Shikoku, meaning “Four Kingdoms” – interesting island in Japan

Shikoku Island – the smallest of Japan’s four main islands – is famous as a pilgrimage land. During the pilgrimage to that traditional Buddhist land, believers will visit 88 temples located along the four prefecture of Kagawa, Kochi, Tokushima, and Ehime. The name Shikoku comes from the fact that this area once had four provinces – Sanuki (now Kagawa), Awa (now Tokushima), Iyo (now Ehime) and Tosa (now Kochi).

About the 4 prefecture of Shikoku

Kagawa (read more)

Takamatsu City in Kagawa is an hour by train from Osaka, this is the main border crossing from Shikoku to Honshu. Takamatsu has many attractive sightseeing spots. This place was voted by The Michelin Guide travel magazine as a place you should definitely visit in 2009 with the highest 3-star standard.

Kochi (read more)

Kochi is 2 hours and 20 minutes by bullet train from Takamatsu, adjacent to the Minami-Kaigan coast in southern Shikoku and the Pacific Ocean. Along the coast is a rich agricultural and fishing area. The west coast of Nishi-Kaigan in Kochi Prefecture was chosen as a national park with very popular scuba diving and whale watching activities.

Tokushima (read more)

From the Kansai area, it takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach Tokushima Prefecture by highway bus. About 40 minutes by train from Tokushima City is the Naruto Kaikyo Strait, a 1.3 km wide strait famous for its giant tidal eddies.

Ehime (read more)

Bordering Kagawa and Tokushima prefectures is the city of Matsuyama in Ehime prefecture, with the highest population density in the Shikoku region. It only takes about 15 minutes by limousine from Matsuyama Airport (MYJ) to Matsuyama Station, the prefecture with the closest airport to the Shikoku region.

Ideal destinations to visit

Shikoku is an area blessed with a warm climate year-round, surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean and the tranquil Seto Inland Sea. In addition to Dogo Onsen – known as the oldest hot spring in Japan, there is also Okobe-lya valley with poetic beauty. Everywhere in Shikoku still preserves festivals, castles, Shinto shrines and traditional cultural beauties that have existed for many generations.

Setouchi Shimanami Kaido Bridge, also known as Nishi Seto Jidoshado, is a car route with a total length of up to 60km, connecting from Onomichi city, Hiroshima – Honshu Prefecture to Imaji city, Ehime – Shikoku Prefecture.

At this distance, there are 6 large islands connected by bridges with different shapes, so this place is also called the Museum of Bridges – Hashi no Bijutsukan. The biggest feature of Shimanami Kaido is that bicycles and pedestrians can also cross the street.

If you want to see the beautiful scenery here, exploring the Shimanami Kaido road by bike or on foot is the perfect choice. The coastline here is diverse with small ports, fishing villages, salt fields and farms scattered on the slopes of the island.

The Naruto Strait Eddy is located between Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, and Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture. This is one of the three largest whirlpools in the world, formed by tidal fluctuations. In spring and autumn when the water is high, the whirlpool radius can be up to 20m.

You can stroll along the “Uzu no michi walkway on Onaruto Bridge” to see the whirlpool from above or observe the whirlpool from a closer distance with the “Naruto Whirlpool Observation Ship”.

Located on Naoshima Island in the Inland Sea, this is a place you can reach in 1 hour and 30 minutes, departing from Okinawa by train, ferry and car. This village has an elegant art museum whose architecture brings harmony to the island’s peaceful natural setting.

The old town on Udatsu Street has beautiful traditional Japanese houses from the Edo period (1603-1867). Walking through the streets, you will be amazed by the beauty of houses decorated with family symbols, elaborate woodwork and protective devils on the roofs.

Not only that, on this beautiful strip of land you can also find many of Japan’s best indigo fabric factories, with an artistic history thousands of years old.

The Seto Naikai Inland Sea is made up of three large islands: Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. The inland sea with its stunning scenery and mild climate is a beautiful, peaceful place. With an area of 8,200 km2, this place has more than 600 large and small islands.

Known as Japan’s oldest hot spring, Dogo Hot Spring has a history of 3,000 years. It has long been famous as a beauty hot spring with the effect of beautifying and smoothing the skin.

There are 3 hot spring areas: “Dogo Onsen Honkan”, “Dogo Onsen Bekkan Asuka no Yu” and “Dogo Onsen Tsubaki no Yu”. Among them, the Honkan (main building) built in 1894 has been recognized as a national cultural asset and is also said to be the model of the bathhouse that appears in the work “Spirited Away”. by Studio Ghibli.

Kochi Castle, is the only place in Japan that still preserves the entire main castle structure such as the main tower and palace. Although most of the buildings were burned down in a fire in 1727, they were later restored to their original appearance in the Edo period and are known as “South Kaido’s most famous castle”.

Matsuyama, Shikoku’s largest city, is 2 hours and 40 minutes from Takamatsu by bullet train or 1 hour by boat from Hiroshima or Kure. Matsuyama Hiro Castle was built before the Edo period, the observation tower still exists. This citadel was built on a mountain at an altitude of 132m above sea level.

A festival you must enjoy

Awa Odori is one of the three largest Obon dance festivals in Japan, with a history of more than 400 years. Every summer, the Obon dance festival is held all over Tokushima Prefecture. The main festival attracts more than 1 million domestic and foreign visitors and is held in downtown Tokushima from August 12 to 15 every year.

During the festival, men will wear Happi (short coat often worn during festivals), women will wear colorful kimonos and straw hats to dance and parade. You can hear the sounds of Shamisen, Taiko drums, flutes and other musical instruments everywhere, and groups of “ren” dancers will parade all over the streets.

Must try dish

More: 15 must-try Japanese foods

Sanuki Udon noodles are a typical Kagawa dish known throughout Japan. There are more than 800 shops selling this dish throughout Kagawa Prefecture, attracting countless tourists who come here just to enjoy this famous dish.

Image Source: Visit Kochi Japan

Kochi is famous for being Japan’s leading prefecture in consumption of Bonito. There are many shops here that serve dishes made from Bonito. The most common way to eat it is to dip it with spices, instead of soy sauce, you can sprinkle a little salt. However, there are also many people who love tataki, a dish made from Bonito meat seared on straw and served with spices such as onions and ginger.