Shikoku is the smallest islands of the major islands in Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu). This island is a hidden gem for the advance travelers who have been to Japan many times and it is also famous among the locals. The best way to do Shikoku Island is by self-driving with a rental car. Check out the top places to visit and top things to do, what to eat and where to stay.
JAPAN SHIKOKU: THE MOST SPECTACULAR VIEW ON THE SHIMANAMI KAIDO @ KIROSAN OBSERVATORY PARK, IMABARI
If you like to see how Shimanami Kaido looks like without any unblocked view/bird view, it is really worth to come up to Kirosan/Mt Kiro Observatory Park. It is just half an hour drive from Imabari. At Kirosan Observatory Park, you get to see the spectacular world’s longest suspension bridge Kurushima Bridge and also those little islands around Shikoku.
Understand what is Shimanami Kaido島波海道?
Shimanami Kaido is a spectacular 60-70 kilometer road-and-bridge network connecting Japan’s main island of Honshu with Shikoku, passing over 6 small islands in the Seto Inland Sea 瀬戸内海. The starting point of Shimanami Kaido is in Honshu 本州 Island in Onomichi 尾道 city and end at Imabari 今治 City in Shikoku 四国 Island. Shimanami Kaido is truly an amazing route connecting Japan mainland Honshu with Shikoku.
THOUSAND YEARS OLDS HOT SPRINGS – DOGO ONSEN HONKAN & “BOTCHAN” NATSUME SOSEKI AT MATSUYAMA. TOP 16 THINGS NOT TO BE MISSED!
Matsuyama city boost thousand years hot springs bathhouse called Dogo Onsen. Tourists flooded here to soak in the hot springs which are believed to cure disease and illness. What made the bathhouse stand out from the rest is, it has a special bath area dedicated only to the Imperial family.
Another famous thing to note in Matsuyama city is Botchan by Natsume Soseki who is the top novelist in Japan and his best masterpiece is called “Botchan”. Every Japanese has read “Botchan” novel during their school years. Natsume Soseki is so important that he also appeared in the 1000 Japanese Yen note. He was considered the most profound Japanese writer in the Japanese literature world. There is even a sweet called “Botchan Dango” and “Botchan Ressha” / Botchan Train named after his most famous novel. Do remember to try out the Botchan Dango sweet when you walk around in the shopping streets in your Japanese yukata/ bathrobe.
EXPERIENCE ONSEN, FUTON BED ON TATAMI FLOOR, THE SLIDING PAPER DOOR, RYOKAN DINNER IN YUKATA ROBE, MANGA CORNER & KARAOKE, ALL IN YUKAI RESORT DOGO SAICHORAKU AT MATSUYAMA CITY, EHIME PREFECTURE, SHIKOKU
Yukai Resort Dogo Saichoraku is Japanese style ryokan inn with onsen hot spring resort. You have the opportunity to experience the traditional Japanese lifestyle such as sleeping on the futon /Japanese bed on the tatami mat floor. You will also see the Japanese paper sliding door with wood frame in your room. Japanese onsen bath is one thing you need to try but do watch out for the etiquette. Another thing worth mention here is you are able to experience most of the Japanese authentic dish in the dinner and breakfast.
The price including dinner is very affordable to the public. Click on the Yukai link to check out the price including dinner or without.
MOUNTAIN OF HAPPINESS – THE KONPIRASAN @ KAGAWA PREFECTURE, SHIKOKU しあわせさん、こんぴらさん
The yellow banner means – “Shiawase-san, Konpira-san” (しあわせさん、こんぴらさん) or “Mountain of Happiness, Konpira Mountain”.
There are 1368 steps up to Kotohira-gu/Konpirasan, the mountain of happiness. During Ethe do period, everyone is expected to visit at least once during their lifetime. Some who is unfit will send their dog to come up to do the pilgrimage for them so you see there are also many dogs visiting this shrine with their owner nowadays.
The best time to visit should be in Autumn – mid-Nov onwards, you also get to see the red maple leaves in the backdrop.
TAKAMATSU PRIDE – RITSURIN GARDEN IN KAGAWA PREFECTURE 栗林公園
Ritsurin Garden is Japan’s largest Cultural Property Garden that has been handed down since 400 years ago. It is leisure to walk around these ponds and hills which were constructed beautifully. A wasen boat ride is another interesting way to explore Ritsurin Garden, you got to see a totally new perspective from walking the park’s path. No wonder this place is named as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty by the Japanese government.
SANUKI UDON, THE SOUL FOOD IN KAGAWA PREFECTURE SHIKOKU
When you are in Kagawa Prefecture in Shikoku, you see udon shop in every corner even in the middle of rice paddies field.
If you are a budget traveler then udon won’t cost too much damage on your wallet. With only JPY 210 (USD 1.80) to JPY 600 (USD 5.30) you get to enjoy one of the best Sanuki Udon in Kagawa Prefecture in Shikoku Island, Japan.
BEST SUNSET AT YASHIMA, TAKAMATSU & BOKAISO HOTEL REVIEW
Yashima mountain is one of the best spots to catch the sunset in Shikoku Island. It is only about 20 mins drive to Takamatsu city, which is a quiet and exclusive place for people who like to stay away from the crowd.
Bokaiso Hotel located at the top of Yashima mountain offer the breathtaking view of Seto Inland Sea. The room is extremely spacious and with sea view facing. The downside is there are no restaurants nearby so you may need to pre-book the in-house dinner or bring your own food up. Bakaiso is good for travelers who are driving so it is super exclusive.
