One of Japan’s newest design destinations is the charming coastal town of Onomichi, home to various innovative projects including Onomichi U2, Hotel Cycle, Minato no Yado, and the Onomichi Denim Project.

hotel cycle onomichi u2 japan
Onomichi U2

Until recently, Onomichi, which is located less than an hour from Hiroshima by train (and under 2 hours from Kyoto and Osaka), was best known as the starting point for the island-hopping Shimanami Kaido cycling route across the Seto Inland Sea.

Along with its cycling opportunities, Onomichi is also home to an impressively-high concentration of Buddhist temples, charming maze-like back streets, and a relaxed old-fashioned atmosphere.

onomichi local izakaya food japan
At a local izakaya in Onomichi

Now, thanks in large part to the 2014 opening of Onomichi U2 – a project by Onomichi-based DISCOVERLINK Setouchi and Hiroshima-based Suppose Design Office – the once-sleepy town is starting to attract design and architecture lovers from around the world.

Hotel Cycle Onomichi U2 Onomichi Japan
Photo: Tetsuya Ito / Courtesy of DISCOVERLINK Setouchi

Onomichi U2 and Hotel Cycle

Located on the Onomichi waterfront, about a 5-minute walk from Onomichi Station, Onomichi U2 is a renovated warehouse that is home to the cyclist-friendly Hotel Cycle, as well as a bakery, cafe, restaurant, bar, bicycle shop, and boutique.

Onomichi U2 renovated warehouse Onomichi Japan
Aerial view of Onomichi U2 (Photo: Tetsuya Ito / Courtesy of DISCOVERLINK Setouchi)

At the heart of Onomichi U2 is the 28-room Hotel Cycle.

Along with perks like cycle-through check-in, Hotel Cycle offers simple but stylish rooms featuring an attractive mix of modern design and local touches (including soft denim pajamas).

Hotel Cycle guest room Onomichi U2 Onomichi Japan
Photo: Tetsuya Ito / Courtesy of DISCOVERLINK Setouchi

While the town of Onomichi is worthy of exploration, you may be tempted to grab a book or design magazine and spend the afternoon over coffee or drinks in the beautiful Onomichi U2 itself.

Onomichi U2 shop and restaurant Onomichi Japan
Photo: Tetsuya Ito / Courtesy of DISCOVERLINK Setouchi

The on-site Butti (pronounced boo-chee) Bakery offers fresh bread and pastries based on local ingredients.

Pick up a treat and head over to the Yard Cafe – where you can linger over an espresso while looking out onto the waterfront – or make your way to the Kog Bar, which offers an extremely generous happy hour.

Onomichi U2 Kog Bar Onomichi Japan
Photo: Tetsuya Ito / Courtesy of DISCOVERLINK Setouchi

One of the surprise highlights of Onomichi U2 is the U2 Shima Shop, where you can find an eclectic variety of local products and select items, ranging from gourmet food and drink to denim and other fashion goods.

onomichi u2 shima shop local products
Onomichi U2 Shima Shop

For those planning to cycle the Shimanami Kaido, there is also a GIANT bicycle shop on site, where you can rent (and buy) high-quality road bikes.

Onomichi is one of Japan's newest design destinations, thanks to the innovative Onomichi U2 warehouse, Hotel Cycle, the luxurious Minato no Yado and more.
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About Andres Zuleta

Andres is the founder of Boutique Japan. Unlike a lot of travel companies, we don’t work from a cubicle!

In 2005, I first moved from New York City to Tokyo to study Japanese, and living in Tokyo changed my life, leading me to want to dedicate my life to helping others really experience Japan, the way I have been able to do so!