Shikoku - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Shikoku

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 rewarding experience.


Information & Facts

Language
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.
Money

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 major stores.

Time
Local time is GMT +9.
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