Biking in Itoshima – Sunset Road and Cafes by the Sea

I’ve been living in Fukuoka for over two years and have found one of my favorite activities: biking by the sea in Itoshima!

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Why Biking in Itoshima is the Best

1. Location – Itoshima is located just far enough away from the central city that it feels like a getaway whenever I visit. It only takes an hour to get to on the subway so it is super convenient for those even without a car. Because of this, planning for a trip can be done quite easily and packing is a breeze!

2. Close to Nature – Being distant from the city, there are fewer people and much more nature to enjoy. Riding by the water, zooming next to mountains, and passing by flowing fields of rice and wheat is medicine for the soul. The landscape lends itself to stunning sunsets and many picturesque views as well.

3. Cafes and a feeling of “not Japan” – There are many cafes that dot the seaside road making it a great place for adventure-loving foodies. Foods like jerk chicken, gelato, and pizza combined with palm trees that sway in the wind transform Itoshima into a place that feels refreshingly “not Japan”.

If you have time for a weekend trip or even a quick day trip, biking in Itoshima is a great activity to choose. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to make the most of your next cycling trip in Itoshima!

Table of Contents

Renting Bikes

While it is possible to bike from Fukuoka City to Itoshima – see this video for what it’s like – I usually take the subway to Chikuzen Maebaru station and rent my bike once in the city.

Here are several convenient options for renting a bike if you don’t bring your own set of wheels.

Tourist Information Center

The Tourist Information Center is located just outside of Chikuzen Maebaru Station. They recently updated their bike rental program so you can now make reservations ahead of time online. You have to make an account with the system, but once done, bikes can be reserved on your desired day. They have both cross bikes and e-bikes from 900-2,000 yen depending on the duration of the rental.

Bikes can be picked up starting from 9 am and must be returned by 5 pm. The center can hold on to your luggage for a small fee and there are several maps of Itoshima inside so it’s a good place to stop by regardless if you’re renting or not.

Accommodation Bikes

If you are planning to stay overnight in Itoshima (recommended if you want to stay for the sunset), then you can check if your accommodations have rental options as well. I’ve stayed at and rented bikes from both Guesthouse TOMO and Itoshima Guesthouse Kotohana before and had great experiences.

Biking in Itoshima – 3 Routes

There are large circular courses in Itoshima that take you by the sea, past farm fields, and around many cafes. Customize your trip by choosing which food spots and shops to visit along the way (I’ve listed a few favorites below). If you are adventurous and looking to do extra activities like hiking, surfing, or sightseeing, you can add these in as well.

These routes can be done clockwise or counterclockwise. Google Maps works great in this area, so pop in the places you want to visit you should be good to go.

Route 1: Futamigaura Beach – Shorter Loop

About 26km

This is my favorite route as it has a lot of neat spots along the way, is relatively flat, and has Itoshima’s scenic wedded rocks and Sakurai Shrine as destination highlights. On this route, enjoy seeing the best of Itoshima: Mt. Kaya in the distance, the pristine blue waters, fields of rice and wheat, and a plethora of food stops to visit.

Note: there is very little shade along the route so take care to protect yourself from the sun during the ride, especially in the summer.

Start: Chikuzen Maebaru Station

From Chikuzen Maebaru Station, head North West towards the water. The first part of the ride takes you through some residential areas and farmlands, but sidewalks (shared with pedestrians) make it easy to bike comfortably.

Mt. Kaya

During this portion of the ride, enjoy the great views of Mt. Kaya on the left and Mt. Hiyama on the right. Don’t forget to stop for a photo shoot!

Surf Spots

Once you hit the ocean (A on the map above), turn right and continue along the coast. You’ll be able to spot many surf areas along the way as Itoshima is a popular surf destination.

Hinode Cafe

Hinode is a small restaurant close to a popular surf spot. There is a nice deck you can relax on while you cool off with ice cream or a Japaneseified taco.

London Bus Cafe

You’ll know you’ve arrived at the London Bus Cafe once you reach a huge red bus next to the pathway. The specialty here is gelato, so get a scoop (or two), and enjoy it inside the big bus.

After the London Bus Cafe, the path will take you away from the sea for a while. Don’t worry, you’ll be back by the water in no time!

Thalia Coffee Roasters

If you’re craving coffee at this point, this is your chance to get a nice cup at Thalia Coffee Roasters, a popular spot for bikers.

