Cycling on Etajima Island

Bicycle-friendly infrastructure, accessibility by ferry and a mix of flat coastal roads and challenging climbs through a mountainous interior make the island of Etajima a great destination for cycling enthusiasts and novices alike.

Etajima Island in Hiroshima Bay is best known the former Imperial Naval Academy (now a JMSDF training school) located and its oysters and mikan oranges. In good weather Etajima offers beautiful views of the Inland Sea and has also some reasonable beaches. It is, however, first and foremost a working island. Majestic herons take flight from oyster rafts as crystal clear water laps sand strewn with all manner of debris. Mikan groves grow alongside shipbuilding yards. Swing around a corner to see a military firing range or a huge beached ship being pulled apart for scrap. The contrasts can sometimes be jarring, but for those in search of “real Japan”, a tour of Etajima is always interesting.

Getting there

Ride-on ride-off ferries from Hiroshima Port run to Kirikushi and Mitaka on the northern coast of Etajima in 25-40min. You can also take ferries from Kure’s central ferry terminal and Kure Portopia Park to Koyo Port on the west coast. Scroll down for ferry times.

setouchi cycle pass

Pick up a free Setouchi Cycruise (“cycle” + “cruise”) ferry pass at Ujina to take your bike on ferries to and from Etajima for free. The pass is valid for 3 days and can get you discounts on other Inland Sea ferry lines. You can get more information on the pass on this (kind of) English page.

Rental cycles

A variety of bikes are available for rent at Etajima’s ports & the Furusato Kouryukan Cycle Station near the Former Imperial Naval Academy between 9pm and 4pm. To guarantee your bike it is a good idea to reserve a couple of days ahead of your trip. However, if you go on a weekday (especially out of season) there is a good chance that there will be bikes available. It is also possible to have available bikes brought over from another rental point.

  • ¥1000 deposit + ¥500 (¥1000 for electric power assist bike). More details and photos here
  • Drop off at any rental cycle point (deposit forfeited unless returned to same place).
  • Reservations 2 days in advance requested on 0823-42-4871[ja].

Getting around

Follow the blue line

Many road signs are written in roman characters. Get a grasp of the port names and follow the (sometimes intermittent) blue cycle line and you should be fine. We suggest using our map in conjunction with the Japanese “Cycle island Etajima” map available at Ujina Port.

cycle island map

A word about fueling

Etajima’s cycle maps and brochures highlight several places to eat, but it pays to plan on an early lunch as they often sell out – the great sashimi lunches at Umibe-no-shinsen-ichiba seafood market and tofu udon noodles at Sakura in particular. Eating at local establishments will always enhance a trip, but it is worth packing some emergency provisions just in case. Or, there are several markets and convenience stores on the island too.

Port Names

  • Kirikushi 切串港 (bicycles OK)
  • Kouyou 小用 (bicycles OK)
  • Mitaka 三高 (bicycles OK)
  • Nakamachi 中町 (no bicycles)
  • Takata 高田 (no bicycles)
  • Akitsuki 秋月 (no bicycles)

 

 

Ferry schedules

Ujina 宇品 → Kirikushi 切串 (30min)
Adult ¥460 12 and under ¥230 Bicycle ¥190
07:10, 07:40, 08:10, 08:40, 09:20, 10:00, 10:40, 11:20, 12:00, 13:30, 14:10, 14:50, 15:30, 16:10, 16:50, 17:30, 18:05, 18:40, 19:20, 20:00, 20:45, 21:30 (except Sun & Hols)

Kirikushi 切串 → Ujina 宇品 (30min)
Adult ¥460 12 and under ¥230 Bicycle ¥190
06:40, 07:10, 07:40, 08:10, 08:40, 09:20, 10:00, 10:40, 11:20, 12:00, 13:30,14:10, 14:50, 16:10, 16:50, 17:30, 18:05, 18:40, 19:20, 20:10, 20:55, 20:55 (except Sun & Hols)

Ujina 宇品 → Mitaka 三高 (approx 40min)
Adult ¥680 12 and under ¥340 Bicycle ¥220
06:55 07:30 08:25 07:30 08:25 09:00 09:55 11:10 12:40 13:25 14:55 15:55 17:05 18:00 18:35 19:30 20:05 21:00

Mitaka 三高 → Ujina 宇品 (approx 40min)
Adult ¥680 12 and under ¥340 Bicycle ¥220
06:55 07:30 08:25 09:00 09:55 11:10 12:40 13:25 14:55 15:55 17:05 18:00 18:35 19:30 20:05 21:00

Ferry times do fluctuate, you can check in Japanese here. If the times have changed or there’s anything missing from this post that you think would benefit other readers let us know in the comments below or mail us here.

 

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.

3 thoughts on “Cycling on Etajima Island

  • May 4, 2015 at 8:00 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for all of the great information!

    Some tips that I found out today:

    They have the cycling maps at Kirikushi Port as well as Ujina.

    It’s better to stick to the official cycling routes. I found myself riding through tunnels and on narrow roads when I didn’t.

    The official routes were generally smoothly paved, had wide shoulders or little traffic. The blue lines and “turn here” directions painted on the road made navigation easier.

    There are not many convenience stores on the island, so plan your fueling ahead of time. Vending machines were also sparse in places, so top up your water bottle early.

    The link above for the ferry times are for the Mitaka-Ujina ferries.

    For the Kikushi-Ujina ferries, look here:
    http://setonaikaikisen.co.jp/kouro/ferry/

    I rode from Kikushi to Mitaka, and in the last 10 there were some hills, so save some strength if that’s the route you take.

    Here’s the cycling map:
    http://www.city.etajima.hiroshima.jp/cms/files/uploads/cyclingmap_no04.pdf

    Happy cycling!

    Reply
  • May 6, 2015 at 9:06 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Colin

    Happy to hear this was a useful post and thanks for adding your tips.

    I think that link to the Kirikushi-Ujina timetable is for the high speed ferry which (as far as I’m aware, doesn’t allow bikes on). The normal ferry boat is run by a different company and the times can be seen here – high speed ferry times in red and the standard ferry in black

    http://setonaikaikisen.co.jp/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/09/2014kirikushi.pdf

    and here

    http://kamimurakisen.com/index.php?H26.9.24%E3%81%8B%E3%82%89%E3%81%AE%E6%99%82%E5%88%BB%E8%A1%A8

    Reply
  • March 23, 2016 at 11:27 pm
    Permalink

    If you want to see real Japan with a nice relaxing bike ride, this island “Etajima” is the one for that.

    I’ve kept going back there for cycling and I always enjoy nice interesting scenery such as Setouchi inland sea with lots of oysters, little cozy Japanese houses, farms and lovely flowers. Also you can have a look of Japanese Naval Academy if you are interested in. Actually this island is kinda big on a map but it has got such a great cozy atmosphere.

    Etajima has got quite few routes for cycling. I think Etajima is a perfect place for a day cycling tour! Well recommended! 😉

    Reply

Leave a Reply