Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, known for its natural beauty, rich history, and cultural heritage. Here are some popular tourist spots and attractions on Shikoku:
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- Iya Valley: This remote and picturesque valley is known for its steep, lush green mountains and traditional thatched-roof houses. The Kazurabashi Vine Bridge is a famous attraction here.
- Kotohira-gu Shrine (Konpira-san): Located in Kotohira, this shrine is dedicated to seafarers and is famous for its long staircase with 785 stone steps leading up to the main hall.
- Ritsurin Garden: Located in Takamatsu, Ritsurin is one of Japan’s most beautiful landscape gardens. It features stunning ponds, bridges, walking paths, and meticulously maintained flora.
- Matsuyama Castle: Situated in Matsuyama, this castle is one of the few original castles left in Japan. You can reach it by a chairlift or a steep hiking trail.
- Dogo Onsen: This historic hot spring in Matsuyama is one of Japan’s oldest and most famous. The main building, Dogo Onsen Honkan, has a beautiful, traditional wooden architecture.
- Ishite-ji Temple: As one of the 88 temples on the Shikoku Pilgrimage, Ishite-ji in Matsuyama is a significant religious site. Its pagoda and temple buildings are impressive.
- Cape Ashizuri (Ashizuri Misaki): Located in the southernmost part of Shikoku, this cape offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The Ashizuri Lighthouse is a notable landmark.
- Ōboke and Koboke Gorges: These scenic gorges in Tokushima Prefecture are known for their emerald-green waters and steep, rocky cliffs. You can take boat rides to get close to the beauty of the gorges.
- Shikoku Karst: In Ehime Prefecture, this highland area is famous for its limestone plateau and unique karst landscape. It’s a great spot for hiking and taking in the panoramic views.
- Naruto Whirlpools: Off the coast of Tokushima, you can witness the impressive Naruto whirlpools that occur when tidal currents collide under the Naruto Bridge.
- Awa Odori: If you’re visiting during the summer (August), don’t miss the Awa Odori festival in Tokushima. It’s one of Japan’s largest and most famous traditional dance festivals.
- Shimanami Kaido: While technically not on Shikoku itself, the Shimanami Kaido is a famous cycling route that connects Shikoku to Honshu via a series of scenic bridges and islands. It’s a unique way to explore the region.