5. Hidden Beach 1
Our first hidden beach has no clear name but it's situated next to the crowded and popular Sunset Beach on Ikuchi Island. With a long stretch of white sand and a designated swimming area, this is the perfect safe swimming spot while avoiding the crowds. It's easy to spot along the cycling route, which makes this beach very easy to access.
Access: Cycle along the Shimanami Kaido route on Ikuchi Island in the direction towards Imabari. You will see the beach on your right just before Sunset Beach.
Kayatomari-hana is located along the Island Explorer on Oshima, which is the extended route for the Shimanami Kaido cycling route. Due to the toughness of the route, crowds are rarely seen on the beaches that sit along the route. However, some of the best beaches lie on the Island Explorer for the exact same reason. Kayatomari-hana is a somewhat rocky beach but it provides peace and quiet along with stunning views of islands across the water and the lush green backdrop.
Access: Cycle in the direction towards Imabari and turn right as soon as you complete the downhill path off Hakata-Oshima Bridge. Follow the Island Explorer route and the beach is located on your right.
3. Sennenmatsu Beach
This beach is slightly off any of the cycling routes on Oshima Island, but it's close enough to the final bridge crossing towards Shikoku that a detour is not too out of the way. However, do prepare yourselves for a steep climb into the mountains before you find this clearing. There is a hotel by the same name nestled just behind the beach and it is quiet enough to get quality quiet time to yourself here.
Access: Cycle towards Shikoku using the normal cycling route on Oshima Island. As you speed down the final steep road on the island, you will see the bridge you need to cross ahead of you. At the end of the road, turn left and you will see a sign that reads 千年松海水浴場. Follow the signs to the beach.
2. Kaigan Beach
This golden gem is at the very end of the cycling route on the Shikoku Island if you're staying at the Sunrise Itoyama hotel, a popular and convenient base of operations for cycling Shimanami Kaido. It is a little difficult to find but head behind the hotel and find a set of stairs taking you down to the beach. It's usually empty and the sun rises in the morning against the bridge that crosses the water provides a fantastic view. It's also perfect for relaxing after a long bike ride before you head to bed.
Access: Walk around the Sunrise Itoyama hotel to the back of the building and find the steep stairs heading down to the ocean. Follow the stairs and cross the large car park to find a small path leading to the beach.
1. Hidden Beach 2
Once again, this is a beach with no name attached to it on a map. This is by far the highlight of all the beaches along the cycling route and can be accessed through the Island Explorer route on Oshima Island. Take a small steep path just off the road and you will see a very small Japanese tori gate next to some stairs that lead you down to the beach. Deserted, with sun-kissed sand and plenty of space, this is the ultimate beach for anyone seeking some privacy to relax.
Access: Follow the Island Explorer route on Oshima Island and as you complete the steep climb and head to the bottom of the final mountain, you will spot a small road heading to your right. It's a very short and slightly steep climb that you can walk your bike to. Keep an eye out for the small torii gate which is your entrance to the beach.