Shikoku travels

Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#1
Hi all,

Off on the shinkansen in the morning to start a week or so of solo traveling around Shikoku, so thought I'd post my route here: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/631681

Starting at Shin-Osaka station, expect to be in Hiroshima by Friday night. Not the most hardcore route, cycling-wise, I know; more just using a bike to visit a selection of temples/shrines/castles/scenic spots etc I'd like to see (plus I'm expecting some pretty savage heat, so keeping the daily mileage down). Will update some photos/notes etc. for anyone interested.

Cheers,
Chris.
 
Jun 18, 2011
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Okayama
#2
Good luck and stay safe in the heat, it has been really hot.

Take care on route 2, you may find route 31/185 from Hiroshima more enjoyable and easier to ride.
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#3
Cheers for the advice Paul - they're all just roads on a map to me down ere, so it's good to have some local advice.

Got up to 33degrees today, but really wasn't too bad - my new arm and leg coolers are really working. They make a big difference.
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,185
78
68
Kochi
#4
Sorry, just saw thread so might be a bit late on this - am in Hiroshima at the moment so not logged on for a bit. I can only advise you from about Oboke - the route from 169 m to 190 m is spectacular, but tough. I think the famous rope bridge (been there once) is around 182 m so worth going there, but can`t pinpoint it precisely on the map. After that, the 32 coming in is fine but can be a lot of large lorries. In places, you can swap to the other side of the river for a bit and then back again, but for ease of travel stick to the 32. You get to ride through a valley framed by high mountains which reminds me of Scotland. The climb over the top as you head into Kochi is fairly easy.

Coming into Kochi from the east, there isn`t really a nice way but I would try and avoid the 55 - I`ve done it once and once only. Busiest road and no room if you are riding on it - it is a dual carriageway, but traffic has to move out of the lane to overtake you. Just after you go under the expressway, just after 218 m, you can turn (right as you are heading) onto the 384 and that is much more pleasant with little traffic. But don`t follow it as it heads west (near 200 m marker), stay parallel to the 32 and follow that, turning onto the 249 and then for simplicity, just follow that and then as that crosses the river, just stay on the roads next to the river on the south side (north side turns to gravel as I sadly found out one time). If not sure, just stick to the river after you cross it. Then when you hit the 376 (I think) you can turn south and join the 32 again (about 225.5 m) Just below that junction is Godaisan (prob best local temple if you want to see one) and a botanical garden - one of my winter hill repeats.

The 32 through town is ok, but you can of course ride on the pavement if you want. You`ll be easier to stick on that road and follow the tram over the bridge as the turning you have chosen (229.5 m) is easily missed. The 388 to Ino is so-so (okay for occasional riding, would recommend something else for everyday riding). However, once you head out of Ino (just after 235 m) would strongly recommend staying with the river on the 194 rather than the 33. Slight traffic with some trucks, but overall lovely road, and I`ve started using it as a 40 km TT course - fast road (it`s where I saw the monkey the other week). You can hop over onto the other side where there is hardly any traffic for more peace and quiet. Then turn left on the 18 which will bring you back on your original route at about 248.7 m.

If you`re tired, turning right onto the 439 just before 255 m, then left onto 494, then left on 212 brings you back to your original route at just after 274 m but will cut down on the climbing. The turning for the 328 (at 274 m) is where we had our hill climb the other week, so avoid that unless you have masochistic tendencies! Can`t help you after that.

It was hot in Kochi this week but as long as you know how to handle it, it is ok. With 4 rides on the road bike, probably put in about 390 km with 5.7 km (5,700m) climbing, so it is possible. Can`t meet up with you, as am heading back to England for a break.

Edit: Oops! All the distances in miles (m) not km.
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,185
78
68
Kochi
#5
One more thing, try and avoid the midday sun (12-3): that is what will get you. Our combined temperature/humidity/heat index thingy goes up to 40C on the temperature gauge, but put it in the midday sun and it goes so far off the scale you are guessing as to the real temperature - 50+??? But inland Shikoku should be fine. Btw, our temperature thingy usually reads 2-4C higher than the quoted temperatures (set in the shade) so I take the TV temperatures with a grain of salt.
 
