The Seto Inland Sea is the body of water separating three of Japan’s four main islands. It serves as a waterway, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan and there are some 3000 islands and islets dotted amidst this area stretching for over 400 kilometres.
Apart from a couple of very quick jaunts over to Mukaishima Island from Onomichi, I have never really visited this scenic waterway so decided to head to one of the islands. Omishima was my island of choice and so, having checked out of my capsule hotel in Okayama early morning, I was on the train to Fukuyama where I would take the 10:10am bus to Omishima in Ehime prefecture. As it was a national holiday (Mountain Day – Japan’s newest public holiday) the traffic was quite busy so my arrival time was delayed by 30 mins. I was dropped off in the car park known as Omishima BS (bus station) where there was absolutely nothing!
Thankfully I didn’t panic too much and, seeing a building in the distance, I walked 200 metres down the road to see what was there. Luckily, it was a tourist information centre with rental bicycles so I didn’t waste too much time in stumping up ¥1000 for the day plus another ¥1000 deposit. After struggling in Naoshima the previous day I decided to get a proper decent bike this time although I did actually miss the basket as it meant I had to carry the rucksack on my back which can be a little sweaty.
I’m used to riding on the road so it was natural at junctions for me to want to get on the road rather than sticking to the cycle paths which were well marked out on an island that’s really geared up for cyclists. A couple of years ago I cycled the Godzilla Tokyo Trail amidst soaring temperatures of 34 degrees but it was two or three degrees higher in Omishima!
Omishima Wisteria Park (above) was a very short stop as I made my way over to the main sight of the island. Oyamazumi Shrine (below) is dedicated to the gods who protect sailors and soldiers and suddenly, I was back amongst people again having not seen a soul on the cycling route. It really was a case of ‘just-another-shrine’ as far as I was concerned. It did possess some impressive trees within its grounds though.
I continued on to the Miyaura Port area (below) from there which was another kilometre away and was a calm, quiet area with some beautiful scenery. It featured in the sixth X-Men movie ‘The Wolverine‘ (2013) so click here if you want to see the location match-ups from that film.
It would’ve been nice to cover more of the island but time was slowly running out so I decided to head back the same way and stop at a few more places along the way such as the little park area seen below where I took a short break.
Not so far from the Oyamazumi Shrine was the remarkably large tree known as Ikiki no Gomon (above) which an old guy told me was 3000 years old and has a root circumference of around 30 metres. It is believed that you will live long if you pass through the tree.
Back on track I saw a slightly cartoonish charging wild boar sign (below) as I headed back to the bridge area.
The views from the Tatara Observation Deck were fantastic and whilst there I met a couple of foreign tourist cyclists who had cycled all the way from Onomichi that day. One day I’d like to follow suit and cycle from the mainland across the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido. One of them said that it was possible to cycle across the Tatara Bridge in less than ten minutes so I did so.
Ikuchijima is the island to the east of Omishima and I spent a few minutes there (below) before speeding back across the bridge.
Back over on Omishima it was time to part company with my wheels but not before a few parting shots (below) in the foreground of Tatara Bridge.
A few days before this trip I had booked a bus to take me from Omishima BS all the way to Hiroshima so at just after 4:15 pm I boarded it and about four hours later, due to heavy traffic on the roads again, I was at my parents-in-law house where my wife would later join up with us all for the remainder of the holiday.
Click here to read ‘Omishima: The Wolverine Filming Locations’