Ehime Prefecture is home to the Shimanami Kaido, a world-famous cycling road that connects several islands in the Seto Inland Sea. Ehime is Japan’s forerunner in promoting bicycles, and its wide assortment of courses welcomes cyclists from beginner to pro. While cycling, you’ll be able to enjoy local food, hot springs, art and culture, and historical landmarks as you tour the breathtaking oceans, mountains, rivers, and forests of Ehime. Cycling Ehime is one of the best ways to see Japan’s truest colours shine.

The Best Ehime Cycling Courses

1. Shimanami Kaido

The Shimanami Kaido is a seaside road that connects several islands across a strait in the Seto Inland Sea. It was declared one of the best 7 cycling routes in the world by CNN, and was awarded a star in France’s Michelin Guide. The blue line takes cyclists on a route with low traffic and ample signage, while frequent facilities like roadside stations and the locally run Cycle Oases, which have free air pumps and water, promise a comfortable ride for beginners. There are also cycling terminals with accommodation and a stellar assortment of different rental bikes. Exploring the islands by bike grants access to jaw-dropping scenery, hidden local restaurants, and other gems that drivers whiz right by.

2. Ishizuchi Mountains Cycling Course

The 1,982 metre Mt. Ishizuchi is the tallest mountain in western Japan. It is one of the 7 Sacred Peaks, and draws in many worshipers with its powerful spirituality. Near the ridgeline runs the Ishizuchi Mountains Cycling Course, an exciting and enchanting cycling course that runs through rich nature and fresh mountain air. Spanning 150 km, the tight curves and steep undulation will put your strength to the test, while a diversity of vegetation at different altitudes, along with lush forests and pristine streams, will reward cyclists who tough it out.

The Kamegamori Line Town Road (UFO Line), which cuts 27 km through the Shikoku Mountains ridgeline, is considered one of the most scenic roads in the region. There’s also the Namegawa Gorge, a riverbed made of a single slab of rock polished away over time; Kazaana, a mysterious cave where blue poppies bloom, and more. Plus, you can take a break at Saijo City and enjoy a gourmet meal and soak in one of its many hot springs.

3. Oku-iyo Hiji River Cycling Course

This is a 62.3 km cycling course that connects several cities and towns along the Hiji River route, said to be where famous samurai Ryoma Sakamoto escaped Tosa Province, before passing through Ozu, nicknamed “The Little Kyoto of Iyo.” It starts from Nagahama Port on the Seto Inland Sea, and heads towards the dense wilderness of the mountainous Oku-iyo, but the route itself is fairly flat and easy, making it suitable for beginners.

Ozu is a former castle town home to charming old samurai residences and other treasured historical buildings. It was awarded top place in the Culture & Tradition division of The Green Destinations Story Awards ITB Berlin for its sustainable tourism efforts. While cycling, you can witness these innovations for yourself, all while bathing in day-trip hot springs, relishing fire-cooked mountain cuisine, photographing the magnificent Shikoku Karst plateau, and more.

4. Uwajima-Shimanto Terrace Fields Cycling Course

This 38.1 km cycling course starts from the mountains of Uwajima City, a coastal city that faces Kyushu, and heads east before running down a gentle slope following the source of the Shimanto River. It’s aimed at beginners, and follows the JR Yodo Line, letting you switch to the train if need be. On the way, you’ll be immersed in idyllic countryside scenery, including the beautiful clear waters of the Shimanto River.

The Yusumizugaura Terrace Fields, which consist of cascading stone walls on the face of a steep mountain, were selected as one of the 100 Landscapes of Beautiful Japanese Villages. The mountainous backdrop and the placid Shimanto River weave together a harmonious scene of blue waters, green riversides, and white sandbanks, complemented by submersible “chika” bridges, an essential part of local life. Also on the way is JR Matsumaru Station, which has its own natural hot spring with an open-air bath, as well as free footbaths, making for an excellent rest stop.

Ehime Prefecture

Ehime Prefecture is located in the northwestern part of Shikoku. It is blessed with abundant nature and diverse terrain, with the Seto Inland Sea to the north, the Shikoku Karst to the south, the Kyushu region to the west, Western Japan's tallest peak of Mt. Ishizuchi and 36 inhabited islands of different sizes making up just some of the highlights. It’s also full of culturally and historically significant buildings, including Japan’s oldest hot spring of Dogo Onsen and the towering Matsuyama Castle, and has long prospered as a serene paradise of fresh seafood and delicious mountain vegetables. Plus, Ehime is famous as a haven for cyclists, with fantastic facilities, access, and rental services making it a breeze to explore on bike. The Shimanami Kaido, which connects 6 islands via 7 large bridges over the Seto Inland Sea, is considered one of Japan’s best cycling routes. It’s a designated National Cycling Route, and was the first cycling route in Japan to cross over a channel, making it a hit worldwide.

Ehime Cycling Tours Are Now Available

Bike Odyssey, an Australian travel agency specialising in cycling, is running cycling tours showcasing the best of Ehime’s oceans, mountains, and rural villages. You’ll get to explore tiny islands dotting the Seto Inland Sea, mystical peaks brimming with spirituality, and charming retro towns packed with historical buildings. Check out Bike Odyssey’s tours to uncover the full potential of this dynamic cycling paradise!

Tour details here:

Visit Ehime Japan:
The Official Ehime Prefecture Travel Website

Visit Ehime Japan has all the latest info on the wonders of Ehime Prefecture, including its cycling routes, hot springs, historical towns, gourmet foods, and more. Visit the website to start planning your ultimate Ehime itinerary!

Details here:

The Official Cycling Website
of Ehime Prefecture

Ehime is home to the world-renowned Shimanami Kaido, a cycling road that connects several islands spanning the Seto Inland Sea. Throughout Ehime is also a bounty of untouched wilderness alongside unique local delicacies, hot springs, art, history, and culture. Please come and visit the cycling paradise of Ehime!

Details here:

Watch Ehime Cycling Videos

Cycling Shimanami 2022

*A cycling event held once every two years on the spectacular Shimanami Kaido highway, which is closed to traffic during this time.

Cycling Adventure

*A cycling course that runs over the Seto Inland Sea, up steep mountains, through the historical “henro” pilgrimage route, and between vast tracts of nature teeming with wildlife.