Shimanami Expressway

Refreshing bicycle rides overlooking the beauty of many islands on Japan’s first highway over the sea

View Gallery
An expressway with a bicycle lane that spans for 70km with 9 bridges linking 6 islands between Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture and Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture. There is plenty that is well worth seeing from the quality of the scenery, a historical walk of the Seto Inland Sea to the dynamism of the bridges.

Photos & Videos

View Gallery


The entire area is a cyclist’s paradise with a variety of course environments available

Along the expressway, there are 15 rental cycle stations where you can rent and drop off bicycles easily. Many types of bikes are available from road types, electric bikes, bikes with child seats to tandem bikes. At the rest area known as the Cycle Oasis, there are facilities to pump air, water, washrooms, tourist maps and plenty of other hospitality services.

A tour of islands that had a history of Japanese piracy

Along with the beauty of the islands in the Seto Inland Sea, another interesting point about the region is the history of the Murakami Navy which wielded power as Japanese pirates. First off, enjoy the superb view of the 4km of the world’s first tri-suspension bridge structure, the Kurushima-Kaikyō Bridge from the Imabari City side. Then, cross over to Oshima where the Imabari Murakami Navy Museum is located. This is Japan’s only naval museum where you can learn about the Murakami Navy which was once called the feudal lord of the sea during the Warring States Era. There is an area where you can put on replicas of armor and haori short coats, and from the 3rd floor observatory, you can get a full view of Noshima Island where the navy was based. On the island, you can take a break on a ship excursion where you can experience the tides coming in. Exciting whirlpools that can reach a maximum of 10 knots appear, something that has been occurring for over 500 years. Then, going past Hakatajima Island, head for the National Treasure of Omishima Island. At the Treasure Hall of Ōyamazumi Shrine where the nation’s military commanders worshiped at, 80% of Japan’s National Treasure and Important Cultural Property-designated military equipment is stored there. Among these treasures, there is Japan’s only example of women’s armor as worn by Tsuruhime of the Murakami Navy, also known as the Jeanne D’Arc of the Seto Inland Sea. To reach this point in the journey will take about 6 hours. Since from there, there will be sites such as the Innoshima Navy Castle, it’s good to check out for them ahead of time to make efficient use of your time.

read more

Plan your trip to hiroshima

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

Request a Tour