Noru crashed on a breakwater in Aki, Kochi Prefecture. Photo courtesy of Reuter.Challenges

Shimanami Kaido – When planned trip turned into an unplanned one

Woke up in the morning after having a good sleep, my wife and I were busy checking the weather report on TV and from the Internet.

It was mentioned that typhoon Noru was moving over Shikoku and towards the main island of Japan during the day. Due to the slow pace of Noru that might result in extended periods of heavy rain, evacuation advisories in Shikoku and warning for river flooding, landslides, strong winds and high waves in other affected areas had been issued.

I later learnt from the news and Internet that:

Typhoon Noru was the second longest lasting tropical cyclone of Northwest Pacific Ocean on record. First formed on 20 July and later intensified into typhoon on 23 July …

Executing a counterclockwise loop southeast of Japan, weakened and restrengthen again on 30 July. Accelerated northeastwards towards the Kansai region of Japan. …

Causing two deaths in Kagoshima prefecture on 6 Aug and started to move across the main island of Japan. …

More than 120 domestic and international flights were also canceled in the Kansai International Airport. …

Typhoon Noru was subsequently dissipated on 9 Aug.

Plotting on the track of typhoon Noru.
Plotting on the track of typhoon Noru.

With such an adverse weather condition, we had to cancel our cycling trip on Shimanami Kaido for the day of 7 August 2017.

Since it was just the third day of our journey and we still had five more days to go, we had to change our plan. Keeping the Shimanami Kaido ride whenever possible while not seriously affecting the other hotel reservations that we had already made.

Another un-foreseen challenge to me and my family.


Ad-hoc Changes to our Plan

Based on the typhoon forecast, heavy rain with strong wind would occur throughout the day and it was expected that weather condition would return normal on 8 August.

Given that we had already reserved hotel in Imabari on 8 August for two consecutive days, we had to squeeze the entire Shimanami Kaido ride into one day. Something that might be too hard for my boy and my wife.

Without pushing them too hard and at the same time keeping the original hotel reservation, I had made some changes to the rides as followed.

  • Day 1 (8 August) : Onomichi — (🚌) –> Imabari — (🚴‍♂️) –> Oshima
  • Day 2 (9 August) : Imabari — (🚌) –> Omishima — (🚴‍♂️) –> Ikuchijima — (🚴‍♂️) –> Omishima — (🚴‍♂️) –> Hakatajima — (🚴‍♂️) –> Oshima — (🚴‍♂️) –> Imabari

Since we had already completed the portion from Onomichi to Innoshima in early January, the revised itinerary should almost covered the entire Shimanami Kaido except the Ikuchi Bridge and small parts of Innoshima and Ikuchijima.

Not a 100% completion but we would almost achieve it. Not too bad IMHO. 😬😬😬

With the plan finalised, we needed to make some arrangement to accommodate the changes.

Temporary Hotel Accommodation

We were supposed to check out in the morning. The front-desk staff of the Onomichi Kokusa Hotel were so helpful that they managed to extend my room for one more day. At the same original discounted price and in the same hotel room. Excellent 👍

Minshuku Cancellation

In Japan, staff of Minshuku is highly concerned about safety of their guests. Since staff at “Juicy Fruits” was not aware whether we would continue the journey or not, we had the responsibility to inform them our ad-hoc cancellation.

Understood that we might not be able to communicate effectively with staff at “Juicy Fruits”, the front-desk staff of the Onomichi Kokusa Hotel even helped us to call “Juicy Fruits” about our cancellation.

By the way, reservation of “Juicy Fruits” did not require any prior deposit and/or down-payment. They had the rights to charge us the full payment as cancellation was not timely made. To our surprise, they just waived the cancellation charge without asking any question.

Just from the above kind arrangement, you can have some ideas of the hospitality of the Japanese culture.

Luggage Transfer

Since all our luggage had to be delivered on the same day we arrived in Imabari, the Sagawa hands-free cycling service was chosen instead of TA-Q-BIN.

Bus Transportation

Day 1: Onomichi to Imabari  (Around 1 hr 33 min; at ¥2290 per adult; half-price for kids) :

  • At Bus Stop number 7 just outside the Onomichi JR Station, take the local bus to Innoshima & Setoda
  • Get off at Innoshima Bridge Bus Stop and change to bus (from Fukuyama JR Station) bound for Imabari
  • Get off at Imabari JR Station

Day 2: Imabari to Tatara Shimanami Park, Omishima  (Around 1 hr 12 min; at ¥1040 per adult; half-price for kids) :

  • At Imabari JR Station, take the bus bound for Omishima
  • Get off at Tatara Shimanami Park

We had worked out all the bus route and schedule using Google Map on our mobile phone. Their integration with the Japan transportation services are excellent.

Finally all the concerns were settled and we were totally relieved.


Short Trip to Kurashiki

It was raining outside and all bike rental terminals were closed. Instead of staying in the hotel, my boy wanted to go for a train ride.

Not a problem as we had the JR-Pass and so we went to Kurashiki for a short trip.

Kurashiki is located in the Okayama Prefecture, an old town famous for the distribution of rice dated back in the 17th to 19th century. Major tourist attractions include the Canal area, the Ohara Museum of Arts and the Ivy Square, etc.

Since we only had half day left, we went to the Ario Kurashiki Shopping Centre right next to the Kurashiki JR Station.

Ario Kurashiki Shopping Centre
Ario Kurashiki Shopping Centre

We visited KO:HI:KAN (珈琲館) in Ario Kurashiki, one of the most classic coffee chain in Japan which is famous for their charcoal roasted coffee beans. (The KO:HI:KAN shop in Ario Kurashiki was closed down in early 2018)

KO:HI:KAN Kurashiki
KO:HI:KAN Kurashiki

By the time we returned to Onomichi, it was already late in the evening and also time for our dinner.

Probably we had eaten quite a lot throughout the day, a simple Ramen dinner at the Onomichi JR Station sounded good enough for us!

Ramen Restaurant at Onomichi JR Station
Ramen Restaurant at Onomichi JR Station

Oops, we had some communication issues with the staff. It turned out that we had ordered too much Ramen 😱😱😱

Ramen, dumpling and fried rice for Dinner at Onomichi JR Station
Ramen, dumpling and fried rice for Dinner at Onomichi JR Station

We would have an extremely tight schedule tomorrow as we had to check out early in the morning, hand over our luggage to the courier service and to catch up the bus to Imabari before 08:00.

Quickly we packed up all our luggage and have an early sleep. 💤


Click here for details on first day of my Shimanami Kaido Ride.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.