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To the Japanese, Shikoku is best known as a place of pilgrimage; on any visit here you'll constantly see white-robed pilgrims walking the traditional route around 88 temples scattered across the island. For overseas visitors, Japan's fourth largest island is an ideal place to see the best of those of temples, as well as splendid castles, traditional gardens, dramatic landscapes and hot springs all in a compact and easy-to-get-around area. The pilgrims usually start near Tokushima on the east coast, a town that's best visited for its Awa Odori, the summer dance festival that's Japan's equivalent of Rio's Carnival. Move inland to explore the ...

To the Japanese, Shikoku is best known as a place of pilgrimage; on any visit here you'll constantly see white-robed pilgrims walking the traditional route around 88 temples scattered across the island. For overseas visitors, Japan's fourth largest island is an ideal place to see the best of those of temples, as well as splendid castles, traditional gardens, dramatic landscapes and hot springs all in a compact and easy-to-get-around area. The pilgrims usually start near Tokushima on the east coast, a town that's best visited for its Awa Odori, the summer dance festival that's Japan's equivalent of Rio's Carnival. Move inland to explore the Iya Valley, through which the Yoshino river has cut the dramatic Oboke gorge; see this close up from a tourist boat or on an exciting white-water rafting excursion. The traditional mansions and shops of the small town of Uchiko are a pleasant diversion before or after heading to Shikoku's largest city Matsuyama. Here you'll find an impressive castle and the hot spring resort of Dogo with its historic and handsome bathhouse. Wind up your tour in Takamatsu on the north coast with a stroll around Ritsurin-koen, grand formal gardens that are the largest in Japan.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

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Simon Richmond for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Shikoku is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshū and east of Kyūshū island.
  • Language: Japanese
  • Currency: Yen
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Shikoku has a good climate year-round although it can get rainy in June in September.