After crossing the Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge and descending a looping road, we arrived on the island of Oshima. Although it was a little early, we had lunch at a place in the rest area off the road called Yoshiumi Ikiikikan. There we enjoyed a delicious charcoal-roasted seafood barbecue.
Looking out at Onomichi from Mt. Kiro (Imabari City)
After getting off the bridge and arriving on the island, all of the roads are ordinary streets. We decided to head toward Mt. Kiro Observatory Park in the southern part of the island. At a height of 308 meters above sea level, the park is a place where you can enjoy a great view of the surroundings, including the Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge we just crossed. Climbing the road on our bicycles was hard work, but the view made it well worth it. The 360-degree panorama of island, sea, and bridge was magnificent, and the contrast among these elements can only be described as stunning.
Arriving at the Murakami Suigun Museum (Murakami Suigun Museum)
While we were riding, we saw the Murakami Suigun Museum, which commemorates Murakami Suigun, a samurai who sailed the seas some 500 years ago. We went in to take a look. The museum has a special corner where visitors can try on a samurai helmet and armor. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity by posing for a photo with a samurai sword. It felt just like being a real warrior!
Ship models at the museum (Murakami Suigun Museum)
A flag with the Murakami family crest on display at the museum (Murakami Suigun Museum)
You can try on a suit of armor at the museum. (Murakami Suigun Museum)
After the museum, we set off for the island of Hakatajima, a journey that would take us across the Hakata-Oshima Bridge. We could see the ocean from the bridge, and the current is very strong here, too. The current is so violent, in fact, that it can wreck a ship, earning this area the nickname of �shipwreck Seto.�
This lodge on the seashore used to be a school. (SHIMAP)
We next crossed the Omishima Bridge to the island of Omishima. Before going to our lodging for the night, we stopped at Tatarashimanami Park in the nearby rest area to ring a giant bell that is said to bring happiness. Our lodging for the night was at the Omishima Furusato Ikoi no Ie in the Munakata district. After riding up and down a number of hills, a wooden schoolhouse near the beach came into view. This is actually an old elementary school that has closed down and been refurbished into accommodation for visitors. Some guests park their bicycles in the hallways. The south side of the building faces the sea, with a direct view of the Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge. This is an area of lush natural surroundings, and it has even been used as a location in movies.
There are lodging facilities on all of the islands. Ask at a tourist information center or at any of the lodges themselves. There are both public and private lodgings, and some of them will give you the opportunity to interact with local residents.