Iki-ikikan is a Road Station with a restaurant, food stalls, restrooms, and a marketplace selling fresh, local produce. The name of this Road Station—Michi-no-Eki in Japanese— means “Exciting Hall”, and if you like fresh seafood BBQ, this place will certainly excite you. It’s located on Oshima Island next to the Shimanami Kaido highway, right beside the spectacular suspension bridge over the Kurushima Channel.
I passed this way by bicycle on a cold spring morning and I was glad to find a public toilet. Drivers on this route might also be relieved to learn of these facilities.
Road Stations are government-designated rest areas found along roads and highways in Japan. Besides providing places for travelers to rest, they’re also intended to promote local tourism and trade. Shops sell local produce, snacks, souvenirs, and other goods. The salient local produce on Oshima is seafood, and Iki-ikikan provides charcoal braziers, already lit for your convenience, and a very tempting selection of shellfish, squid and other goodies to cook on them. If seafood isn’t your thing, there are also sausages, meat, vegetables and rice balls. An outdoor area with bench tables is provided for BBQing, with plastic curtains and stoves for the cold season. In the warmer weather, the view of the fishing boats lined up on the dock with the bridge disappearing into the distance beyond is sure to result in a memorable meal. For those who aren’t sure exactly how to BBQ a ‘turban topshell’, there are staff on hand to help.
I was a little early for lunch, so I passed on the BBQ and got myself an ichigo daifuku instead—a plump, juicy strawberry in sweet bean pasted wrapped in a thin mochi skin. Hard to imagine until you’ve had one perhaps, but let me assure you, heavenly. I bought this in the souvenir and produce shop, which offers an interesting range of packaged food and drink, with a heavy emphasis on fish preserved in various styles. There’s also a spacious restaurant serving the usual things like noodles, set meals and curry rice.
When I asked my way in the souvenir shop, the lady gave me an excellent map of the island and kindly advised me (in Japanese) of the best route to take.