Cycling and Sailing Around Shima

Cycling and Sailing Around Shima

Blue skies, a gentle ocean breeze and panoramic views of the shore make for a fantastic cycling tour! Riding along the shore is perfect for beginner to intermediate cyclists who want to enjoy the beautiful Shima area! Crossing back and forth over the Ago Bay in a large “sea taxi” is the best way to enjoy the gorgeous views.

Written by Dan Lewis

-Author's Introduction
Originally from the state of Alaska in the USA, Dan Lewis is a long-term resident of Japan. He has lived in Mie, Ishikawa and Gifu Prefecctures, and currently resides in Nagoya, the capitol city of Aichi Prefecture. Dan is an avid fan of technology and nature - two areas that Japan is blessed with! He loves taking "the road less traveled" and discovering new places.

It was just before 8:00 AM and we had gathered in front of our hotel.  Two very friendly and easy-going guys, “Joe” and his brother, Natsuki introduced themselves as our guides. Along with the director, Mr. Oyama, they operate Bicycle Journey -ISE SHIMA- the best local tour company specializing in bicycle tours and rentals. (For further information on amazing day trips and bicycle rentals, check out their website at )

There was plenty of excitement as we got our bicycles and helmets and prepared to head out. “Joe” and Natsuki, who would be leading and following the group were making sure everyone’s seats and helmet straps were adjusted properly.  There were also additional support staff who would provide assistance should we need it. They would follow the group in vans. 

It was still fairly early in the morning, so the air was crisp and I was eager to get on my bike and start pedaling.  Some people had chosen electric assist bicycles and the rest of us had Bianci road bikes. They were so much lighter than my own mountain bike!  Between my own initial excitement and the declining slope we began on, the start was quick! We made our way through a couple of traffic lights and soon we were on a larger road that curved gently left and right.

After the first leg of our bicycle ride, we parked and loaded our bikes into the support vans to be transported to a nearby port. We got tickets to the “sea taxi” boat and took an amazing cruise around the bay.  I had experienced a cruise earlier in the week, but it was on a much smaller boat and I thought that the large boat was definitely the way to go!

Sitting on top of the boat, you can get a great panoramic view of the entire bay. With the wind rushing by and the sun on your face, it’s easy to get a sense of adventure and excitement. That said, be sure to dress for the current weather and season. Cycling makes you warm, but you’ll want to have an extra layer if you choose to enjoy the roof seats any season other than summer.  We passed the Mikimoto house and pearl farm that spread out over an entire beach.

We made a brief stop at another port before powering on much more quickly to our next destination. The boat ride itself is a lot of fun!

The next cycling leg was just amazing!  We rode along the shore for a few kilometers with a short break on the boardwalk for a group photo.  I thought it was a great place for beach activities or even a bbq.

Next was a narrow but beautiful path right next to, and just above the beach. It was like cycling in a painting. I would have loved for this to continue on much longer.  You can easily find great places for photos!

After a short climb, we stopped at viewpoint that offered amazing shots of the bay. Here, you can hang a seashell and ring a special bell to help bring love into your life. That’s what the AMA come here for.

We passed through a tunnel and headed down a hill, across a small river and soon on a road between rice fields leading to Kawaguchi Farms where we enjoyed some amazing melon. You can read about that here. (URL)  We left on a different road, and passed through a few more tunnels heading back towards town. It felt great coasting down the open road.

We boarded the boat again.  Going across the bay was absolutely amazing this time! Stunning views of the bay, mostly clear skies and the sun shining down was a perfect mixture of warmth tempered by mild ocean breezes. And although the nearly cloudless sky makes for great views, you’ll definitely want to be wearing some sunblock and a hat.

Now, much later in the afternoon, we arrived back on the mainland and headed out on cycles again, this time to visit a lighthouse. We passed through several residential areas and eventually reach a gentle hill. The hill continued. And continued. After awhile, it didn’t feel so gentle.  It was a long, hard climb if you don’t regularly ride a bicycle. However, according to those on the electric assist bikes, it wasn’t bad at all. Eventually we reached the top and there was one short stretch downhill to our next destination.

It was time for a short hike. 500 meters up to the top of a mountain where we would hopefully be able to enjoy a great view. Along the way, we had an informative nature walk guided by a local ranger.

Our climbing efforts were rewarded once we reached the top. A stunning panorama view of Ago Bay and the surrounding towns, villages, hotels and fishing areas spread out in front of us.  There was a light mist covering it all. Some of the others in the group continued on to where there were a few more viewpoints, each one higher than the previous, and all offering great views.

I decided to relax in the small cafe at the top of the stairs at this viewpoint.  I tried their sugarcane ice cream and it was the best decision I had made all day!!  After the long climb - both on bicycle and on foot, the sweet snack was the perfect compliment to the wonderful view of Ago Bay.

Yokoyama Tenku (Sky View) Cafe Terrace

Open 9:00 - 16:30, closed on Tuesday

WI-FI available.  Lounge area free to use.

Tourist attractions covered by this article