2019
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P.S. Definitely do a stopover at Mitarai (御手洗) on Osakishimojima Island (大崎下島). It's like time stopped there in the Showa period. Quite the time slip.
 

Justin

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Nov 12, 2016
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Perfect. I was just looking at @Half-Fast Mike's route and thinking, "Okay, this is good, next challenge is to get from Kure to Hiroshima without slogging through miles of urban sludge." Thanks.
 

Justin

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Nov 12, 2016
154
138
P.S. Definitely do a stopover at Mitarai (御手洗) on Osakishimojima Island (大崎下島). It's like time stopped there in the Showa period. Quite the time slip.
It's officially added to the route. Thirteen years ago I cycled around Teshima, in the "art islands" group, and I remember that as I got away from the installations and into the island proper, my overwhelming impression was that time had been standing still there since about 1972. There was a vending machine that had been left to rust since around then.
 

jonmanjiro

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Dec 29, 2019
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Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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Stravr Global Heatmap can be a useful guide to where folk are riding.

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It's built into Stravr Route Builder, for subscribers.

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RideWithGPS Route Planner has a similar feature, but with their own dataset.

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For my kind of riding these days, it's useful to see where there isn't any activity: even though I 'have to' go there, I am forewarned that it probably won't be straightforward.

All this talk has made me want to get back down to Setouchi area and explore some more. It's been too long.

1631672645854.png
 

Justin

Maximum Pace
Nov 12, 2016
154
138
I used to rely on Strava heat maps a bit more, but I had some less-than-successful experiences. I guess a lot of Strava users are okay with traffic-choked, shoulderless roads.

That said, I agree it’s a good starting point for the kind of ride I want to do here. I guess what it doesn’t tell me is if there is one particular way of going that is considered *the* route — ie the definitive or classic ride through those islands (if there even is one).
 
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