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A captivating trip across Shikoku seeing fascinating nature

3nights,4days Departure from Local Areas(Takamatsu)

Whirlpools, ancient shrines, valleys and historic towns. Visiting the four prefectures of Shikoku where nature and Japanese tradition are very much alive.

  • 3nights,4days

Tokushima

[Traveling]

Takamatsu -- <JR Kotoku Line 70 mins. > -- Tokushima -- <10 mins. by walk> -- [Awaodori-Kaikan][Mount Bizan] -- <10 mins. by walk> -- Tokushima -- <60 mins. by bus> -- <by walk>[Naruto Park] -- [Uzu-no-michi] -- [Otsuka Museum of Art] -- <60 mins. by bus> -- Tokushima

*The times required with public transportation are approximate.

[Discount Ticket]

Takamatsu City

Shikoku is one of the islands forming the Japanese archipelago. It is surrounded by the Seto Inland Sea and Pacific Ocean and is blessed with a mild climate and bountiful nature.

Takamatsu City in Kagawa Prefecture is famous for its delicious Sanuki-udon noodles, reasonably priced food enjoyed by the common people. There are about 800 udon restaurants in the city area, but remember that some restaurants open at 9 o'clock in the morning and close around 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

Tokushima City

For 4 days from August 12 to 15 every year, passionate Awa dance groups perform through the streets of Tokushima city. This Awa-Odori Folk Dance festival attracts over a million people every year.

Awa Odori Kaikan Hall

Even if you do not visit during this period, you can still feel the atmosphere at the Awa Odori Kaikan Hall where 3 or 4 performances are held every day.

Mt.Bisan

There is also a museum attached. On the 5th floor, there is a ropeway landing stage for trips to Mt. Bizan, a beautiful mountain that appears to be shaped like an eyebrow from any direction.

Naruto Park

The Naruto channel, which connects Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean, is only 1.3-km wide, so seawater flows in and out from the Seto Inland Sea according to the rhythm of the tides. The height difference between high tide and low tide reaches 1.5 meters max., creating numerous large and small whirlpools.

Aboard a whirling wave observation boat, you can get very close to the waves. There is also a boat service called "Aqua Eddy" (booking is required), which has an underwater observation room from which you can observe the spiraling whirlpools.
Or, you can look down at the whirlpools from Uzu-no-michi, a walkway set on the Onaruto Bridge over the sea.

Otsuka Museum of Art

The "Otsuka Museum of Art" has the largest exhibition space in Japan. About 1,000 reproductions of ancient and modern paintings in the museums of 25 countries are exhibited here. All reproductions are made on a life-size ceramic plate using special techniques. You can enjoy world masterpieces such as Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper", Monet's "Water Lilies" or the frescoes of the Sistine Hall.

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1st Day

Takamatsu

[Traveling]

Tokushima -- <JR Kotoku Line 70 mins.> -- Takamatsu -- <5 mins. by walk> -- Takamatsu Chikko -- <Takamatsu-Kotohira Electric Railroad 10 mins.> -- Kawaramachi -- <Takamatsu-Kotohira Electric Railroad 20 mins.> -- Kotoden Yashima -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Shikoku-mura] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- Kotoden Yashima -- <Takamatsu-Kotohira Electric Railroad 20 mins.> -- Kawaramachi -- <Takamatsu-Kotohira Electric Railroad 60 mins.> -- Kotoden Kotohira -- <30 mins. by walk> -- [Kotohira-gu Shrine][Kanamaru-za] -- <30 mins. by walk> -- JR Kotohira -- <JR Yosan Line Limited Express 50 mins.> -- Oboke -- <15 mins. by taxi> -- [Iya-onsen Hot Spring]

Shikoku-mura (Shikoku Village)

Shikoku-mura is an open-air museum that features 33 folk houses and warehouses of the 18th to 19th century that were moved to this village from various places in Shikoku and reconstructed. There is a small village Kabuki stage, fisherman's houses and farmer's houses, so you can discover the traditional way of life of ordinary Japanese people. At the "Shikoku-mura Gallery" designed by architect Tadao Ando, you can appreciate oriental fine arts together with a beautiful garden.

