Calling itself the world’s first bicycle-friendly multi-purpose space, the Onomichi U2 is now open for business. What makes the space special is not that it’s a hotel, café, bakery, restaurant and bike shop all in one, but that you can ride your bike through almost all the facilities. You can ride your bike up to the front desk to check-in, and then take your bike up to your hotel room, which is equipped with a bike rack. The café even has a “cycle-thru” lane so you can get your caffeine fix without ever getting off your bike.
The Onomichi U2 is trying to position itself as one-stop-shop for cyclists lured by the neighborhood’s Shimanami Kaido, a 70km bicycle toll road that crosses 6 bridges and 8 small islands to connects Honshu to Shikoku. (If you decide to do the bike ride you’ll want to read this guide first.)
But the hotel is also trying to cater to an art and design-savvy crowd as well. Situated on a site by the water and nestled between warehouses and cargo ship loading docks, the industrial building was designed by architect Makoto Tanijiri. The first thing you’ll see when entering is a large site-specific sculpture designed by artist Kohei Nawa’s Ultra Sandwich Project. It’s certainly a unique destination for an area that’s increasingly becoming an art and culture hub of Japan. For more on that you’ll want to head here.