Hiroshima & Shimanami Kaido self-guided 5 Days

Enjoy the slow island life on the Setouchi Inland Sea with cycling, kayaking and walking

Highlights

  • Cycling island-to-island along the scenic Seto Inland sea
  • Enjoy wonderful views over the sea, valleys and mountains of Hiroshima
  • Bathe in the thermal hot-spring waters with detox bathing at a traditional inn
  • Sea kayaking around Tomonoura Bay
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage of Miyajima Island with the free-roaming deer
  • Experience the emotional peace park and genbaku dome in central Hiroshima
Hiroshima and the Seto Inland Sea are some of the most scenic areas of Japan. This tour offers exploration of the wonderful variety of towns, villages and islands in both rural and central Hiroshima, experienced through activities suited to you, with kayaking, cycling, sightseeing walks and hiking available.Explore the seaside town of Tomonoura and UNESCO World Heritage island Miyajima (famous for its friendly deer and the iconic 'floating' Torii gate off Itsukushima Shrine), walk through the emotional history of Hiroshima and timeless hilltop communities of Onomichi, finishing with our version of the varied and scenic island-hopping cycling course Shimanami Kaido. Pass over the Setouchi Inland Sea visiting remote islands, which together with deliciously fresh seafood cuisine, offer a uniquely modern cafe culture, before arriving in Ehime prefecture on Shikoku Island; the perfect entry point of our 4-day Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage tour.
Hiroshima and the Seto Inland Sea are some of the most scenic areas of Japan. This tour offers exploration of the wonderful variety of towns, villages and islands in both rural and central Hiroshima, experienced through activities suited to you, with kayaking, cycling, sightseeing walks and hiking available.Explore the seaside town of Tomonoura and UNESCO World Heritage island Miyajima (famous for its friendly deer and the iconic 'floating' Torii gate off Itsukushima Shrine), walk through the emotional history of Hiroshima and timeless hilltop communities of Onomichi, finishing with our version of the varied and scenic island-hopping cycling course Shimanami Kaido. Pass over the Setouchi Inland Sea visiting remote islands, which together with deliciously fresh seafood cuisine, offer a uniquely modern cafe culture, before arriving in Ehime prefecture on Shikoku Island; the perfect entry point of our 4-day Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage tour.

This tour offers the opportunity to spend a leisurely extra night in the port town of Onomichi where the Shimanami Kaido cycle begins.
Please ask for information about connecting this tour with our 4-day Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage Self-guided walk, which begins from Imabari where you drop off your bikes.

This tour offers gentle cycling and hiking suitable for children of 12 and up. All activities are optional, so please enquire for alternatives if travelling with younger passengers. Please also see here for trips best suited to families.

 

 Downloadable PDF itinerary

What′s included

  • Sea Kayaking on Tomonoura Bay
  • 4 nights at Japanese inns or western-style hotels
  • 4 breakfasts and 2-4 dinners
  • Round-trip train tickets from Kyoto or Osaka
  • Return ferry tickets between Hiroshima and Miyajima
  • Detailed day-by-day itinerary, walking directions, and maps for Tomonoura, Onomichi, Hiroshima and Miyajima
  • Bicycle rental and topographical cycling maps along the Shimanami Kaido
  • Topographical maps
  • Local support by telephone and email

What′s not included

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches
  • Single room supplement(s) if required

Day 1 - Arrive in Hiroshima

Travel by bullet train to central Hiroshima. This well-known city was the first in history to bear the impact of the use of atomic weapons. The city never forgets its past, and there are memorials to the bombing of 6 August 1945 including the Atomic Bomb Dome, and the Peace Memorial and Museum.

You stay overnight in Hiroshima at a western-style hotel or travel by ferry to the UNESCO World Heritage island of Miyajima and stay at a traditional Japanese inn here.

 

Accommodation: Overnight in Hiroshima or spend a night on Miyajima Island
Meals: Breakfast (Dinner is included for guests staying at a Japanese inn)

 

Typical Accommodation
As standard, we offer a comfortable, centrally-located hotel in Hiroshima city, enabling you to enjoy the vast range of meal options this evening.

We can also provide an historic Ryokan located on Miyajima island, offering excellent rooms, meals and the opportunity to take a relxing evening stroll once day-vistors have left the island. Please let us know on booking if you would like us to arrange this traditional option and please note that availability with this option may be scarce during peak seasons, which can sometimes require a date change or supplemental fee.

Day 2 - Travel to Miyajima Island

Explore Miyajima island where wild deer roam free. Experience the amazing close-up view of the iconic red Torii Gate of Itsukushima Shrine which appears to float in the water at high tide. You might want to try the Miyajima oysters or the local dish of Anago Meshi grilled eel.

