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Hiroshima's Shimanami Kaido: One of the world's most incredible bike routes

May 19, 2014

Published on May 19, 2014

By Steve John Powell


(CNN) -- Hiroshima's Shimanami Kaido might be an expressway, but it was designed with the cyclist in mind.

A spectacular 60-kilometer road-and-bridge network connecting Japan's main island of Honshu with Shikoku (the nation's fourth largest island), it spans six smaller islands in the process and features bike and pedestrian lanes for its entire length.

Hiroshima's Shimanami Kaido

The sublime scenery of the Shimanami Kaido (Island-Wave-Sea Route) runs from Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture down to Imabari in Ehime Prefecture.

Whichever way you travel, the views of the Seto Inland Sea National Park are sublime.

Cycling gives you the freedom to stop for a photo halfway across a bridge or detour to investigate lighthouses, shrines and natural wonders most automobile travelers zip past.

With 14 cycle rental terminals along the way, you can go at your own pace, spend a night at a campsite or inn or just hand your bike in at the nearest rental terminal and hop on a bus.

Some terminals even have electric bicycles for hire.

Experienced cyclists will be able to complete the entire route -- there are a few challenging spots -- in a few hours.

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