After reaching the intersection with a bright blue building across the street (Muncha Itoshima), turn left and continue up the small incline. (Spot B)

Tsumandego Tamago shop, Tumandegoran Cakery, and the Uovo Cafe Farmhouse

While I’ve never stopped at the Tsumandego Tamago shop, Tumandegoran Cakery, or Uovo Cafe Farmhouse, every time I pass by, they are full of customers and look interesting to try out. Specialties here are fresh eggs and rolled cakes.

Bistro&Cafe TIME

Once you reach the water again, you can stop for a meal at Bistro&Cafe TIME.

The inside of this cafe is quite small, but they have outside patio seating right by the beach. Foods to try are their desserts and lunch sets.

TF Surf Shop

Continue along the water and you’ll come by TF Surf Shop. Here they offer surf lessons as well as SUP and SUP Yoga.

If you have the energy, you can do both biking and a water activity on the same day! (It was a bit tiring, but I had a lot of fun! See the video here).

Inquiries and reservations for the different lessons can be made from TF Surf Shop’s website.

Halfway: Futamigaura Beach / # Jihangun Itoshima Parking Lot

Futamigaura Beach and Sakurai Shrine

Zoom down the hill and you’ll finally see the main destination, Futamigaura Beach, and the all-white torii gate in the water! Stand in line to get a picture of the gate framing the wedded rocks.

Sunset on a clear day is phenomenal to see. Note that it gets very dark quickly and some bike rentals may not accept returns this late.

Beach Cafe SUNSET

One of my favorite places to eat near the beach is Beach Cafe SUNSET. Choose a spot on the wooden deck that faces the ocean while you sit back and relax with tropical drinks and dishes like jerk chicken and loco moco.

A popular photo spot is located right outside of the restaurant, across the road.

Angle Wing and #Jihangun Itoshima Parking Lot

Continue a little further down the road and you’ll find the Angel Wing photo spot and #Jihangun Itoshima Parking Lot, both places which are prime spots for photo-taking purposes.

At this point, you can continue along the path to complete the longer bike loop (detailed in Route 2 below) or head back the way you came.

Near the intersection with the Blue Cafe (spot B on the map), you can take a slightly different route back to Chikuzen Maebaru station.

End: Chikuzen Maebaru Station

You’ve made it back to Chikuzen Maebaru Station, congratulations! For things to do around the station, see the section below.

Route 2: Futamigaura Beach – Longer Loop

About 30km

This loop actually isn’t too much longer compared to the route above, but it has more hills and narrow paths. Since the great scenery can be enjoyed on Route 1, I usually stick to that, but this is a good option for those wanting to visit the popular Palm Tree Swing Park and Sunflower Cafe.

Start: Chikuzen Maebaru Station

Follow the same route above to get from Chikuzen Maebaru Station to Futamigaura Beach and the #Jihangun Itoshima Parking Lot.

Halfway: Futamigaura Beach / # Jihangun Itoshima Parking Lot

From the #Jihangun Itoshima Parking Lot, continue the loop eastward. You will move away from the water during this section of the ride as you cut across the Northern part of Itoshima.

Palm Tree Swing Park

Palm Tree Swing Park – Once you are back on the road next to the ocean, you will come across a little park where swings have been made using the tall palm trees. This park is usually quite crowded, but you can take some artistic photos at this spot.

There is a popular seafood restaurant here called Zauo.

Sunflower Cafe

Perched right by the water, the Sunflower Cafe is another perfect spot to visit if you want to enjoy a meal over scenic water views. They serve fruity drinks, smoothies, pizza, and pasta. (The salad pizza is as weird as it sounds.)

End: Chikuzen Maebaru Station

From the Sunflower Cafe, it is about 40 minutes back to Chikuzen Maebaru Station. The last part of the route is back in the city so be careful of cars along the way.

Congratulations, you’ve completed the Itoshima Cafe and Seaside biking loop! Hopefully, your belly is full and the exercise was enjoyable. If you are looking for things to do near the station, check out the section below.

Route 3: Keya Beach – Loop

About 24 km

While this route doesn’t take you to Itoshima’s famous Futamigaura Beach and Wedded Rocks, it brings you to the lovely Keya Beach where you can enjoy the water and surrounding activities like hiking Mt. Tateishi and taking a boat ride to Keya no Oto.

If you are traveling during the winter, stop by the famous oyster huts for an exciting grill-it-yourself seafood meal!

