Imabari-Saijo Hot Springs Cycling Course Imabari-Saijo Hot Springs Cycling Course

Imabari-Saijo Hot Springs Cycling Course

Imabari-Saijo Hot Springs Cycling Course

【60.7 km】Tour a hot spring region straddling Imabari and Saijo Cities

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Route Introduction

Imabari-Saijo Hot Springs Cycling Course

This 60.7 km circuit loops its way around Imabari City and Saijo City, tracking a course through hot spring resorts such as Yunoura Onsen and Nibukawa Onsen. Even beginners can relax and enjoy this trail which features a mix of gently-sloping national routes in urban areas and mostly flat local roads that ramble through mountain hamlets.

In the first half of the course you’ll encouter the Towel Museum, a popular photography spot, followed by the Nibukawa Gorge, a prefectural natural park. Although mountain roads make up part of this half, the slopes are relatively gentle, and roadside rest areas and day-trip onsen facilities provide plenty of opprtunities to rest en route.

The second half of the trail is dotted with locations where you can enjoy delicious Ehime cuisine including yakibuta tamago meshi (grilled pork and fried egg on rice) and mikan daifuku (soft rice cakes containing a whole mandarin encased in sweet white bean paste).

TOTAL 60.7 km

Highlights

Route attraction

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【15.9 km】Towel Museum

【15.9 km】Towel Museum

Located in Ehime’s Imabari City, the Towel Museum is an art museum that represents the fusion of art and towels. It’s easy to while away an entire day in the museum, watching the towel manufacturing process and taking in the vast gardens and cafés. Amongst the wealth of things to see, one sight that has become famous for its shareability on social media is the wall of spools featuring 1,800 reels dyed around 200 colors. Why not pick up a towel from the gift shop for your ride, or as a present for someone back home?

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【43.3】Saisai-kiteya

【43.3】Saisai-kiteya

Visit the vast Saisaikiteya indoor famer’s market for fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables, meats and fish. Inside you’ll find a mix of locals doing their day-to-day food shopping, and tourists who are there to sample local cuisine at the restaurant and café located in the building. The menus are seasonal, but the tarts loaded with strawberries, figs, or other locally-produced fruit are particularly popular.
The name of the shop means “You’re welcome any time” in Ehime’s local dialect, and this seems fitting given that you’ll want to return again and again to sample the seasonal produce.

Now you know, so let’s go

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SPOT 1

Imabari Yunoura Onsen roadside station

Imabari Yunoura Onsen roadside station

This spot makes the perfect base for cycling the circuit through Imabari and Saijo Cities. In addition to local product vendors, restaurants, and an information center, the building also houses a bicycle rental counter. Please note that if you do rent a bicycle here, you will not be able to return it at another location. Once you have visited the information center for the latest sightseeing info, it’s time to embark on your cycling adventure.

Address
252-2 Nagasawa-ko, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-1527
Phone
0898-47-0990
Hours
9:00 am–6:00 pm (summer hours: 8:30 am–6:30 pm)/ Open year round

SPOT 2

Kyukamura Setouchi Toyo (Seaside campground)

Kyukamura Setouchi Toyo (Seaside campground)

Drop in at this resort facility nestled amidst the stretch of picturesque sand dunes and pine groves lining the shores of the Seto Inland Sea. Climb the hill to the main hotel building and onsen for panoramic views out over the Inland Sea or descend to the base of the hill for the seaside campground situated a convenient one-minute walk from the beach. The campground is not to be missed during the holiday season when guests can enjoy barbeques, beach play, and swimming (summer only). You will be happy to hear that items such as tents and cooking equipment are available for rent, meaning you can show up empty handed.

