The climax of my Shimanami experience was seeing the sunset at the the Kurushima-Kaiyōu Bridge (来島海様峡大橋). This bridge connects Ōshima (大島) to Imabari (今治) and is the longest suspension bridge in the world!
The Buildup- After 8 long hours of biking in the intense heat and up steep mountains, we still had not arrived at our destination. The sky was beginning to dim and we were worried about having to bike in the dark! Furthermore the last stretch of the Shimanami Kaido was full of ups and downs, it felt endless!
The Hope- Finally we saw a sign for the last bridge. The final bridge is also the tallest one, and requires you to bike up an incline of 75m! At this point we were already very tired, but knowing it was the last uphill gave us the motivation to push forward!
The Climax- After we made it all the way up the mountain, we were greeted by the most amazing sight. The sunset in Shimanami! It was perfect timing, as the sun was just about to set so we could watch the sky as it changed color from blue to magnificent gold and pink.
We were able to watch as the clouds parted and allowed the sun to peek through. Here you can see the reflection of the sun in the water slowly emerge as the sky brightens during sunset.
Biking a bit further, we were able to see a different view. Unobstructed by clouds, the sun was a perfect circle, brilliant red like the Japanese flag.
Seeing this sunset was definitely one of the most magical moments of my life. The feeling of the wind along with the smell of the ocean made me appreciate how vast the natural world is. I definitely gained a refreshing perspective from going on this journey!