Shikoku Vacation Packages
As Japan’s smallest and least-populated island, Shikoku is not often a priority on the itineraries of visitors to Japan. However, because of its less-developed character, Shikoku has a well-preserved natural landscape and many intact heritage sites. Spend a few days outside highly urbanized Japan to explore Shikoku’s villages, mountains and hilltop temples.
Ancient castles are common features of Shikoku’s landscape. The grandest looms over Matsuyama, the island’s largest city. Matsuyama Castle stands high on a mountain 433 feet (132 meters) above sea level. Reach the 17th-century castle by gondola and look out over the sprawling city.
Temples are scattered across Shikoku as well, holding important places in Shikoku’s traditional life. Annually, 100,000 Buddhist pilgrims make the 88 Temple Pilgrimage. Each pilgrim walks or drives around the island to visit 88 temples related to a legendary monk named Kūkai. Attempt to walk a stretch of the 750-mile (1,200-kilometer) trail or visit just a few temples. See Chikurin-ji Temple outside the city of Kochi, which features a five-story pagoda and a garden believed to have originated in the 14th century.
Trek into Shikoku’s interior to explore mountainous terrain. As the tallest mountain in Western Japan, Mount Ishizuchi rises 6,503 feet (1,982 meters) above sea level. Experienced hikers can climb it in a day.
The island-spotted oceans around Shikoku are worth discovering as well. Head to Imabari on the northern coast to access the Shimanami Sea Route. This 37-mile (60-kilometer) series of 10 bridges passes over six small islands and crosses the Seto Inland Sea to the island of Honshu. For a special treat, take a whale-watching tour from Kochi.
Beyond its robust heritage and traditions, Shikoku features excellent culinary specialties. Visit Tokushima for a bowl of Tokushima ramen or order the katsuo no tataki (seared bonito from local waters) anywhere on the island.
Fly into the international airport at Osaka and drive two hours to reach Shikoku. See a much different Japan from neon-lit Tokyo on this peaceful island.