create your own island family bike ride with outdoor recDanielle Hoffpauir | Community Writer
There’s something special about family bike rides that turn ordinary days into fun adventures. Maybe it’s the simple pleasure of the wind in your hair or the pride of watching your kids pedal their hearts out. It’s quality time spent in the fresh air and sunshine that makes for heartwarming memories.
Make your next family ride extraordinary by joining Outdoor Rec’s spring trip to Ikuchijima Island on May 25. The island is a small part of the Shimanami Kaido, the “blue line” 70 km bicycle expressway that touts stunning views across seven bridges and several islands in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. This family-friendly taste of the Shimanami Kaido is entirely customizable to your family’s riding level, meaning you can bike as far as you’d like and still partake in this iconic experience.
“This is a great trip for families because it’s a mix of biking and exploring so you get the best of both worlds,” said Nobuharu Murakami, Outdoor Recreation Specialist. “This is an excellent opportunity for families to enjoy the outdoors and beautiful landscapes in Japan. Our trips fill up fast, register with us one month in advance to take advantage of this exciting adventure.”
The day begins at 8 AM at IronWorks Main with transportation to Ikuchijima Island. The bus delivers the group to Setoda Sunset Beach at 11 AM to begin the adventure. From there, families are set up with all their biking equipment and encouraged to enjoy the day at their own pace.
It’s important to know that Ikuchijima Island is relatively flat and there is a stretch of dedicated cycling path that is wide, clearly painted green, and separate from the road making it accessible for families with younger riders to bike safely. This section is also lined with palm trees and offers unfiltered views of the sea for a beautiful cycling experience. Participants are expected to follow Japanese traffic laws and always wear a helmet for everyone’s safety. Helmets can be rented at Outdoor Rec for a nominal fee.
So how are you going to spend your day? Here are a few suggestions depending on how far you’d like to bike, each with its own style of fun.
About a 20 minute ride to the south is the well-known Tatara Bridge, which connects Hiroshima and Ehime Prefectures and was the largest cable-stayed bridge in the world at the time it was built in 1999. This elegant structure is a sight to behold and features dedicated lanes just for cyclists and pedestrians.
Insider tip: About half way across the bridge you’ll find a basket with two wooden blocks. This spot is known as Tatara nakiryu (narikyu means “roaring dragon”). When you clap the blocks or your hands together there, the noise echoes sounding like a dragon’s roar.
From Sedota Sunset Beach, head east towards downtown Sedota. It is a short ride and easy to venture off the path to explore the area with plenty to see.
Take a break from the bike and walk around Kosan-ji, a large collection of Buddhist temples that have been recreated from Japanese history with embellishments for truly one-of-a-kind structures. Or check out Hirayama Ikuo Art Museum, featuring the work of Hirayama Ikuo, a famous Japanese painter from Sedota known for his contemporary Nihonga style art.
Ride over to Shiomachi shopping street, described as rustic and filled with eclectic local shops and restaurants. Popular dishes include roast chicken, croquettes, and locally grown citrus, including oranges and lemons, for refreshing treats.
Hop back on your bike and venture along the coast just outside the bustling downtown to Dolce Ice Cream, known for delicious gelato and more stunning views of the surrounding sea.
Finally, don’t miss the Island-Wide Art Museum as you’re exploring. This 17-piece collection of contemporary sculptures around the island make for excellent selfie stops!
Loop Ikuchijima Island
For those with more experience and endurance, take the scenic route around Ikuchijima Island for a total ride of about 23 km. This coastal route passes through Sedota and follows the circumference of the island, alongside mandarin orange orchards for fresh sea views. It is important to note that, although the route continues to be flat with panoramic seascapes, part of it is labeled intermediate.
As the afternoon wanes, the group collects at 3 PM to make the return trip to Iwakuni, making for a day of about four hours of biking and sightseeing fun. With the bike rentals, transportation, and logistics taken care of by Outdoor Rec, it’s easy to focus on quality family time while exploring part of the iconic Shimanami Kaido for a truly memorable adventure.