Seto Inland Sea, Japan
February 14th 2023
We headed off on a challenging cycling journey along the 70km Shimanami Kaido, a route connecting Honshu, the main island of Japan, to Shikoku, the country's smallest and least populated island. It spans six islands - Mukaishima, Innoshima, Ikuchijima, Omishima, Hakatajima, and Oshima - with six bridges as it crosses the Japan Inland Sea. But, as there was a bus to catch in the evening, we only had time to go across the first three islands before looping back, putting in a respectable 60km.
Our turning back point was at Kousanji, a museum that gathered a bunch of unusual temples, a cave full of buddha statues, and an art installation of white stone. The entrance fee was expensive (1500 yen), more than the Kyoto tourist-traps, but what else were we going to do.
The cycle back killed me a little. We hired electric-assist bicycles, and as great as that sounds, I did not feel all that assisted, especially with my camera bag hurting my back and the battery dying. The cycles up the bridges were incredibly steep, so I saved all of the bike's energy for those points. The ways down were pretty good though, letting you lean freely into curves along the secluded bicycle path. One stop off at Oyama shrine, where a bicycle-themed shrine lets you pray for good cycling luck, and we whizzed back for a much needed shower.
The colours of the trip were beautiful and tropical, a mix of white bridges, turquoise waters and green forests, but something about the day made me focus on textures.
Sadly, maybe the most enjoyable event planned in Japan could not happen. The boat above is the cancelled ferry to Aoshima, an island swarming with stray cats. We only found out it was cancelled after getting up at 4am, walking an hour, and getting a 1.5 hour train to the port. We extended our day, staying 3 nights total in Matsuyama to wait for good weather, but apparently it wasn't good enough. So, with the final days of Japan already booked, I have to say goodbye to that dream and instead wait at a cafe until my night bus at 11:30pm. I am still waiting as I write this. The next day will also be a night bus, f*ck.
My back is killing me so I have been researching new camera bags. As someone whose life is mostly fitted within one single bag, I think I can afford to spoil myself?