Bus vs Local Trains In Ehime, Hiroshima And Okayama Prefectures - Part 1
The next battle between the bus and train teams takes place in Ehime Prefecture, with participants travelling across the famous cycling trail of Shimanami Kaido while completing tasks at checkpoints.
The bus and train teams battle once again, this time in Ehime Prefecture. They will race from Dogo Onsen to Korakuen in Okayama, one of Japan's three greatest parks. They are each given 10,000 yen to spend on taxis, ferries and renting bicycles over the two days. They must clear four checkpoints and the first team to reach the second checkpoint gets a bonus prize.
The race begins at 8.20am and the first checkpoint is Yoshiumi Ikiikikan, a roadside station on Oshima, the first island on Shimanami Kaido. It is about 52km away from Dogo Onsen.
The bus team goes to Dogo Onsen Station and decides to head towards Imabari City, the gateway to Shimanami Kaido. They enquire at the information centre and find out there is a direct bus to Imabari at 9.15am. The train team also goes to Dogo Onsen Station and takes an Iyotetsu tram to JR Matsuyama Station.
Shimanami Kaido links Imabari in Ehime with Onomichi in Hiroshima, connecting six islands with seven bridges. The famous cycling path is approximately 70km long.
The only road connecting the islands of Shimanami Kaido is a highway. The bus team is not allowed to take highway buses. So they decide that they will later walk along Shimanami Kaido to the first checkpoint, Yoshiumi Ikiikikan. They first alight at the Imabari Prefectural Hospital bus stop and then catch the 10.55am bus to Takabe, the stop nearest to Shimanami Kaido. It is about 8km away from the first checkpoint at Oshima.
The train team, meanwhile, reaches JR Matsuyama Station and waits for about 20 minutes before catching the Imabari-bound train at 9.35am. They alight at Hashihama Station and walk to Sunrise Itoyama, where they can rent bicycles, costing 3,100 yen per adult. They then cycle to Oshima and plan to return the bicycles at the Onomichi shop, which closes at 7pm.
The bus team arrives at Oshima first at 12.15pm but then sees the train team on bicycles. The train team quickly passes the bus team and reaches the checkpoint ahead of them. Yoshiumi Ikiikikan, a roadside station with a spectacular view of Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge, is a popular spot for charcoal-grilled dishes made with fresh seafood from the Seto Inland Sea. The teams’ mission here is to eat and guess the seafood from Ehime Prefecture that impressed haiku poet Masaoka Shiki. They must choose from among 20 types of seafood available at the store.
The bus team finally arrives at the roadside station but ironically, ends up completing the mission here first. The second checkpoint is a facility called Shimanami Roman on Ikuchijima Island. It is three islands away from Oshima and people would usually take a ferry from Tomoura Port. So the team will take a bus at 1.45pm to Tomoura Port and then the 3pm ferry to Iwagijima, the neighbouring island of the checkpoint. They arrive at Iwagijima at 3.35pm and plan to switch to a fixed-route bus to head to Okogi Port.
Twenty minutes after the bus team leaves the roadside station, the train team finally completes the mission at Yoshiumi Ikiikikan, correctly guessing sea bream as the seafood item that Masaoka Shiki loved. They must now cycle 30km to get to Ikuchijima Island, travelling across four different islands.
1) Sea bream is a must-try item when visiting Ehime Prefecture
2) Shimanami Kaido is one of Japan’s most famous cycling routes