Piecing together a last minute Kansai/Shikoku itinerary


Mar 25, 2019
I hope this sort of post is allowed in here! So planning to go to Japan later this week for about 10 days (travel time not included. Roughly 29th Mar - 7th Apr although it depends on which flights I get).

As this isn't my first time to Japan (but is my first time cycling abroad!), I'm fairly laid back about what to see but I've not been to Shikoku or to the Kii peninsula. AsI plan to take along a bike, I'd look to stay overnight in places for at least a couple days or more. Also, I don't plan to do bike touring (too much planning involved & equipment I won't have e.g. panniers or racks) so no one-way trips by bike aside from the Shimanami Kaido.

One thing I'm a bit unsure about is - my bike is a Specialized Diverge 58 with non-quick release 700c wheels. Although I plan to have an EVOC bike bag for the flights (ANA allowance, even for domestic seems generous), I was thinking to get a rinko bag for local travel - but I'm not sure if they make rinko bags big enough for my bike...? The below itinerary is just a rough one so thought I'd ask in here for ideas. Every destination is completely optional but I've tried to put them in a vague order!. Flights & airports are flexible as long as it's ANA.

29th - Arr. Osaka/Kyoto from London via Tokyo & stay overnight
30th - Osaka/Kyoto full day. Maybe go shopping for a rinko bag. Stay in Tanabe overnight for next day.
31st - Kumado Kodo (walk, not bike)
1st April - Kumano Kodo & stay in Osaka/Kyoto overnight
2nd - Osaka/Kyoto. Stay in Osaka/Kyoto overnight. Was thinking to tick off the Nara-Kyoto route which sounds rather nice - http://nara-cycling.com/map/nara-kyoto-english/pdf/map.pdf. Mt Yoshino could be perfect timing for cherry blossoms actually - http://nara-cycling.com/map/nara-kyoto-english/pdf/jyouhou.pdf. Or too early?
3rd - Day trip to Kibi plains & Himeji-jo (Last time I went to Himeji, it was still being renovated so never got to see the outside). Stay in Osaka/Kyoto overnight
4th - Shimanami Kaido. Stay on an island along way
5th - Shimanami Kaido. Imabari overnight
6th - Takamatsu/Matsuyama(?)
7th - Takamatsu/Matsuyama(?)
8th - Osaka/Fly out of KIX

I'm thinking maybe the 7 days JR Sanyo Sanin Area Pass which would pay off with the stops above however but wouldn't cover Kumano Kodo - although I could drop that for something else/shuffle things around.

Assuming no modification to the itinerary, I think I'd be wanting to use the rinko bag for taking my bike to Arashiyama for the Kyoto ride, the day trip to Kibi plains & Himeji (although don't think I'd use my bike in Himeji?), and finally for the Shinkansen to Onomichi. I'm not sure about cycling Shikoku itself - reading previous posts sounds like Shikoku is a bit anti-bike/rinko :( All other transport (i.e. from airport to hotel & for hotel back to airport) would be takkyubin using the EVOC bag.

Really vague (so little time!) so happy for any thoughts or ideas! Also anything I may not have considered!

Thanks a lot in advance!

EDIT: Maybe I'm overdoing this itinerary...? Should I stick to rides around Osaka/Kyoto and Shimanami Kaido only (i.e. don't take my bike to Kibi plains). And drop Kumano Kodo.
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Mar 4, 2019
Hey! I did a touring loop around Shikoku a few years ago, here were some parts that I'd recommend besides the Shimanami Kaido (which is definitely worth it, though it can be a bit crowded).

* Tobushima Kaido - similar island hopping as the Shimanami Kaido, though you need to take a little ferry to get to Imabari from the last island, but a bit more peaceful than the Shimanami kaido route imo.

* Iya Valley - good climbing and hot springs, if you're doing a day trip i think there is bus service.

* Cape Sada - the western-most part of the island has an awesome ridge road where you have the ocean on your left and right.

As far as carrying the bike, I carried in my panniers a cheap duffel foldable bags like this one () to get on trains/ferries. Overall Shikoku was very bike friendly.

Have a good trip!