Shimanami Kaido is a road that has become a holy ground for cyclists from around the world.
At its starting point on the Honshu-side (in Onomichi city, Hiroshima prefecture) there’s a facility complex called ONOMICHI U2 that’s targeted to cyclists.
The facilities are located in a renovated 70-year-old maritime warehouse that has “Kenei 2-go” written on it (officially “Kenei Uwaya 2-go” or ‘Prefecturally governed storage unit no. 2’), hence its current name.
From U2’s spacious wooden deck Situated next to Onomichi Channel, you can take your time gazing at the ships sailing by…
Right after entering the building, you can see “Giant Store Onomichi” on the right.
Inside the shop, Giant’s latest cross bike and road bike models are lined up.
As a wide variety of cycling wear and accessories are on offer, visitors can find all the goods and services they need.
The shop also offers a bike rental service, so even inexperienced cyclists or those who don’t have a bicycle can rent one and cross Shimanami Kaido. And as there is another Giant store at Imabari on the opposite shore, you can leave the bicycle you rented there after crossing (reservation required).
If you feel like taking a break, head a little further into the facility, to Yard Café. They offer “Setouchi Orange juice” made from a different variety of oranges everyday.
The orange varieties used on the day of our visit were “Harumi” and “Setoka”. Staff prepare the juice after you’ve ordered it, so it’s really fresh, and tastes like it, too.
In addition, the café has a ‘cycle through’ service counter where you can purchase food and drinks while still on your bicycle. It also provides light meals and drinks to go.
Those who want to enjoy a full meal, we recommend visiting “The RESTAURANT”.
Here you can enjoy dishes made with fresh ingredients from the Setouchi area.
This is the cured meat Bolognese made with Hiroshima-grown beef. You can enjoy the full flavor of the meat thanks to the curing and the fresh handmade pasta.
Restaurant recommendations include grilled dishes made with fresh ingredients shipped in everyday, as well as wine.
For those who wish to stay over in Onomichi, I recommend using HOTEL CYCLE, which is located at the back of the building.
Located in front of the hotel’s main entrance, Japanese artist Kohei Nawa created this impressive work of art called “Molecular Cycle”. Apparently it was made in the image of a cyclist who cycled up Onomichi’s hill roads and rode on the waves of the Seto Inland Sea.
Just like at Yard Café mentioned a moment ago, you can check in at the hotel while on your bicycle. A nice feature is that each guest room has a cycle hanger installed.
There’s a fully equipped repairing area where you can perform maintenance on your bicycle within the hotel. It’s really perfect for cyclists.
Lastly, how about picking up some original U2 goods as mementos of your fun trip?
The designs are lovely, so they make great souvenirs and gifts, too.
Though we haven’t introduced them this time, there are plenty of other fun facilities in Onomichi, such as a bakery that uses natural yeast, and a counter bar to enjoy the wonderful night views, among others.
Filled with the charm of Onomichi, how about a visit to ONOMICHI U2 at the holy ground for cyclists.
Address: 5-11 Nishigosho-cho, Onomichi city, Hiroshima prefecture
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Yumi Kobayashi
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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