Shikoku (四国), meaning “four kingdoms,” comprises four prefectures on an island in central Japan: Tokushima, Kochi, Ehime, and Kagawa. Shikoku is known for its powerful landscapes. Rugged mountains running east to west divide the island, and the southern part faces the expansive Pacific Ocean. Pockets of satoyama (里山), or foothill farm communities, are woven into the forests that surround them.
Shikoku is also known for religious significance – The Shikoku Pilgrimage, also called the “Shikoku henro (四国遍路)” or the “88 pilgrimage,” is a historic Buddhist route, established over 1,200 years ago. Inspired by a monk named Kūkai (who founded Shingon Buddhism), the pilgrimage and its customs are deeply ingrained in the people of Shikoku, Japan’s way of life.
Mount Tsurugi (剣山, Tsurugisan)
- Mount Tsurugi aka “Sword Mountain” was one of the most picturesque hikes I have done. It’s exposed ridgelines and views made it the perfect day out. You can find more granular details here on Japan Guide. I would recommend some car shuffling/ Bus (infrequent timings)/ Taxi between the start and end points of the hike. You can find and download Map GPX files.
Other highlights around the area include:
Other Locations on Shikoku
- Dogo Onsen – in Matsuyama. of which Miyazaki is said to have based his onsen from Spirited Away on. To be honest I didn’t see much of a resemblance but it did look very impressive.
Uchiko Town – Yokaichi Old Town is Uchiko’s preserved street of houses where most of the town’s attractions can be found. This historical district looks just as it did over 100 years ago, when wealth and prosperity came to Uchiko through its wax trade. Another symbol of Uchiko is found outside of the old district: Uchiko-za is a full scale kabuki theater equipped with trap doors, hidden entrances and a rotating stage.
Bonus - Naruto Theme Park
Whilst not ‘technically’ on Shikoku it what sits on an island between Honshu and Shikoku is: Naruto x Boruto park Nijigen no mori (Naruto Theme Park). Whilst I have not been here yet – It’s definitely on the list!