I’ve been traveling solo in Asia since the end of August and it’s been amazing. I have so many sketches to share with you, but I’ll start with a small but particularly great part of my journey: biking the Shimanami Kaido cycling route in Hiroshima prefecture in Japan. It’s a 70km / ~45 mile cycling path crossing through 6 islands in the Seto Inland Sea.
I started in Onomichi and went south, and the bridges spanning across the water got longer and more stunning each time. I was struck by how similar the landscape looked to the Puget Sound (a Japanese Seattlite I met there agreed with me). I wish we could have such a nice bike path in the San Juans - or please advise me if it exists already! The route was so easy to navigate, you just had to follow a blue line painted on the side of the road, and all the hills up to the bridges were graded so it was a very accessible ride for all levels. I saw hardcore cycling groups decked out in spandex, as well as people in day clothes casually riding.
The weather wasn’t the best for plein air, but I managed to fit in several sketches during the 3 days I took to explore the area. I feel like I just skimmed the surface here, even though I ended up biking 200 km (125 miles)!
|The bridge between Innoshima and Ikuchi Islands. This was maybe 1.5 hours of cycling from Onomichi, so I had a snack and sat on a retaining wall. I liked the contrast of the town cluster below the bridge, and the distant island hills.|
I’d love to come back to these islands for even longer - you could easily spend a whole month in this area. There are many “island explorer” bike trails branching off the main Shimanami Kaido route with small charming towns and clean, empty beaches. I was constantly torn between wanting to stop to sketch and document where I was, and wanting to continue to see what was ahead.