Monday, November 18, 2019

さんわ (Sanwa in Ehime)

さんわ 伯方島本店

Forgive the iPhone SE photos. I was traveling light this time.

From Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture to Imabari in Ehime Prefecture there is something magical. The Shimanami Kaido is a dedicated cycling route. It crosses seven bridges, six islands, and enough scenery to warrant a nice camera.

Which I didn't bring.

The cycling route is around 60 kilometers in length. Personally, I found it very easy, though each bridge is preceded by a 1.5 kilometer, 7% grade incline. If this is tough for you, you'll have a challenge ahead. That shouldn't dissuade you, though. The bicycles are only about 1000 yen a day to rent, and you can drop them off at the end for a one-way adventure.

A Ramen Adventure! I'm loving the custom cycling jersey. In the center is my friend Mr. T, who runs a fishcake factory on Oshima, the island in the background. Dave is on the right. My college roommate and a great friend. Two other dudes didn't want to wear their jersey on the second day, so they don't get to be in the shot.

At around kilometer 45, you can make a detour to visit the area's most famous ramen shop. Sanwa is a no-brainer for me.

Local shio ramen.

Family-run for decades, they make a bowl that parallels the local Seto Inland Sea. Dried sakuraebi shrimp, slivers of local fishcake, and a light salt-based broth.

If you are doing the cycling route, keep in mind that this is a detour towards the later part of the cycling trip. People will be tired and possibly cranky. Forcing them to add ten kilometers is a tough sell. There's also a slight 75-meter elevation gain along the detour. Despite the constant views, it was a struggle.

If you do this route, I would suggest staying on Oshima at my friend's ryokan. It's here:

You could even take a ferry from near the ramen shop to Oshima, thus skipping the hill leading up to the bridge.

Official site here.