Shikoku is the smallest of the four major islands in Japan. It is located in the southwest of Japan. It is a beautiful and easily reachable (by JR Pass, bus, boat or plane) island with unique, scenic views. The four prefectures of Shikoku are Kagawa, Tokushima, Kochi and Ehime.

This region of Japan offers a traditional experience of Japan. In August, for instance, the Yosakoi Festival takes place in Kochi. It is a great event which has taken place for over 60 years, where traditional Yosakoi dancers dressed in traditional garments and accessories (such as naruko) put on a remarkable show.

Uniquely, Shikoku offers a more spiritual, religious experience too. The Shikoku Pilgrimage is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples. Historically, the pilgrimage was born from the trail that the Buddhist priest, Kukai, walked in 815 at 42 years old. Shikoku became a place of pilgrimage for his followers and is still popular today. Traditionally, the 12,000km pilgrimage is completed on foot and takes 30-60 days to complete. It is, however, acceptable for modern pilgrims to use other modes of transport such as cars, buses or bicycles as it is said that there is no ‘right way’ to complete the pilgrimage.

If nature and the outdoors is of interest, Shikoku does not come short of offering great sites and fun activities. The Iya Valley, one of Japan’s Three Hidden Valleys, has tall peaks that make for great hiking experiences as well as being home to traditional, authentic thatch-roofed houses. Autumn on Mt Ishizuchi (the tallest mountain in Shikoku), too, provides for great hiking, and in the winter for skiing and snowboarding. Additionally, the Oboke and Koboke Gorges are perfect for white-water rafting and canoeing. Here, the rapids are some of Japan’s biggest and most exciting, not only providing fun but also stunning rock formations and crystal-clear waters. Other relaxing outdoor activities include bathing in onsen hot springs, such as Konpira Onsenkyo.

Tours in Shikoku

Heartland JAPAN offers the following tours in the Shikoku region. Please have a look!

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