Shikoku (四国) is Japan’s best kept secret. Relative to the other larger islands like Kyushu and Honshu, Japan’s smallest island is the most unexplored. The majestic Setouchi Expressway Bridge offers one of the most spectacular entrances into Shikoku from the mainland – and ranks as one of the top cycling routes in Japan.
Trace the footsteps of Henro (遍路) pilgrims past as you embark on a spiritual sojourn to the 88 temples of Shikoku. If the trek proves too arduous, rest your weary feet and savour an afternoon tipple at one of the independent craft beer breweries or 地ビール makers (Mukai Craft Brewing) in Kochi (高知) – a rising trend in Shikoku.
If it’s art you’re after, hop on a ferry from Takamatsu (高松) to Naoshima (直島) for happy snaps with Yayoi Kusama’s giant pumpkins and other polka-dot artworks scattered around the island. Alternatively, soak in the atmospheric Dogo Onsen in Ehime (愛媛) , and get “spirited away” in this centuries-old institution that is said to have inspired the Ghibili classic. Adventure seekers, head for the Iya Valley in Tokushima (徳島) and explore the eerily creepy doll village of Nagoro 名頃かかしの里 (make sure you do this during daylight!! You have been warned). LT
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