The Shimanami Kaido trail in Japan offers a unique way to travel—by bike. At seventy kilometers, this cycling trail connects the country’s main island, Honshu, with the fourth largest island, Shikoku, while passing through six smaller islands along the way.
Bike rentals are less than $9.00 a day (about 1,000 yen) and give tourists access to fourteen different stations along the way where they can store their bikes for a few hours or overnight if needed. This easy system allows cyclists to turn their trip into a multi-day tour of Japan’s islands.
Along this trail, there are many interesting places you can stop and explore. Cyclists go across several modern bridges as they complete this journey including the world’s longest suspension bridge, the Kurushima Bridge.
While this trail is short and the average cyclist could complete it within a day, stopping along the way will give you a fuller experience in Japan. You’ll be able to interact with some locals and stop at various sites along the way. There are Japanese temples and ramen shops dotting the path, which offer a glimpse into different aspects of Japanese culture.
One must-see rest stop is the Kosanji Temple, which was constructed to honor a Buddhist priest’s mother in 1936. The temple is made up of several buildings, each of which represents another famous temple in Japan.
You can also stop at Suigun Castle, located on Innoshima Island, which is a museum that is dedicated to the Japanese pirates of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Biking across the Japanese islands offers a unique view of the country—one you can’t find elsewhere else.