Konpira-gu shrine

People in by gone days used to dream of visiting this shrine at least once in their lives. The ancient Konpira-gu has long been a site of worship for those praying for safety on the seas. This shrine is particularly highly esteemed by the Imperial Family, and some believe that the shrine has spiritual powers. This idea has spread among ordinary people, along with the yearning for a journey to a far-away place.

Kotohira-gu Shrine is famous for its long stairways with 785 steps that lead up to the main shrine and 1,368 steps that lead up to the inner shrine, but children as well as the elderly struggle to make it to the top in hopes of getting their prayers answered and getting a look at the magnificent view from above. You can take a palanquin at the bottom up to around 360 steps. Some shops lend out shoes and walking sticks.

Kanamaru-za

On the way back, pop in to Kanamaru-za, the oldest existing playhouse in Japan built in 1853. Dramas performed by Kabuki actors take place in grand style in April every year.

Oboke

Boke of Oboke situated in Miyoshi City of Tokushima Prefecture is a steep valley in Yoshino River. Boke means cliff in ancient Japanese. The upper stream, Koboke-kei, is known as the wildest torrent in Japan, and is popular for rafting.

Shin- Iya- Onsen

Take a taxi to get to the Shin-Iya-onsen Hot Spring deeper in the mountains. The steep valley extending 10 kilometers is one of three hidden regions of Japan. It is said that warriors who had failed in battle came here to live in secret.
Among the hotels in the mountains, there is one that takes its guests to open-air spas by cable car, and there are others that serve your meals around a fireplace. Try a relaxing taste of the nature's grandeur in Shikoku.

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2nd Day

Kochi, Matsuyama

[Traveling]

[Iya-kyo Valley] -- <15 mins. by taxi> -- Oboke -- <JR Dosan Line 60 mins.> -- Kochi -- <Tosa Electric Railway 10 mins.> -- Kochijo-mae Station -- [Kochi Castle][Sunday Market] -- <Tosa Electric Railway 10 mins.> -- Kochi -- <30 mins. by bus> -- [Katsurahama][The Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum] -- <30 mins. by bus> -- Kochi -- <150 mins. by bus> -- [City of Matsuyama] -- <Iyo Railway 20 mins.> -- [Dogo-onsen Hot Spring]

Iya-kyo Valley

Enjoy the scenery of Iya Valley as you walk along the "Kazura Bridge", a suspension bridge made of kudzu or Japanese arrowroot that grows on the mountain. It is said that this bridge was made by defeated warriors to throw off pursuers. The season of red leaves around October is particularly beautiful here.

Kochi City

The Kochi Castle standing in the middle of the town was rebuilt in 1753, and it is one of the few ancient castles in Japan still retaining some remnants from the period. The castle keep has been made into a documents archive, and you can overlook Kochi city center from the top floor. The scenery is exceptionally beautiful during the last 2 weeks of March, when about 400 cherry trees are in full bloom.

Nichiyo-ichi (Sunday Market)

On the 1-kilometer road extending to the east from the Ottemon gate of the castle, there is a Sunday market with a history of 300 years. Although it is called the "Sunday Market", it opens at 5 in the morning every day and is very crowded. All kinds of items are sold here including udon noodles, rice cakes and tempura, and tabi, or Japanese socks, and antiques.

Katsurahama Beach

You might like to travel to Katsurahama, which is a famous scenic beach on the Pacific Ocean. The first thing you will notice is a statue of the gallant Ryoma Sakamoto facing the beach.

Ryoma Sakamoto (1835-1867), a heroic visionary, was born in Kochi and lived in the turbulent days of the shift from the Edo Period to Meiji Era. Utilizing his varied network of contacts, he made great efforts to overthrow the shogunate and establish a new government. It is said that he founded the first limited company in Japan. Sadly, he was assassinated at the young age of 33. To this day, there are still many devoted fans of his character and way of life. You might enjoy visiting the Ryoma Sakamoto Memorial Museum situated in Katsurahama.

