Dogo Onsen, one of the most famous onsens in Japan.©Ehime Prefecture / ©JNTO
The shape of this island somewhat resembles Australia, and the word ‘Shikoku’ translates to 4 (shi) provinces (koku). Shikoku thrives with beautiful nature and culture that has been protected over generations, giving visitors a feeling of comfort and well being. If you’re travelling to Tokyo or Kyoto to sightsee from Hiroshima, how about visiting the four provinces, Ehime, Kochi, Tokushima and Kagawa, as you travel across the Shimanami sea road into Shikoku?
Abundant with historic sentiment
Fresh Bream is used abundantly in Taimeshi ©Ehime Prefecture
Ehime, the birthplace of wellknown poet Shiki Masaoka, is filled with places that will bring out your sensitive side. Here you can see traditional houses lined up along the streets, experience the culture of atmospheric towns such as Uchiko, or visit Dogo Onsen, one of Japan’s landmark hot springs. Dogo Onsen, which was first mentioned in an eighth century poetry anthology, is one of the oldest onsen in Japan.
Relax your mind and body as you feel the nostalgia of traditional Japan. Seafood is a big part of the cuisine in Ehime. You should try ‘Taimeshi’, the local cuisine made up of sea bream sashimi placed over sea bream infused rice. Mikan mandarins are also well known in Ehime, and there are even places where you can enjoy mikan picking.
Hidden beauties surrounded by nature
Awa Odori Festival is held every year around August ©TokushimaPrefecture
Going down an exciting river is definitely worth trying ©TokushimaPrefecture
The magic of nature can be seen and enjoyed all throughout Tokushima, from the Naruto Whirlpool in the Seto Inland Sea to the secluded Oboke and Iya valleys, located deep within the mountains. If you have time to go sightseeing, staying a few nights in Oboke to soak up the forest atmosphere is highly recommended.
You can also experience river-rafting down the Yoshino River in the Oboke valley while admiring the surrounding mountains. During the summer month of August, you can also see the traditional Awa Odori Dance Festival that is held in the city.
Dancing together with the children will definitely become an everlasting memory. In the simple town of Iya, located deep within the mountain, you can learn how to make Iya Soba from the locals and taste the traditional flavour in the process.
Where nature and humans come together
It is enjoyable to walk around Kochi Castle ©JNTO
The clearest stream in Japan, Shimantogawa ©JNTO
Kochi, which faces the Pacific Ocean, is where many leaders of Japan such as the Shishi political group and Ryoma Sakamoto (who was very influential from the end of
Edo period to the Meiji Restoration) were active in the development of Japan. Their lasting effects can still be sensed through the nature and people. Why not visit the Shimanto River, known as ‘the last clean river in Japan’. The reflection of the surrounding mountains and clear blue sky will take your breath away. For sightseeing, Kochi Castle and the Sunday Markets are highly recommended.
In summer, you can see many dancers partake in the Yosakoi festival. Sawachi cuisine, consisting of fresh sashimi and sushi, and lightly roasted bonito cooked in bundles of straw, is just one of the exquisite foods you can sample.
Experience the art of this ancient province
The Kaede Gishi area of Kuribayashi Park ©JNTO
Kagawa, located in the northeast of Shikoku, is known not only for being a prime location for filming domestic movies, but also for its artistic and romantic feeling. On the island of Naoshima, which can be accessed by ferry from the major city by Takamatsu, many art works by leading current artists, such as Yayoi Kusama,
can be seen around the island. Right now, the ‘Setouchi Triennale’ international
art festival is under way. It will run from spring through to autumn (4 November) across the Setouchi islands, starting with Naoshima. On Shodo Island, there is a sand island (Angel Road) that can only be seen twice a day in low tide, making it
popular among couples who see it as a sacred spot. In Kagawa, you can try the famous sanuki udon for just a few hundred yen. One taste and you will be hooked.
Sanuki Udon ©JNTO