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Nuts & BoltsShimanami_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlShimanami_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlshapeimage_13_link_0

Since it was faster to get to western Honshu than to go all the way to Shikoku and start from there, I elected to zip over to Onomichi by train the night before. This method had two advantages: for one, it gave me a head start, since Onomichi’s minshuku are on Mukaijima across the bay.. which just happens to be where the Shimanami route goes. The other advantage was this particular minshuku - I'd stayed here before and always enjoyed watching the boats glide by at night and in the early morning. Across the water you can see downtown Onomichi, where walking paths run up and down the mountain and through the temple area; they're a great way to enjoy the city.

Once I'd managed to tear myself away from the great seafood and ambience, it was easy to find the start of the route. Maps like these greet you all along the way, so it's virtually impossible to get lost. In some places, you cycle along dedicated bike paths; in others, along the road.