It’s time for the eighth entry in my series of itinerary ideas for my trip to Japan and Korea later this year. Today I’m focusing on the Shikoku region of Japan, which in the Google Maps screenshot below is the part of Japan colored red. Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s four main islands and if I remember correctly I believe it also receives the fewest number of tourists of the four main islands. In 2017 I completely skipped over Shikoku so for 2019 I’m going to try to spend about five to seven days there. At the moment I have three towns on the island where I’m thinking about staying in.
I’m not sure where I’ll start my detour into Shikoku but the town of Matsuyama might be the first place I go to. Matsuyama is in the northwestern part of Shikoku and I think be staying there both to see a couple of things in Matsuyama itself and to day trip to another town just south of it. Within Matsuyama the two things that have my attention are the town’s original caste and Ishiteji Temple that is part of the pilgrimage path that runs around Shikoku. Outside of Matsuyama, I’m thinking I’ll day trip down to the town of Uchiko, which looks like it has a picturesque area full of historic buildings. Maybe I’ll also visit Ozu if I have time.
Located on Shikoku’s southern coast, my visit to Kochi will likely be only a single day, mainly because of schedule limitations. Like Matsuyama, Kochi has one of Japan’s few original castles and one of the temples that are on the old Shikoku pilgrimage path. It looks like Kochi also has a decent beach, though I’ve read online that swimming is prohibited because the currents there are very strong. If nothing else, the beach would be a nice place to end the day and watch the sun go down. If I’m running low on time, however, I could see myself cutting Kochi out of the schedule because it’s kind of out of the way.
Takamatsu will probably be my final stop in Shikoku before returning to Honshu. It looks like there’s a fair amount of things to see and do in the Takamatsu area so I might need an extra day to check everything out. The biggest single attraction appears to be the Ritsurin Koen garden, and along with that I’d also want to visit the viewpoint at Yashima and the remains of the town’s old castle, among other things. A short distance across the water there’s the small island of Ogijima that looks like it would be a pleasant place to walk around for a few hours. The nearby town of Kotohira with its Kompirasan Shrine also looks like a worthwhile day trip from Takamatsu.