Start: Chikuzen Maebaru Station

Similar to the routes above, start at Chikuzen Maebaru Station and make your way Northwest toward the water. At point A, turn left instead of right to head toward Keya Beach.

Halfway: Keya Beach

Keya Beach is another wide beach that is a bit more secluded than Futamigaura Beach.

Mt. Tateishi

For a short hike, you can climb Mt. Tateishi which rewards you with magnificent views of Keya beach and the rest of Itoshima’s coast sprawled out below.

Keya no Oto

If you are interested in checking out Keya no Oto (the largest basaltic cave in Japan), ride the tour boat that leaves from Keya Fishing Port.

Hamayaki Shirahamaya

Itoshima is known for its great seafood, so if you are looking for lots of seafood to try, head over to Hamayaki Shirahamaya by the Keya Fishing Port. Here you can grill your own seafood on a charcoal grill at a restaurant that overlooks the sea.

Kishi Oyster Huts

If it is winter time, instead of the restaurant mentioned above, I recommend heading over to the Kishi Oyster Huts (spot B), for a unique Itoshima Oyster Hut experience. Here you will find oyster huts lined up next to each other, each offering grill-it-yourself experiences.

oysters on a charcoal grill, Itoshima, Kyushu

You can feast on kilograms of freshly caught oysters, and even bring your own drinks and condiments inside. Learn more about Itoshima Oyster Huts here or in the video below!

End: Chikuzen Maebaru Station

After visiting Keya Beach, the surrounding area, and the Kishi Oyster Huts (in the winter), make your way back to Chikuzen Maebaru Station to complete the loop. On the way back you will ride on the other side of Mt. Kaya.

Want to make an activity of the journey to Itoshima? How about biking there from the heart of Fukuoka City?

Along the way, stop by Fukuoka landmarks such as Ohori Park, Fukuoka Tower, Pay Pay Dome, and pass through many beaches. Check out this video for what it’s like to bike to Itoshima!

Shops and Cafes Near Chikuzen Maebaru Station

Cafe Anone

café あのね is a small cafe right by the station. Seats are limited, but if you can snag a spot, treat yourself to one of their sweets like this strawberry smoothie. It’s the perfect way to cool off after a bike ride!

Teddy & Daddy

In case you need a meal before or after the bike ride, Teddy & Daddy is a relatively new place selling delicious rice porridge soups.

Artistation Itoshima

artistation Itoshima is an art gallery that showcases items made by local artisans. Come here to see many handmade items including ceramic ware, washi paper, wood crafts, and glassware.

Itoshima Kurashi Kokonoki

Itoshima Kurashi Kokonoki is another small shop that sells locally made items as well as some baked goods. Stop by for some omiyage for yourself or others.

Other Things to Do in Itoshima

If you have some more time to spend in Itoshima, check out this guide for more activities to do during your trip.

If convenience is key and you rely on public transportation to get to Itoshima, staying near one of the train stations is easiest. If you base yourself near Chikuzen Maebaru Station, you’ll be close to the Tourist Information Center which rents bikes and can help with your travel planning. (Learn more about biking around Itoshima.)

Itoshima Guesthouse and Backpackers TOMO shared space
Itoshima Guest House and Backpackers TOMO

For cost-efficient dormitory-style lodging, I recommend Itoshima Guest House and Backpackers TOMO. This place has a nice downstairs area that comes with a cooking space. The staff can recommend different dining options during your stay.

For a private space near the station, I recommend Guest House Kotonoha. Here you’ll get a full living space plus a kitchen and bathroom to yourself. The couple that runs this guest house is very friendly and you can rent bikes here too.

Lcated near Kyushu University and the public bath, Ito no Yudokoro, is the hotel, settle Glocal Itoshima.

This hotel feels newer and more modern compared to typical Japanese business hotels and with an overnight stay, you get free access to the massive public bath facility across the street! I biked from Fukuoka to Itoshima and stayed overnight at this hotel which was equipped with bike racks.

Final Thoughts

Making the trip to Itoshima and spending a few hours biking along the farms and coast has been one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating activities I’ve done in Japan. It is simple activities like this that remind me how much I enjoy Fukuoka and the surrounding area. If you haven’t biked in Itoshima yet, make sure to add it to your next trip!

Here are some other biking trips and good places for an overnight getaway near Fukuoka!

In Okagaki, you can ride on the dedicated bike path that follows the sea and taste delicious seafood!

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