Head a little further afield, and take a trip to Shikoku!

  • 12 ธันวาคม 2015
  • 13 สิงหาคม 2019
  • FUN! JAPAN Team

Japan has a lot of famous sightseeing destinations—Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hokkaido, Okinawa—but if you’ve been to Japan several times before, how about heading a little further afield and taking a trip to Shikoku? The island region is made up of four different prefectures: Kagawa, Ehime, Tokushima, and Kochi. I’m going to be introducing some of the characteristics and attractions of each of them!

Kagawa Prefecture

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The closest of Shikoku’s prefectures to Japan’s main island of Honshu, Kagawa is also famous as the country’s smallest prefecture. The prefectural capital of Takamatsu is home to tourist spots such as the traditional Japanese landscape garden Ritsurin Park. The prefecture borders the gentle waters of the Seto Inland Sea, and contains many small islands. These islands are home to a thriving art scene, and are visited by art lovers from around Japan.

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Kagawa prefecture is very famous for its udon noodles. These ones are called sanuki udon. Lots of people stop by the different udon restaurants for a quick meal, and they’re known for their very reasonable prices. The most famous topping is chikuwa (tubes made from boiled fish paste) cooked in tempura batter.

Ehime Prefecture

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Ehime prefecture also borders the Seto Inland Sea, and its capital is the city of Matsuyama, which is famous for its hot springs (onsen.) Dogo Onsen is said to be over 3000 years old, and is one of Japan’s oldest hot springs. Enjoy the springs while relaxing inside the elegant building—and while you’re there, why not try snacking on some of the local specialty, bocchan dango?

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This is Matsuyama Castle, which is counted among Japan’s 100 greatest castles. Situated atop a 132 meter tall mountain, the castle can be reached by cable car or by lift. There’s lots to see at the castle, and it’s great fun to look around!

Tokushima Prefecture

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Tokushima prefecture is situated to the east of Shikoku. The area is rich in natural beauty, and the tidal whirlpools that occur in the Naruto Strait, a channel between the cities of Naruto in Tokushima and Minamiawaji in Hyogo, are a famous tourist attraction. The sightseeing boats, which go right up close to the swirling whirlpools, are particularly popular.

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You can’t mention Tokushima without mentioning the Awa Odori Festival. An example of the traditional Bon Festival dances that can be seen around Japan, Awa Odori is said to be one of Japan’s “three great Bon Festival dances.” Every year for the four-day period between August 12th and 15th, the city resounds with traditional bands playing for the many dancers and sightseers.

Kochi Prefecture

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Bordering the Pacific Ocean, Kochi prefecture is blessed with a warm climate. Katsurahama Beach is home to a statue of legendary Kochi native Ryoma Sakamoto, and is a popular tourist spot. The ocean here is beautiful, but the area is also famous for the Shimanto River and its incredibly clear waters.

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Kochi’s most famous food product is the bonito (“katsuo”) caught in the Pacific Ocean. Katsuo no tataki is an exquisite dish made from lightly broiled, sliced bonito. It’s easier to eat than raw sashimi, so it’s worth giving it a try even if you’re not a sashimi fan.

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The prefecture is also famous for the Shikoku Pilgrimage, a route first walked by the Buddhist monk Kobo-Daishi during the Heian era, which covers 88 holy sites. As well as Japanese people, visitors from around the world come to experience it.

Shikoku is home to a great deal of unique culture. The next time you come to Japan, why not take a trip there?

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