Welcome to Shikoku
The smallest of Japan's big four islands, Shikoku is often
overlooked by tourists for its lack of development. However, its
mountainous interior is a paradise for outdoor adventurers looking
to hike scenic valleys, raft down rivers, relax in hot springs, and
visit ancient castles and temples.
Shikoku is most famous as the home to the famous 88 Temples
Pilgrimage Circuit, a 1,000-mile (1,647km) route that loops around
the island, passing by 88 temples, and an additional 20 lesser
temples and shrines. An estimated 100,000 pilgrims each year make
the circuit, and while most travel by bus, some opt to trek the
route on foot, which takes roughly 60 days.
Despite its reputation as a Japanese backwater, there are
several cities on Shikoku worth visiting, including Matsuyama, home
to the Matsuyama castle and the famous Dogo Onsen hot springs;
Takamatsu, which has beautiful Edo-period gardens; and Tokushima,
site of the annual Awa-odori festival and close to the whirlpools
of Naruto. All of the larger cities on Shikoku have good
restaurants and shopping, though not on a par with cities like
Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo.
Shikoku's tourism industry is still small; however, many
travellers use this as an opportunity to see a more authentic Japan
that isn't focused on foreign visitors. Travellers willing to go
off the beaten path will find a holiday on Shikoku a richly
Information & Facts
Japanese is the official language. Most Japanese people
will have studied English at school, but few can speak it well or
understand what is said to them.
The currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY), which is equal to 100
sen. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and
stores, but most Japanese operate with cash. Cash and travellers
cheques can be exchanged in banks, post offices and currency
exchange bureaux. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday 9am to
3pm. Travellers cheques offer the best exchange rate and are best
taken in US dollars. ATMs do not accept all credit and debit cards;
only the international ATMs in post offices, airports and some
Local time is GMT +9.