I came to Shikoku because I wanted to cycle off it. There is a 70KM cycle course that runs from the city of Imabari, over half a dozen islands on the inland sea via large suspension bridges and then connects back to the mainland of Honshū.
It wasn’t too far from Matsuyama to Imabari where the cycle course ( the Shiminami Kaido) began, only 60km but I wanted to spend the whole day on the crossing. I took a leisurely pace leaving Matsuyama in the morning and headed for a campsite not to far outside Imabari. This way I could spend the whole next day on the cycle route.
The road to Imabari was scenic and, I’ve noticed in the last few days of cycling, not as busy as other scenic routes have been since the holidays have ended.
As I was cycling towards the campground I noticed something I felt was a significant milestone for my time in Japan: it seems like rice harvesting has begun.
Cresting the last climb of the day I caught my first glimpse of the bridge that connects Shikoku to the islands of the inland sea: the start of the Shiminami Kaido.
There were a few people at the campground given it was a Saturday.