A spectacular drive through the Shimanami Kaido (a highway stretching from Imabari in Ehime to Onomichi in Hiroshima)
The Nishiseto Expressway is well known as the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido, running from Ehime to Hiroshima via nine connecting bridges. Discover sacred sites, works of art and places of scenic beauty in the islands of the Seto Inland Sea while enjoying an exceptional drive over bridges and islands down to Onomichi!
START
JR Imabari Station
↓Approx. 25 min by car
1

Towel Museum Ichihiro

A unique amusement venue located in Imabari, the Japan’s largest towel-producing town.
  • Towel Museum Ichihiro
  • Towel Museum Ichihiro
  • Towel Museum Ichihiro
  • Towel Museum Ichihiro
  • Towel Museum Ichihiro
  • Towel Museum Ichihiro
  • Towel Museum Ichihiro
  • Towel Museum Ichihiro
  • Towel Museum Ichihiro
This is the world’s first towel museum dedicated to the art of towel manufacturing. The unique museum has much to offer including displays of intricate traditional towels, works of art made from towels, an exhibition on the towel-making process, and there is even a garden area rich with seasonal beauty. The museum café offers pleasant lunches or afternoon teas and an enticing range of original goods and local products are available in the museum shops.
Approx. 30 min by car
2

Kurushima Kaikyo boat ride

Experience the tidal currents where the sea turns to rapids!
  • Kurushima Kaikyo boat ride
  • Kurushima Kaikyo boat ride
  • Kurushima Kaikyo boat ride
  • Kurushima Kaikyo boat ride
This boat tour delves into one of Japan’s three fastest currents, the Kurushima Strait. The 40-minute ride provides views of the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge (the world’s first triple suspension bridge), the shipyards of Imabari (Japan’s biggest maritime city), and islands once governed by the Murakami Suigun. The boat trip through the tidal currents becomes a white-knuckle ride more akin to white water rafting, and the swirling rapids are almost overwhelming! The tour features the uniquely thrilling experience of travelling through the rapids even with the boat's engine switched off!
Approx. 10 min by car
3

Kirosan Observatory Park

The most spectacular view on the Shimanami Kaido
  • Kirosan Observatory Park
  • Kirosan Observatory Park
  • Kirosan Observatory Park
  • Kirosan Observatory Park
  • Kirosan Observatory Park
  • Kirosan Observatory Park
  • Kirosan Observatory Park
The observatory park is located at the top of Mt. Kiro at the southernmost point of Oshima Island. The view from here is known as the most spectacular on the Shimanami Kaido. On fine days the view extends as far as Mt. Ishizuchi, the highest mountain in western Japan. In the evenings, views of the sunset and the illuminated Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge are exceptional. The observatory itself is unobtrusively located within the mountaintop and surrounded by trees to preserve the natural landscape. Along with the stunning views, the observatory is also acclaimed for its uniqueness of architecture.
Approx. 20 min by car
4

Murakami Suigun Museum

Experience the life of the pirates of the Seto Inland Sea!
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
  • Murakami Suigun Museum
The museum presents the maritime history of the Murakami Suigun, known as “the lords of the sea”, who were in control of the Seto Inland Sea during the Sengoku period. The exhibition includes precious documents on the history and culture of the Murakami Suigun and the Imabari area. Visitors can experience the life of a pirate by putting on a suit of armour or paddling against the sea currents while enjoying views of the rapids around the Noshima castle ruins and the Hakata and Oshima Bridges.
Approx. 10 min by car
5

[Michi-no-Eki] Hakata S.C. Park “Marine Oasis Hakata”

Enjoy a range of local salty delicacies!
  • [Michi-no-Eki] Hakata S.C. Park “Marine Oasis Hakata”
  • [Michi-no-Eki] Hakata S.C. Park “Marine Oasis Hakata”
  • [Michi-no-Eki] Hakata S.C. Park “Marine Oasis Hakata”
  • [Michi-no-Eki] Hakata S.C. Park “Marine Oasis Hakata”
Marine Oasis Hakata is a roadside station (‘Michi-no-Eki’) surrounded by a well-maintained beach and park grounds located at the foot of the Hakata and Oshima Bridges. The shop sells local specialties including unique products made with the local Hakata salt, freshly picked vegetables, and marine products from the Seto Inland Sea. You can also taste local specialities such as Shio Ramen at the on-site restaurant. Experience the pleasant sea breeze, catch the sunset over the bridges, and enjoy the incredible scenery! You can also see dolphins and whales at the nearby “Dolphin Farm Shimanami”.
Approx. 20 min by car
6

Oyamazumi Shrine

The shrine dedicated to the tutelary deities of the sea, mountains and martial arts
  • Oyamazumi Shrine
  • Oyamazumi Shrine
  • Oyamazumi Shrine
  • Oyamazumi Shrine
Oyamazumi Shrine is the oldest shrine in Ehime, the head shrine of approximately 10,000 Yamazumi and Mishima shrines across the country. A gigantic 2,600-year-old sacred camphor tree stands in the centre of the shrine precinct. The shrine holds many items designated Important Cultural Properties including the Honden (the mail hall) and the Haiden (the hall of worship) and time will fly by as you wander around this mysterious place. The shrine has been worshipped as home to gods of the sea, mountains and warriors and many military generals dedicated arms to pray or give thanks for military victories. There is a treasure hall with displays of these arms within the shrine precincts. It is estimated that the collection of weapons and armoury are 80-percent of the nation’s National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties.
Approx. 15 min by car
7

Tokoro Museum Omishima

The museum where every object is art
  • Tokoro Museum Omishima
  • Tokoro Museum Omishima
  • Tokoro Museum Omishima
  • Tokoro Museum Omishima
  • Tokoro Museum Omishima
Opened in 2004, the Tokoro art museum has about 30 collections including works by American-based Noe Katz, Tom Wesselmann, Giacomo Manzu (known for the 14-year project of the gate of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome), along with Japanese artists such as Norichika Hayashi and Takashi Fukai. In this museum, even the views of the Seto Inland Sea are works of art!
Approx. 2 min by car
8

Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari (TIMA)

An architectural museum complemented by its natural surroundings
  • Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari (TIMA)
  • Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari (TIMA)
  • Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari (TIMA)
  • Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari (TIMA)
This is the first museum of contemporary architecture in Japan. The museum consists of two buildings: the Steel Hut exhibits the works of the architect Toyo Ito, while the Silver Hut is the relocated and converted former residence of the architect. Inside the museum architectural models are displayed as if they were islands floating on the clear blue water of the Seto Inland Sea. In the dark-blue carpeted room round white cushions are set like clouds over the sea, visitors can make themselves at home and enjoy the displays and the exhibition space while sitting or lying down. Get taken away in this uniquely designed museum as you lose all sense of dimension and space.
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