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Kagoshima to Kyoto via Shikoku


Feb 6, 2010
Hi there, i'm planning this trip at the end of March and want to see if anyone has any advice, comments or warnings.
My basic plan is to ride Kagoshima to Miyazaki, - nobeoka, - beppu, then ferry it to shikoku, - matsuyama, - takamatsu, then ferry to himeji, - sasasyama, - kyoto. i'm planning to take a 5- 6 days so the daily distance isn't all that tough.

Has anyone done any of these trips before? If anyone has any sort of advice about what to look out for, or if you think that detouring from this route would be better, then i'd love to hear your advice.

I hear that route 10 in Kyushu can be nice but lots of heavt traffic and is pretty narrow at times. Also toying with the idea of riding over the nishi-seto island chain in the setonaikai rather than along the top of shikoku.

Any and all advice much appreciated.

I lived in Kyushu for 9 years, 5 in Miyazaki. I drove/cycled Kyushu a million times and still head back to Miyazaki, Kumamoto or Kagoshima every year. In my opinion you should avoid Route 10 as much as possible; there are a few main arteries like Rt10 around Kyushu and they are narrow and packed with trucks. Besides these arteries, which most visitors tend to use, there are some phenomenally beautiful roads/scenery to be experienced. Here are my recommendations: From Kagoshima city take the little ferry across the bay to the active volcano Sakurajima and ride down the west coast of the big Osumi Pennisula until you can cut across, through Kanoya, to the east side. The main road is Rt220; it`s similar to Rt 10. There are other parallel minor roads which are probably much better and not much longer but the objective here around Kanoya is to get to the east coast of Kyushu where the really special stuff starts (although cycling around Sakurajima will be a highlight, too.) You`re heading for a road called the 448 and it`s pure magic. You`ll pick it up at a huge beach/bay called Shibushi-wan. And now you`ll be next to or very near the Pacific Ocean for the next 100 or so kilometers. Go through Shibushi town and continue east on the 448 to Cape Toi (Toi-misaki in Japanese) and I strongly recommend going all the way to see the cape, the lighthouse and the wild horses. From there the coast road starts heading straight north for Nango, Nichinan and Miyazaki City. The 448 from Toi Misaki up to Nichinan has to be one of the best roads in the world: it`s high, hanging off the cliff, it`s jungle to the one side and endless pacific to the other, and there is basically NO traffic. You`ll go through the little town of Nango which is nice and has great beaches, then the next town is Nichinan and you CANNOT miss Udo Jingu, the shrine carved into the sea caves. And then the next stop is Miyazaki City, an industry/urban blight-free zone of beaches, restaurants and happy people. Here`s a link to a set of my photos from the 448, around ToiMisaki and Nango:


Heading north from Miyazaki, you`ve got the Rt10 which would be a really long, nasty ride with no shoulder, lotsa trucks and endless combinis, with very little coast to enjoy. If I were you, I would head north-west from Miyazaki City, through the nice little city of Saito, and then up the 219 to the center of the island. The 219 hooks up with the 265, which will take you all the way to Aso. Then, cycle around Aso and take the 11, the `Yamanami Highway` to Beppu/Yufuin/Oita City, where there are tons of ferries going to Hiroshima, Kansai and Shikoku. Aso is incredible, and the Yamanami is also really remarkable. Wonderful onsens everywhere, really beautiful scenery. The whole area is world-class beautiful...

Wow. I think I just convinced myself to head back there....
Davad--that makes my mouth all drooly too!
Thanks to you all for the advice. Davad that post has really made me consider my options. I'm moving out of Kagoshima after being here for 5 years, so at first I was keen to just get out of southern Kyushu as fast as possible, but after reading your post i'm thinking it would be a shame to miss out on so much. I have recently got into road biking so i'm still a novice in terms of the best routes around. I've done the 'Jima a couple of times, and it is an amazing ride. But you really recommend Osumi yeah?

How long do you think it would take to do the Miyazaki - Beppu via Aso route that you talked about? Couple of days maybe? One night in Aso area?

Any advice on Shikoku would be much appreciated too:cool:

5 years seems to be the time span; I was in Miyazaki for that long, and eager to leave when I did. Now, after 5 years in Kansai and 4 in Tokyo, I`m planning my escape back to Kyushu!

I don`t recommend going all the way down the Osumi penninsula to Cape Sata. It is beautiful down there and the towns are few and far between; a lot of the east side of it doesn`t even have a coast road. My suggestion is to cut straight east across it, to the 448 then up the east coast to Miyazaki. From Kagoshima to Miyazaki would be two days. From Miyazaki city to Beppu would be more challenging as you`d be going down into and then up out of the Aso Caldera; if I remember correctly the Yamanami Highway crests out around 1200m near Kuju. Another big hump to get over going from Yufuin to Beppu, but truly stellar scenery. I would say 3 days from Miyazaki to Beppu, with a lot of climbing and a lot of rewarding views.

Alternately, if you just did the 448 coast road to Miyazaki, you can catch the ferry from there to Osaka. I think there is also a ferry to Takamatsu on Shikoku, too.

I`ve never cycled in Shikoku.

Have a great trip. You don`t by any chance need to find your own replacement for whatever it was you did in Kagoshima in for 5 years, do you? I`d love to swap places with you......
Phil, I think with your profession, you can! The property prices are amazingly low, basically look like the decimal is in the wrong place. The real challenge is how to make money down there.....
Wow that's quite a ride then!? I'll think about just spending the 5 days in Kyushu; making my way slowly up to Beppu, then ferrying it to Kansai. My legs are still pretty weak as i've only been on the bike for a couple of months, but the Yamanami highway looks pretty amazing, just checking it out on google maps...spectacular. Are there enough cheap places to stay up there? I wont be bringing camping stuff.

About moving back down here: if it's eikaiwa you are into you may find it tough as the bottom seems to have fallen out, everyone is stuggling, but managing. People solely doing privates are working harder than ever and the school contracts etc seem thin on the ground. Saying that, it is still easily doable, especially if you have a couple of contacts from living down here before. I'm a student but still do a couple of part-times here and there, they are still easy to find. As you know there are very few foreigners down here so there is always work.
I rode the length of Japan in 2005. My recollection is that RT 10 was unpleasant and to be avoided. Udo Jinguu is one of the best shrines I've seen in all Japan. The Miyazaki-ken coastline is really amazing but it's better done north to south so you can look down the cliffs more.

I highly recommend the Shimanami Kaidou (especially south to north). Rt 11 across the northern part of Shikoku is not recommended. If I get back to Shikoku I would go inland or around the southern coast.
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