Jun 18, 2011
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Okayama
#6
Cheers for the advice Paul - they're all just roads on a map to me down ere, so it's good to have some local advice.

Got up to 33degrees today, but really wasn't too bad - my new arm and leg coolers are really working. They make a big difference.
How do these arm and leg coolers work?

Route 2 is really busy and quite often you get big trucks and cars doing in excess of 100km/h in the two laned sections, so it is a pretty scary road. There are also plenty of parts that are single carriageway and run through towns which aren't too bad.

The 31 isn't anything special, but was quiet as the expressway from Hiroshima to Kure was free. There is a long tunnel leading into Kure, but there is a nice footpath there which would be fine for a road bike. I don't know how the traffic is now as they may have started charging for the toll road again. From Kure around to Mihara, the 185 has some nice seaside scenery and doesn't have too much traffic on a weekday. If you are interested, there is an old preserved area in Takehara which may be worth stopping for on the way.

http://homepage1.nifty.com/hiromichan/takehara/machinami.html

From Mihara to Onomichi, route 2 is pretty tame and single laned, with a fair amount of space for a bicycle on the side. In Onomichi, if you have the time there are some nice temples in the mountains above the station.

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8D%83%E5%85%89%E5%AF%BA_(%E5%B0%BE%E9%81%93%E5%B8%82)

You probably already know this, but there is no bridge access for cycles from Onomichi to Mukashima. Go straight towards the ferry that is directly in front the station, you can take your bike on without a bag and it is about 210 yen I think. The guy comes and gets the money off you on the way there. There are signs all the way to Imabari once you get off the ferry. Be careful for sudden turns/signs that lead from the road up to the bridge.

If you do decide to take route 2, be careful of the part where the turnoff to the Shiwa interchange joins, about 20/30km after Hiroshima and there is a bit just past the end of the Saijo bypass which is split dual carriageway with tunnels, both areas are very dangerous.

Good luck and have fun!
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#8
Thanks again for the advice guys, and taking the time to give such detail. Really helpful! Writing on my phone from a no-netcafe town (Kotohira)so i’ll be brief.

The arm/leg coolers work by drawing sweat to the outside to evaporate. They're also very effective UV blockers. Honestly, I’m surprised how well they work. The ¥1400 N・rit arm coolers are priceless; cooler the second you put them on. Really appreciating the sun protection once the day is done too. But, the temperature sky-rocketed when I hit Shikoku today - this place is seriously steamy.

Cheers again,
Chris
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,185
78
68
Kochi
#10
Nature came up with a similar idea and endowed many of us with hair on our skin. Supposedly for the same effect - if you haven't shaved it off...:eek:
I do have the hair option, but prefer the arm (Pearl Izumi)/leg (Goldwin) coolers as they keep the sun off your skin and are much less hassle than suncream. They also work as sweat bands (for wiping the forehead) and once they get wet, keep you cool - if they dry out, just wet them in a stream. In this heat, I go with a craft cool base layer as a top, and that works the same way.
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,185
78
68
Kochi
#11
But, the temperature sky-rocketed when I hit Shikoku today - this place is seriously steamy.
You get used to it, or should I say, better at dealing with it. A couple more things came to mind: just after mile 226 (where the 32 crosses the 32! [road numbering in Japan is in a league of its own] or where the tram lines cross), if you turn right, you will see the famous red Harimaya bridge (on your left) and if you are on the hour, you can watch the clock opposite. If you carry on up that road (Harimayabashi, the 32) to the train station (Kochi eki), there is a stage just in front of it where you can watch some left over Yosakoi should that interest you. Kochi is a lovely place to live, but there aren`t many sightseeing places.