Yosakoi Festival

The Yosakoi Festival is held from August 9 to 12 every year. Dancers perform to the rhythm of narukos, an instrument similar to castanets with a handle, in time to Yosakoi music. Yosakoi dance groups have been established throughout the country, and they wear costumes ranging from Kimono to modern outfits. They also arrange their music into various styles such as samba and rock. Try not to miss this passionate parade. It is generally believed that "Yosakoi" means "come over tonight", but this is just one of several theories.

Matsuyama City

The largest city in Shikoku with the oldest hot spring, a beautiful castle, and the literary tradition. The city's Dogo-onsen Hot Spring with 3,000 year history draws many tourists and residents.

Dogo-onsen

Dogo-onsen Hot Spring is the oldest spa in Japan that is believed to have sprung up 3000 years ago. The symbol of this spa resort is "Dogo-onsen Honkan", a public bath built more than 100 years ago. In town, there are also some footbaths that you can use at no charge.

Botchan-Train

Dogo-onsen is also famous for having appeared in the novel "Botchan" written by the nineteenth-century literary figure Soseki Natsume, and the streetcar named the "Botchan-Train" connects the center of Matsuyama City with Dogo-onsen.

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3rd Day

Matsuyama

[Traveling]

Dogo-onsen [Dogo High Collar Dori] [Dogo Park] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Isaniwa-jinja Shrine] -- <8 mins. by walk> -- Dogo-onsen -- <Iyo Railway 20 mins.> -- Matsuyama -- <Iyo Railway> -- Okaido -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Matsuyama Castle] -- Matsuyama -- <20 mins. by bus> -- [Iyo Kasuri Kaikan] -- <20 mins. by bus> -- Matsuyama -- <20 mins. by bus> -- Matsuyama Airport

Dogo High Collar Dori

In the Dogo High Collar Dori shopping area of Dogo Onsen, there are many shops selling traditional Japanese craftwork and confectionary. Bamboo craftwork and "Tobeyaki" pottery with a history of more than 200 years make wonderful souvenirs.

Dogo Park

In "Dogo Park", about a 5-minute walk from Dogo Onsen town, there used to be a castle (Yuzuki Castle) from the 14th to 16th century, and the park is arranged so as to utilize the cultural assets. You can see reproductions of old Samurai residences and document archives free of charge. If you are interested in haiku, you should visit the museum of Shiki Masaoka, a haiku poet of Japan. If you go up to the observatory there is a wonderful view of the Seto Inland Sea on a fine day. The place is known for its beautiful cherry blossoms in spring.

Isaniwa-jinja shrine

Built in 1667, it is one of three pavilions in Japan constructed by a method known as Hachiman-zukuri. There are various construction methods for shrines, and one characteristic feature of Hachiman-zukuri is that two Kirizuma/Hirairi style buildings (gabled building with an entrance on the side parallel to the building) are connected together. When you look at the building from the side, the connected roof forms an M shape.
It is generally believed that God spends the daytime in the Gaiden or outer palace and moves to the Naiden or inner palace at night.

It is very impressive to see the main shrine building made entirely of Japanese cypress with pillars covered in gold foil and treated with detailed engraving.

Matsuyama Castle

Matsuyama Castle, which stands at the top of a small hill at the center of Matsuyama City, was built in 1602. As with Kochi Castle, it is one of the few castles that have the same shapes that they did when they were built. The view seen from the castle keep is also beautiful.

There is a ropeway or lift up to the mountain top. When you get off the ropeway there is a 10-minute walk up a slope and some stairs to reach the base of the soaring castle keep. You can imagine the feeling of a Samurai lord as you survey the panoramic view of the town laid out below.

Mingei Iyo Kasuri Kaikan

textile fabric called Iyo Kasuri which has an impressive grid-like pattern is one of the major textile fabrics in Japan. Kimono, clothes, small items made of Iyo Kasuri fabric and tie-dyed T-shirts make excellent souvenirs.

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4th Day