Shimanami Kaidō (しまなみ海道) Cycle Path

View of Onomichi from Mukaishima. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vickerman625.

View of Onomichi from Mukaishima. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vickerman625.

One Japanese blogger , who uses the moniker 吾輩は猫であるさん (from Wagahai wa Neko de aru, the title of a famous novel by Natsume Soseki), referred to this bike trail as a サイクリストの聖地 (saikurisuto no seichi), or “a cyclist’s holy land”.  The 海道 (Kaidō) in the name means “sea way” or “sea path”, and the trail obligingly hops islands from one side of the 瀬戸内海 (Seto Naikai, “Seto Inland Sea”) to the other.  After reading so much about the trail itself and individual cyclists’ experiences on it, I’m adding this ride to my bucket list for my next stay in Western Japan! (´∀`)ワクワ

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Cycling Events in Japan, April 2014

Traveling in Japan this spring?  Interested in getting some exercise and making connections with other cyclists? If so, here are three options for April 2014:

グラン・ツール・せとうち2014 (Guran Tsuuru Setouchi, Grand Tour Setouchi):  April 19, 20 (register by March 31)

  • Starts in 尾道市向島運動公園 (Onomichi-shi Mukaishima Undō Kōen, Onomichi City Mukaishima Exercise Park) and runs along the しまなみ海道 (Shimanami Kaidō, Shimanami Sea Path) and nearby roads
  • Saturday or Sunday short course (70km): ¥4000 (about USD $39)
  • Saturday long course (120km): ¥5000 (about USD $49)
  • Two day short course (includes single-sex group accommodations and breakfast/dinner): ¥17,000 (60-80 people per room)/¥18,000 (8-12 people per room)  (about USD $166/176)
  • Two day long course (includes single-sex group 0accommodations and breakfast/dinner): ¥18,000/¥19,000 (about USD $176/185)
  • Participant limit: 1,500 riders

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Bike Trails in Japan, Part 1: Kyoto’s Katsura River Cycling Road

Katsura-gawa Cycle Road

Along the Katsura-gawa section of the trail.

Urban Kyoto is of its own accord a great place to ride a bicycle if you are acclimated to city riding – and you can use this map and guide from the city’s visitor’s bureau if you are so inclined – but if you are aching to get away from the crowds and see a little of the countryside, one option is the 京都八幡木津自転車道 (Kyōto Yawata Kizu Jitensha-dō, “Kyoto-Yawata-Kizu Bicycle Path”).

Popularly known as the 桂川サイクリングロード (Katsuragawa Saikuringu Rōdo, “Katsura River Cycling Road”), this trail starts in Kyoto’s Arashiyama area (Nishikyō-ku, Kamikawara-cho) and runs 45 kilometers toward Nara along the Katsura and Kizu rivers.  An overview map of this trail is provided below, but if you would like more detail (and information on how to connect this trail with trails in the Nara area), Kyoto Prefecture provides a regional cycling map and additional information in .pdf format on the trail page of its website.

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