Onomichi to Imabari – 23 April

Meeting and greeting – common denominator – cycling!

Today we left our hilltop accommodation – John counted 270 steps plus there was the sloping paths.

The views were amazing of the islands and boat activity. We were part of that this morning.

Firstly a bakery breakfast alongside an American couple day tripping the islands.

We leave Onomichi, Honshu, a quick 5 min ferry ride then on our way cycling the Shimanami Kaidu bikeway to Imabari. Coined as one of Japan’s top cycling experiences. Admittedly it definitely attracts all cycling levels. Just follow the blue line and venture through the 6 islands in the Seto Sea.

We see roadies out for a bit of fun, day trippers and several tourers. The only climbing was to get around the forest covered hills to the level of the magnificent bridges – average 3% gradient. This is citrus country – orange and lemon groves decorate the hills – not to mention the late blooming cherry blossoms, wisteria is out and growing wild in the forest along with the rainbow of coloured azaleas.

There are some lovely beaches, Sunset Beach in Setoda looks to be very popular however today all the cafes are shut – the high season starts next week with the beginning of ‘Golden Week’ a 10 day holiday period.

It’s very overcast today however no wind – very pleasant. Views of the islands from the bridges were spectacular.

My highlight was meeting a league of nations. In particular a lady who double backed and chased us down – Kat from Melbourne who lives in London, she recognised us from my blog and knew it was Sue & John, what a lovely experience and chat.

There was also a French couple who had been cycling for 14 months what an epic journey they were on; a UK couple who we leap frogged the whole way; the couple from New Zealand who were day tripping

We are staying in the old town of Imabari – covered arcades which in their heyday would have been a hive of activity; however today in mid afternoon most shutters are down which indicate the shop no longer exists; there are lots of tailors displaying lovely printed material which I suspect are for kimonos, a few dress and shoe shops for the more mature folk otherwise quite deserted … progression of supermarkets and department stores have taken over.

The expected rain has set in as we find a closeby restaurant and enjoy pork dumplings and ramen.

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