Setoda Link is a wonderful little B&B located on Ikuchijima. It is a little hard to find at first and if you don’t know where to go you can easily get lost. It is on the south side near a police station, but you wouldn’t know it unless you were looking for it. Thankfully there is a sign to help you but the sign can look a bit small.
When I arrived I missed the location, rather my friend “A” missed it. I had to call him over as I saw the sign and we headed up a dirt road to the back entrance. The B&B is located in a nice modern building. I believe they opened a year and a half ago, if my memory is correct. The building is still very new and they have everything you can need.
The first thing you do is unpack your bike and go inside. The owners are a lovely husband and wife, and the husband is a certified cyclist trainer. You can tell how much he loves cycling, and I believe she does too, based on what they have there. The living room area is full of expensive road bikes and they have a shed full of other road bikes too. If you have a good road bike, the husband will clean the tires a little and then hang it inside the living room.
Check-in is pretty simple. We just filled out a small form while the wife gave us a nice mikan and honey drink as a welcome drink; it was very delicious. The drink was not too sweet, and not sour either; it was just right. We were then shown our room, but don’t make the same mistake I made. Make sure you take off your slippers before entering the room, or at least the tatami room. I was in the Mukaishima Room which was right across the bathroom. The room had a nice view of the Seto Inland Sea.
The room itself was pretty basic. It was a tatami room and there was a nice little TV. The beds were already laid out for us and the windows were open too. We didn’t need anything special so we just dropped our things and chilled for a bit.
“A” decided that he needed a shower, as did I, but I wanted to go for a quick swim in the sea. “A” took his shower as I jumped into the freezing sea to “be a man”. The beach itself is really nice, but nothing too special. There is a lot of seaweed, so be careful as you will probably slip on it. You can go out pretty far without getting too deep, but with the water being so cold, I could only go “in” for seconds at a time before I had to get out and warm up a bit.
The showers in Link are shared by everyone. They provide everything you need, including towels. It was pretty nice and the quality of the product was decent. I wasn’t expecting 5 star hotel products, but they were decent home products.
The first floor has the kitchen, dining room, and sun room. The sun room was great. I was able to just sit there and enjoy the view until the bugs started coming out and biting. I was having a good time just reading the news and checking Facebook before I was bitten a little and decided it was time to go inside. I then just relaxed at the kitchen table until it was dinner time.
Dinner was amazing. The food was delicious. It is a mix of locally caught fish and octopus as well as other homemade items. There was a simple small fish that was cooked in a soy based sauce. There was even tai-meshi as well as a special deep fried tofu pocket with cheese and chicken inside with a basil and cream sauce; I could have eaten a lot of it. If you have any aversion to seafood, you probably can’t stay at any B&B in Japan.
If you are looking to drink some beer, there is a vending machine just outside the dining room. The prices are reasonable and at 400 yen for 500mL cans of Asahi and I wasn’t complaining. I had a nice beer in the afternoon before dinner, and another one at the end of dinner.
It was nice to also watch the baseball game with the owners as well as the other guest who was staying there. The other guest was a nice older gentleman from Chiba. He had a really nice road bike and he does an average of 1000km a year on it. We were surprised and I can only hope that I am just as athletic as he is when I am that old. He hasn’t retired yet, but judging by his clothes and the ability to take time off, he must be closer to retirement.
Breakfast was pretty standard. We had some salmon and other traditional Japanese dishes. Thankfully there was no natto. The worst part was that it had been raining for most of the night and into the morning. We had planned to leave early, but since it was raining, we decided to stay until check-out. They will not tell you to leave, but at 9:30, but the cleaning staff will arrive, so you have to exit your room by that time. If they don’t have reservations, you may be able to stay a bit later, but I’m not sure.
Either way, by 9:30, we were ready to get going as we had to meet my friend “I” in Imabari. There was nothing we could do about the timing, so we just left in the rain after getting a quick photo for the Setoda Link Facebook Page.
If you are travelling on the Shimanami Kaido, I can’t recommend Setoda Link enough. The food is great, the location is very quiet, and the family is very friendly. They are very accommodating and I would definitely stay there again. If you cannot speak Japanese, they may not allow you to stay there, but only because they don’t speak English. I’m sure they can do a little, but trying to communicate in English is very difficult and they already have a good stream of Japanese visitors staying at Setoda Link. Maybe in the future they will be more accommodating, but like most of the places along the Shimanami Kaido, unless you speak Japanese, expect some resistance from the people as they are just afraid they can’t serve you to the level they want to provide.
Setoda Link’s Official Facebook Post about my visit: