Omishima is the first island where I was in Ehime. Quite literally, along the Shimanami Kaido, you have 3 islands that are part of Onomichi City, and 3 islands that are part of Imabari. Once you cross the Tatara Bridge you are in Imabari. You can instantly notice a difference in the islands and in how they promote each island. In Onomichi, the islands are barer and I had a better chance to enjoy the scenery, whereas once I hit Omishima, the scenery felt different. It was still very similar but distinctly different; almost like brothers.
The first place I went to on Omishima was a quick stop at the Tatara Shimanami Park. It is a somewhat small rest stop for people to just stretch their legs. They have a very nice cyclist rest area with a nice little park just below the Tatara Bridge. In the open park you can enjoy some of the art that makes up the Imabari side. They have a set of interesting bicycle stands that very few people use, and I actually had trouble understanding how to use it.
The rest stop itself was pretty standard. The buildings are very simple and felt geared towards tourists. It didn’t seem to have the same rural feel as the rest stop on Ikuchijima. There were locals there, and I’m sure they were friendly, but maybe my feelings were a little different because I was tired from the first day of cycling and it was raining in the morning.
Thankfully the rain stopped when we left Tatara Shimanami Park and the trip to Hakatajima was pretty short. While Omishima is pretty big, we didn’t have time to really explore the island since we left late and had to make up time. I did make a point to stop at a couple places on the main road. The first was a lookout towards the Amazaki Castle Ruins. It is basically a small fortified island that is now overgrown with trees. I expected to see nothing special and I got what I expected.
I also made a quick stop at an old well, and while I never expected anything of it, I did get to see a very nice scene. The well is located just off the main street and if you don’t know what you are looking for, you will miss it completely. I was able to go there, look in the well, and enjoy the boats on the beach.
The actual approach to the Omishima Bridge is actually very different to the other approaches that I had been to. In fact, the approaches in Imabari were generally different to the ones in Onomichi. The Onomich approaches were pretty simple roads that went straight to the bridge deck from the coast. In Imabari, it appeared that the approaches took more time to get there and it was a better workout.
The approach to the Omishima Bridge can actually be split into 2 sections. There is the section that heads up from the coast, and then a road section before you get to the entrance. At the entrance to the bridge there is a small access road to a small lookout. The lookout was really nice and I actually met a cop there, but more on that later.
Omishima is an island that I have to revisit in the future. I will have return to check out some of the temples that are to the north of Tatara. I ended up taking the quick route straight to Hakatajima due to time. I do regret not being able to see and do more, but I am sure that I will be back again in the future, and maybe I’ll have a car so that I can really see more things.
- Omishima Travel Spots (Shimap – Japanese Only)
- Shimanami Kaido (Imabari Islands Official Site – English)
- Shimanami Kaido (Imabari Islands Official Site – Japanese)
- Shimanami Kaido (Japan Guide)
- Shimanami Kaido (Shimap – Official Tourist Site – English – Note: Slightly outdated)
- Shimanami Kaido (Shimap – Official Tourist Site – Japanese)
- English Guide Map (Official Map)