Among the Geiyo archipelago of islands clogging the Inland Sea between Onomichi and the northwest coast of Shikoku, IKUCHI-JIMA (生口島) and ŌMI-SHIMA (大三島) are both worth a visit. Of the two, Ikuchi-jima is the place to stay and has the best attractions, including Kōsan-ji, a dazzling, kaleidoscopic temple complex, and the exquisite Hirayama Ikuo Museum of Art. Its sun-kissed citrus groves, attracts plenty of tourists each summer to its palm-fringed beaches, in particular the sweeping man-made Sunset Beach on the west coast. The island can comfortably be toured by bicycle in a day, as can the islet Kōne-shima, which is linked by bridge to Ikuchi-jima’s main settlement, the quaint Setoda (瀬戸田) on the island’s northwest coast. Around the island, look out for the fourteen bizarre contemporary outdoor sculptures, including a giant saxophone and a stack of yellow buckets, which form part of Ikuchi-jima’s “Biennale” modern art project.

While part of the fun of visiting these islands is the ferry ride there, you can also get to Ikuchi-jima by bus or bicycle from Onomichi along the Shimanami Kaidō. Both islands are best explored by bicycle.

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