During the afternoon, you have time to climb Mount Misen, the highest peak of the island, offering spectacular views of the Seto Inland Sea via the returning cablecar. Please let us know if you would like to include a sea kayak experience around the Torii Gate of Itsukushima Shrine to compliment the kayaking you will undertake later on the trip.

 

Walking distance: 4.7km / 3 miles of optional hiking
Elevation gain: 810m / 2,660 feet of ascent, neglible descent
Time required: About 2-3 hours

 

A longer 12.1km / 7.5 miles hiking option, with an ascent of 1,030m and descent of 1,015m, foregoing the descending cablecar ride, is available. A gentler, flat 2.4km / 1.5 miles sightseeing route covering the islands main attractions is also possible for a more leisurely day.

 

Accommodation: Overnight in Hiroshima or spend a night on Miyajima Island
Meals: Breakfast (Dinner is included for guests staying at a Japanese inn)

 

Typical Accommodation
As standard, we offer a comfortable, centrally-located hotel in Hiroshima city, enabling you to enjoy the vast range of meal options this evening.

We can also provide an historic Ryokan located on Miyajima island, offering excellent rooms, meals and the opportunity to take a relxing evening stroll once day-vistors have left the island. Please let us know on booking if you would like us to arrange this traditional option and please note that availability with this option may be scarce during peak seasons, which can sometimes require a date change or supplemental fee.

Day 3 - Sea Kayaking around Sensui-jima Island

Travel to Tomonoura Bay, the lovely thousand year-old port town which inspired Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miayazaki when he created the animated film "Ponyo". Tomonoura is recognized as Shiomachi-no-minato ''port awaiting a favorable tide'' and this town preserves its old-fashioned fishing townscape. Enjoy a morning sea kayak tour around Sensui-jima Island.

Later in the afternoon continue to Sensui-jima island by ferry for your overnight stay at a traditional Japanese inn.

 

Kayaking time: About 2-3 hours

 

Walking distance: 2km / 1.2 miles of optional sightseeing
Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent
Time required: About 1-2 hours

 

Please note that if kayaking is not possible due to poor weather, further exploration time on Sensuijima Island and in the quiet and relaxed village of Tomonoura with our two optional sightseeing walks are possible.

 

Accommodation: Ryokan inn
Meals: Dinner

 

Typical Accommodation
Kokokara InnStay at a wonderful traditional Japanese inn, experiencing unique detox baths. Here you enjoy a gourmet dinner featuring the fresh catch of the day. Lovely traditional Japanese artwork adorns the rooms and public spaces and it is possible to take a relaxing beach-side stroll this evening.

Day 4 - Onomichi and the Shimanami Kaido

Depart this morning for the romantic seaside town of Onomichi - the entry point on the mainland side of the Shimanami Kaido cycling course. Spend the morning exploring Onomichi's wonderfully old-fashioned shopping arcades and quiet hilltop back streets with our gentle sightseeing course before selecting your bikes for the first day of island hopping along the Shimanami Kaido.

Overnight on a remote island part-way along the cycling route.

 

Cycling distance: 35-65km / 20-40 miles (up to 80km / 50 miles)
Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent (with some very brief ups and downs to reach each bridge)
Time required: 3-6 hours (up to 8 hours)

 

Cycling distances vary based on the inn you stay at and how many of our optional side-trips along the islands you wish to undertake. For less confident cyclists, don't hesitate to enquire with us about alternative arrangements.

 

Accommodation: Ryokan inn
Meals: Dinner, Breakfast

 

Typical Accommodation
Stay at a lovely Ryokan located part-way along the Shimanami Kaido. Originally a wealthy merchant’s house, the inn has a long history dating back over 100 years, providing excellently fresh seafood as part of the Kaiseki meals, together with relaxing sea views from your room.

Day 5 - Complete the Shimanami Kaido and head onwards

Continue along the Shimanami Kaido cycling route, passing through small island settlements with some of the most scenic sections of the route before arriving into Imabari town on Shikoku Island. Drop off your bikes at Imabari Station and head onwards by train or head inland by bus to reach the trailhead of our 4-day Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage Self-guided walking tour.

 

Cycling distance: 20-45km / 13-28 miles
Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent (with some very brief ups and downs to reach each bridge)
Time required: 2-4 hours

 

Cycling distances vary based on the inn you have stayed at and how many of our optional side-trips along the islands you wish to undertake. Most guests will undertake the 45km, 4-hour cycle today.