Address
Kawarazu, Saijo-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-1303
Phone
0898-48-0311
Hours
Hotel: Check-in: 3:00 pm–9:00 pm, Checkout: by 10:00 am; Large public bath: 11:00 am–3:00 pm (campground users: 6:00 pm–8:00 pm); Campground: Check-in: 1:00 pm–8:00 pm, Checkout: by 11:00 am

SPOT 3

Towel Museum

Towel Museum

Located in Ehime’s Imabari City, the Towel Museum is an art museum that represents the fusion of art and towels. It’s easy to while away an entire day in the museum, watching the towel manufacturing process and taking in the vast gardens and cafés. Amongst the wealth of things to see, one sight that has become famous for its shareability on social media is the wall of spools featuring 1,800 reels dyed around 200 colors. Why not take a photo as a reminder of your journey?

Address
2930 Asakurakami-ko, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-1607
Phone
0898-56-1515
Hours
9:00 am–5:30 pm (Last entries to fee-charging gallery at 5:00 pm) Closed: Occasionally during January

SPOT 4

Nibukawa Gorge

Nibukawa Gorge

Designated a prefectural natural park, the entire stretch of the Nibukawa Gorge offers stunning views. You’ll find yourself transfixed by the flow of the clear water that owes it’s purity to the pristine forests of the gorge!
Cyclists will be happy to know that the cycling path is smooth and well maintained with rest stops dotted here and there. If you tune in to the murmuring of the stream and birdsong, it’s sure to be a restful stretch.

Address
Tamagawa-cho Nibukawa, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture

SPOT 5

Nibukawa Seseragi Koryukan

Nibukawa Seseragi Koryukan

This is an ideal spot to rest your tired body after cycling the mountain paths along the Nibukawa Gorge. In addition to the hot-springs that are open to casual visitors, there is a cafeteria selling light meals. Stretch out your legs and soak in the large bath at this onsen known as “beautifying waters” for its skin-smoothing properties.

Address
218-1 Tamagawa-cho Nibukawa-ko, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture 794-0121
Phone
0898-55-4477
Hours
Onsen facilities: 10:30 am–9:00 pm (last entry 8:30 pm); Cafeteria: 11:00 am–2:30 pm Closed: second/fourth Mondays (or the following day when Monday is a public holiday), and Dec. 31–Jan. 1

SPOT 6

Giant Store Imabari

Giant Store Imabari

Giant Store is a sports cycle specialty store located in JR Imabari Station. Here you’ll find showers, an internet lounge, lockers for hand luggage, and other facilities catering to cyclist needs. It’s not only a great base for cycling, they also offer a good range of bicycle safety checks and maintenance services, making it a great place to head for in the unlikely event that your bicycle malfunctions.

Address
1-729-8 Kitahorai-cho, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture 794-0028
Phone
0898-25-1175
Hours
9:00 am–7:00 pm Closed: Tuesdays

SPOT 7

Imabari Towel (Imabari Kokusai Hotel Branch)

Imabari Towel (Imabari Kokusai Hotel Branch)

Around a five-minute ride from Giant Store Imabari, the Imabari Kokusai Hotel—something of a landmark in Imabari—offers not only accommodation but also a wide range of restaurants and a shopping mall. The first-floor shopping mall is home to both a well-established department store and an official Imabari Towel store which carries only brand-name Imabari Towels that pass the company’s own quality standards. These towels, known for their excellent water absorbency, are perfect for mopping up perspiration during your ride. Feel free to park your bicycle in the bike rack near the hotel entrance and then enjoy a leisurely shop.

Address
Inside the 1F shopping mall, 2-3-4 Asahi-machi, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture 794-8522
Phone
0898-32-5533
Hours
9:30 am–7:00 pm (*10:30 am–7:00 pm during periods of reduced operating hours necessitated by Covid-19) Closed: Year-end and New Year holidays

SPOT 8

Hakuryu

Hakuryu

When you’re worn out from cycling and need an energy hit, try Imabari’s soul food, Yakibuta Tamago Meshi. The dish served at Chinese restaurant Hakuryu boasts a hearty three-egg topping on grilled pork and rice, and diners can choose between small, medium, and large servings depending on their appetite (the small size comes with two eggs). Here they temper the sweetness of the sauce, making gobbling it down the work of a minute.