Checking your ride again, 13,000 m of climbing would have even me in trouble, so if you fancy a break just before you get back on the 32 (just after mile 189, where 45/163 junction) you can catch the train all the way into Kochi.
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,185
78
68
Kochi
#12
If you`re tired, turning right onto the 439 just before 255 m, then left onto 494, then left on 212 brings you back to your original route at just after 274 m but will cut down on the climbing.
Ignore this...I was wrong. Just checked on mapmyride and both these routes are pretty much the same for climbing - felt sure it was less. This route is more one long steady climb and yours is shorter little climbs, but the total elevation and mileage comes out roughly identical, so probably easier to stick with what you have planned. But definitely go with the route I suggested out of Ino.
 
Jun 18, 2011
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Okayama
#13
I do have the hair option, but prefer the arm (Pearl Izumi)/leg (Goldwin) coolers as they keep the sun off your skin and are much less hassle than suncream. They also work as sweat bands (for wiping the forehead) and once they get wet, keep you cool - if they dry out, just wet them in a stream. In this heat, I go with a craft cool base layer as a top, and that works the same way.
I think I already may have these, my jersey comes with detachable long sleeves. I mainly use them to stop getting sun burnt and getting skin cancer though.
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#15
Route notes

Here's some brief notes on the route for future reference:

Osaka to Himeji is pretty much a non-event, as I expected - only did it because I wanted to see the immense feat of engineering that is the Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge.

Shodoshima is another story. A lovely 700m climb up to the Kankakei Ropeway on a road with almost no weekday traffic (steep for the first 3km on the 246, then not so bad). After the ropeway (it's ok, but a little expensive at 1200yen return) there's a little more climbing on the Shodoshima Skyline and then a faaaast descent down to Tonoshō: gradients of 18% and 14% in sections; I hit a top speed of 84.8kph with about 25% braking applied. Really nice ride - short, but recommended. A beautiful island.

Ferry to Takamatsu, then it was pretty much the highway 32 all the way to Kochi (took 2 days because I was being a tourist). Takamatsu to Kotohira is an unmemorable ride - dual carriageway with a nice shoulder, but signs insisting bikes go on the undulating footpath. I sometimes did, sometimes didn't. Anarchy.

From Kotohira it starts getting prettier and prettier. Nice enough road, usually with either a shoulder or footpath (if you're moving too slow up the hills); some cars, but not too many trucks. It gets particularly beautiful after Miyoshi, when you turn inland and follow the Yoshino River. At Oboke, turned onto the 45 into the Iya Valley - it's only a 400m climb over the moutain, but felt like more in the midday heat. The Iya Valley area is very pretty and mountainous, but there are almost no stores (closest combini is at Koboke on the 32), only vending machines and soba restaurants that shut at 6pm (when the tourists leave). Well worth seeing however.

From Iya, it was back over the 45 and on to Kochi via the 32. Again, a nice ride through a beautiful area with a mild uphill gradient for 50km or so, then down off the hill to the Kochi plain. Quiet a few cyclists around this area too (including one young guy struggling to keep his balance with a fully-loaded backpack slung sideways across the back of his mountain bike - he'll learn!).

All in all, the Shodoshima and inland Shikoku part of the trip have been very good and are recommended.

Chris.
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#16
Kochi to Matsuyama via route 33 is simply a great ride. Not particularly challenging, with the first 96km climbing to a height of 750m and then a reasonable decent down to Matsuyama, but a really beautiful ride - great road surface, no hope of making a wrong turn (just follow the 33), and fantastic scenery. Pretty awesome, really.

Matsuyama to Imabari is a nice enough ride down the highway, then it's island hopping on the Shimanami Kaido to Onomichi (the only cycle-able route to Shikoku). All very easy gradients (designed for the casual cyclist), but with some very nice views from the various bridges you cross.

From Onomichi, I jumped on a train as I was running out of time. But with 590km on the odo, I was happy enough.
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Koenji
#18
I left just before 6 in the morning (to beat the heat), and got to Matsuyama just before midday, so 130km in an easy 6 hours.

[Sorry for the delay replying - didn't see the question]