Aki-Nada Tobishima Kaidō is an ocean road that connects Nigata Kure-city (Hiroshima prefecture), Shimokamagari-jima, Kamikamagari-jima, Toyo-shima, Ōsaki-shimojima, etc. with, via 7 bridges, the Aki-Nada islands!
The bridges were built little by little before finally opening in 2008.
Each island has its own individual character and landscape, and though lacking much in the way of tourist facilities, the islands are very much worth visiting if only to travel the beautiful ocean road while enjoying the rustic island scenery.
Traveling along the ocean road, the foremost island you see is Ōsaki-shimojima.
During the Edo period (1603~1867), when maritime transportation around Ōsaki-shimojima was very active and boats had to wait for the tide, the port town of Mitarai flourished.
The town, Shio-machi, which carries the meaning of waiting at the port for the best time to sail by checking tides and wind directions, got its name at a time when sea journeys were more dependent on weather conditions.
With names such as Kaze-machi (waiting for the wind town), the Seto Inland Sea area is home to many places with ‘weather related’ names.
As maritime transportation declined in the wake of rail and road system construction, ports located far from these vital arteries lost prosperity. However, until recently Mitarai was still bustling because the only way to commute was by ship. Ranging from the Edo period, through Taisho, to Showa, for that reason the town still has many old buildings.
The old red post boxes, the clock shop, the theater, the shrine, Japanese style houses, mansions, white walls… The whole town looks like an architectural museum, but it’s great that many of the buildings are still used. The roads and alleys that spread out from the port are also old and interesting.
Since the Edo period, many people have spent time waiting at Mitarai town for a good tide.
In the same way as people of bygone eras, please take your time wandering around soaking up the atmosphere.
Ōchō, the town famous for Ōchō mandarin oranges is nearby.
Uzu shrine and the old town are well worth checking out! Why don’t you drop by while you’re in the area?
Formally known as Back Shimanami Expressway, Aki-Nada Tobishima Kaidō is an ocean road popular among cyclists along which the beauty of the islands can be appreciated.
While there is also a ferry to Ōmishima and/or Imabari from Okamura jima, it is also possible to move to Shimanami Expressway.