Address
1-1-15 Gohon-cho, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture 794-0823
Phone
0898-32-8797
Hours
11:00 am–9:00 pm Closed: Thursdays

SPOT 9

Saisai-kiteya

Saisai-kiteya

Visit the vast Saisaikiteya indoor famer’s market for fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables, meats and fish. Inside you’ll find a mix of locals doing their day-to-day food shopping, and tourists who are there to sample local cuisine at the restaurant and café located in the building. The menus are seasonal, but the tarts loaded with strawberries, figs, or other locally-produced fruit are particularly popular.
The name of the shop means “You’re welcome any time” in Ehime’s local dialect, and this seems fitting given that you’ll want to return again and again to sample the seasonal produce.

Address
279-1 Nakadera, Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture 794-0840
Phone
0898-33-3131
Hours
Farmer’s market: 9:00 am–6:00 pm; Cafe: 9:00 am–5:00 pm; Restaurant: 11:00 am–3:00 pm Closed: Jan. 1–3

SPOT 10

Ichifuku Hyakka by Seikodo

Ichifuku Hyakka by Seikodo

Ichifuku Hyakka is a Japanese sweet store of long standing repute established in 1952. Stop here to reward your tired body with a daifuku sweet—seasonal whole fruit encased in white an (sweet bean paste), and wrapped in rice paste known as mochi. There is a wide selection on offer, but the deliciously juicy Mikan Daifuku, containing a whole locally-grown mandarin, is a popular favorite.

Address
3-4-5 Gozakurai, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-1523
Phone
0898-48-0426
Hours
10:00 am–6:00 pm Closed: Sundays and Mondays

SPOT 11

Asakura Midori-no-Furusato Park

Asakura Midori-no-Furusato Park

This park offers all sorts of playground equipment spread out over a large site. In particular, the artificial grass sledding track is very popular, especially with children. Other attractions include a moutain-shaped rope climbing frame and a trampoline, and people of all ages will enjoy themselves so much they will completely forget the time. Be sure to check out the panoramic views of Imabari City from the elevated areas of the park before you go.

SPOT 12

Shiki No Yu Beer Kobo

Shiki No Yu Beer Kobo

The elevated location of this hot spring allows bathers at Yunoura’s only day-stay onsen to look out over the Sakurai Coast, which ranks amongst Japan’s 100 Great Beaches. Visitors soaking in the open air baths can also enjoy gazing at the natural beauty of the seasonal flowers blooming next to the baths. Why not luxuriate in the baths and rest body and soul as the trip enters its final stage.

Address
26 Yunoura, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-1525
Phone
0898-48-0300
Hours
Mon.–Fri. 10:00 am–11:00 pm; Weekends 6:00 am–11:00 pm/ Closed: Thursdays

GOAL

Imabari Yunoura Onsen roadside station

Imabari Yunoura Onsen roadside station

Your journey ends where it began at Imabari Yunoura Onsen roadside station. Bicycles rented here cannot be dropped off at any other location, so please be sure to return your bike to this facility. Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten to pick up souvenirs en route. The stalls selling local products stock a wide range of items from Ehime, including the Imabari Towel brand. At the morning markets held on weekends, you can also buy produce such as Ehime’s high-grade mandarins at a very good price. You’ll find this is the ideal place to wind up your journey

Address
252-2 Nagasawa-ko, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture 799-1527
Phone
0898-47-0990
Hours
9:00 am–6:00 pm (summer hours: 8:30 am–6:30 pm)/Open year round
GOAL km

Kick off point for the route

Start Point

Imabari Yunoura Onsen roadside station

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    By bus

    Take the bus bound for Komatsu from JR Imabari Station (25 minutes). Just a short walk from the Yunoura Onsen Iriguchi stop.

    By car

    A one-minute drive from the Imabari Yunoura Interchange on the Imabari-Komatsu Expressway, or a 15-minute drive from the Imabari Interchange on the Shimanami Expressway

     

     

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