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Shikoku Travel guide

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Shikoku : Michelin's recommendations

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Shikoku, one of the four islands that comprise Japan, may be the least populous, but it is far from the least interesting. Cut off and isolated for many years, it has remained unspoiled and is home to a host of picturesque temples and villages which are protected by Japan’s highest mountains. The northern part of the island, hemmed by waters that bear a striking likeness to the Mediterranean, is the site of some of Japan’s most exquisite gardens (Ritsurin-koen is a masterpiece of the Edo period) and bath houses at Dogo Onsen (east of Matsuyama) and of Takamatsu, the genuine gateway into Shikoku and the Japanese capital of bonsais. Its mild climate is particularly suited to citrus fruits, peaches and even olives. The warm, fish-filled waters of the Pacific Ocean, perfect for swimming, lap the coast of the southern half of the island, blissfully preserved from tourism. A mountain range, which climbs to a height of 1,982 m, cuts across the centre and is ideal for outdoor sports such as hiking and climbing. This authentic, unjustly ignored island is the ideal place to get acquainted with Japan: lush green paddy fields, remote fishing villages, strings of secluded islets (many of which don’t have a name) and a local cuisine in which fresh fish, served in sashimi, takes pride of place. All in all, it is a landscape that would be quite at home in a cartoon by Hayao Miyazaki, the best-selling creator of Princess Mononoke.

Shikoku - See all cities and regions

Shikoku : Must-see towns and regions

  • Takamatsu

    The principal gateway to the island of Shikoku, Takamatsu is located on the Inland Sea. Severely damaged by bombings during the Second World War, during which the city lost its castle dating from the ...

  • The main appeal of the small town of Kotohira is a Shinto temple, Konpira -san, which stands on top of Mt Zozu (521m). A prominent religious site since the 11C, it welcomes nearly 4 million pilgrims e...

  • Nestled in the depths of a bay where the Pacific laps at the shores, Kochi is best visited on a Sunday, when the weekly market brings the place to life. But this is not the sole interest of the city. ...

  • Marugame

    At the foot of Seto Bridge linking the island of Shikoku to Honshu, Marugame is a port town with some 110,000 inhabitants. The town is home to a number of curiosities, such as Marugame-jo , one of Jap...

  • Tokushima

    Tokushima, capital of the prefecture of the same name, is on the north-east coast of Shikoku Island and home to some 270,000 inhabitants. At the mouth of the River Yoshino and foot of Mount Bizan (280...

  • This 170,000-strong town is located in the Ehime prefecture, 50km north-east of Matsuyama. It marks the starting and finishing point of the fabulous Shimanami Kaido bicycle path, which spans six of t...

  • "In the heart of the secluded Iya valley, the scenic Route 32 and railway line follow the River Yoshino, espousing a spectacular canyon as far as Oboke, 25km to the south of Awa Ikeda. Translated lite...

  • In the east of Iya valley, the hamlet of Ochiai clings to the mountainside, flanked by terraces of rice and tobacco crops. It was probably founded in the Middle Ages by the former samurai-turned-peasa...

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