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I recommend this day itinerary only if you happen to be as foolhardy/unlucky as me. When you consider all of the better ways to spend your time in Japan, I in fact recommend doing absolutely any of them instead.

Built in ********, this 70km roadway connects the Japanese cities of Onomichi and Imabari. It’s stunning path comprises **** island roads with **** bridges. The whole route is cycleable, and there are busses to transport you to your favoured starting point.

*Note: My map got so wet en route that much of the crucial information became obscured… Hence the asterixes.*

In the summer, it’s lovely. You can spend days or even weeks slowly island hopping and enjoying the sights.

In winter, on a cold and rainy day, it is utterly awful.

05:50 – Wake up in my Hiroshima hostel. Creep out of the dorm.
06:10 – Tram to train station.
06:52 – Conductor denied that the 06:36 train I intended to take was acceptable, so I took this one to Onomichi.
08:12 – Arrive Onomichi. It is raining. Ask bike bloke where to take the bus to Imaburi, but he isn’t too interested.
09:10 – Eventually board a bus that goes part-way. Battle with the ticketing system and then set off.
09:32 – Arrive at a truck stop in torrential rain. Lady at coffee counter laughs about my biking plan but shows me the bus timetable.
10:14 – Bus costs 1500Y. Rip off. And I’m running out of time before I’ve started. So I downscale my objective to 50km.
10:40 – Arrive Hakatajima. Ask around for a bike. One man speaks English and tells me to “Take a bus”. That’s not the point. He gives me a poncho and a look of pity.
11:15 – Finally begin riding with 50km ahead of me.
11:16 – Drenched to the bone.
11:17 – Cold.
11:23 – Very cold.
11:37 – Cross my first (stunning) suspension bridge.
11:41 – Lunch. Cup noodle and coffee from a vending machine.
14:24 – Making good time, but shivering profusely, stop for a 7Eleven chocolate bun. Boycott of 7Eleven called off under extreme circumstances.
15:20 – Can’t find the final ferry! Collapse in a soggy heap at some office porch.
15:22 – Driver sees me and points to the obvious ferry directly in front of me.
15:25 – Board ferry.
15:30 – Return bike to uninterested bloke at Onomichi.
15:45 – Collect my rucksack, then buy one MisterDoughnut, entitling me to use their Restroom to change into dry clothes.
15:52 – Remove sodden shoes and concoct sandal-shoes using socks for warmth and carrier bags for waterproofing.
16:17 – Leave on the Osaka train.
16:18 – Holding my gloves to the underseat heater, I reflect that today has been unpleasant, and that I didn’t even have time to complete the entire route. Silly.

Before conducting this day trip, I searched online to find a precedent. Nowhere obvious offers advice on how to cycle the Shimanami Kaido in one day. So to set the record straight, I hereby advise you not to bother, especially not on a rainy winter day.

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