JAPANESE NEIGHBOURHOOD SUPERMARKET TOUR AT TAKAMATSU
Touring in the local supermarket is really an enjoyable thing you can’t miss in Japan. With the advantages of self-drive, we have the luxury to drive to the local neighborhood and shop like a local. You will be surprised at how cheap thing is in Japan.
WHIRLPOOLS OF NARUTO IN TOKUSHIMA PREFECTURE, SHIKOKU
If you happen to be in Shikoku Island or near Kansai area, Naruto is highly recommended. Go board on the Wonder Naruto Cruise ship and enjoy the sunshine and the unusual phenomenon.
The tide formation is really fascinating to see, the swirls and ripples can be quite hypnotic too. Besides that, you also get to enjoy the beautiful view of the Seto Inland Sea and the magnificent Onaruto Bridge.
AWAJI SERVICE AREA ( NEAR KOBE HYOGO PREFECTURE, KANSAI REGION)
Japan rest area offers more than toilet breaks or fills up with petrol. It even has unexpected facilities such as telescopes & Ferris wheels. The Awaji Rest Area is one of the famous rest areas that you cannot miss if you are doing a road trip from the mainland to Awaji Shikoku area.
Click on each link to read about the culture and what are the do and don’t in Japan. In many of the attraction, I have also included the top food that you must try. A good 3-5 days is more than enough to cover Shikoku Island.
This is an awesome resource for anyone looking to visit the area. This is the kind of post that can really help you make the most of a trip.
Thanks for your comment. These would be some of the hot places to visit in Shikoku Island Japan.
I have heard only but amazing thing about Japan, and It has always been a dream to travel there. I love the food and the culture. thanks for sharing this with us
Dogo Onsen in Matsuyama, the 3000 years old bath house is one of the stops you cannot miss. The old fashioned bathhouse is still open to the public but the Emperor used to visit this place too but not anymore.
Wow great post with some amazing pictures. I love the look and sound of the places you suggest!
The scenery in Shikoku Island is breathtaking and many of the places are untouched.
Ritsurin Garden is gorgeous!! My dream is to visit Japan one day soon, and I’d love to visit Shikoko. Such stunning photos, I hope I visit soon.
When you visit Ritsurin Garden, please also rent a kimono to shoot pictures in this ancient gardeb built by the local feudal lords during the early Edo Period. There is a tea house too if you want to experience some Japanese tea ceremony.
I’ve never been to Japan 🙁 But sooooonnnnn!!!! I can’t can’t can’t wait. Thanks a lot for the awesome read.
Glad to learn that you are visiting Japan soon, no matter which part of Japan, I am sure you will love it.
Japan is on my list of places to visit! The scenery is absolutely gorgeous and I know for sure I am going to eat a lot of udon! Thanks for sharing your travel adventure in Japan!
Udon is one of the must eat food in Japan and it is budget friendly too. In Shikuko Island, the Kagawa Udon is very well-known, don’t miss that.
Wow this looks like an incredible experience. Thank for for sharing all of this information, I’ve always wanted to visit Japan!
It is always good to visit Japan with a rental car if you have 2 pax and above. It is more cost-saving and time-saving.
What a beautiful little island to visit. Thank you for all the suggestions and reviews about the things to do and eat there.
If you like nature, Shikoku island won’t go wrong. Things are also cheaper than in Tokyo and Osaka.
This looks like such a fascinating place to visit. What a wonderful experience with so many incredible views.
Shikoku is the smallest islands among the major 4 island in Japan and it is a hidden gem.
I would like to visit Japan one day! I learned so much from this post! Thanks for sharing.
Hope you visit Japan very soon and experience all the fun thing there.
I haven’t heard of this island before but it looks like a beautiful place to visit.
Most people would go to Honshu the main island where Tokyo and Osaka is. Shikoku island has a lot of nature and less crowd.
A hidden gem indeed! Seems less crowded too which is nice!
That’s one of the reasons I love about Shikoku Island, less crowd means I could have more peace and fewer photobombs.
I love how clean and well manicured that island is! What a fun adventure!
Japan is very clean and there are few garbage bins around the public area, not many. Most people will carry their garbage and throw at home.
I want to visit Japan so badly. Looks like a beautiful place to visit and I love the market! So many great finds!
Shopping at the local supermarket is one of the fun things to do, you get to see how people live and what they eat and use daily.
I’ve been wanting to visit Japan . I would definitely go here one day.
the place looks wonderful! I love Japan deeply, really hope I will come back there again one day
Shikoku is a nice place especially for those travelers who had been to Japan a few times.
Such a great article and review of this amazing place in Japan.All the photos featured here are so mesmerizing and stunning to look at. I love the place, it looks peaceful and cozy.
Shikoku (四国, literally “four countries”) is Japan’s fourth largest island. True to its name, Shikoku is divided into four prefectures. I can assure you it is a peaceful place to visit.
Wow, such a detailed post that would be so helpful to plan a great trip to Shikoku, Japan. Loving the pictures so much.
That view from the viewing point is beautiful. I didn’t manage to explore this area when I was Japan few years back. I certainly need to revisit Japan again. There are just so much things to see and do!
I am sure you had a great time a few years back in Japan. I hope you are considering this tiny island called Shikoku too, it is a hidden gem and famous among locals.
All the sights look so beautiful! I hope someday I can visit Japan for myself.
What incredible photo’s, such a stunning place to visit
Shikoku looks like such a fascinating and beautiful place to visit. I’d definitely like to explore it more myself.
The best way to explore Shikoku is by self-driving a rental car. The drive is manageable and less crowd and cars.
I’ve never been here, but I definitely want to go in the future 🙂 thanks for a comprehensive guide and lots of information x