Tairyu-ji Kobo Daishi statue

Anan is a small city in Tokushima Prefecture. Within the boundary of the city lies Cape Gamoda, a small peninsula that juts out into the Kii Channel, which separates Tokushima on Shikoku, and Wakayama on Honshu. Gamoda is the easternmost point of Shikoku and residents of the island who care for such things visit here on New Year’s morning to greet the first sun of the year. At the tip of the peninsula is a small hill cloaked in windswept trees and topped with a lighthouse. From here you can see Awaji Island and the expanse of the Kii Channel which opens into the Pacific.

Kobo Daishi statue Ishite-ji

As home to the Shikoku Pilgrimage, one of the few circular pilgrimages in the world, the island of Shikoku is itself one big power spot, which draws people from around the world to walk the pilgrim’s path between the 88 Buddhist pilgrimage temples. But this aside, there are many individual sites on Shikoku that are known as power spots.

Japanese calendar

The peak periods for Shikoku are the same as for the rest of Japan, but the implications can be slightly different in Shikoku.

For Japan as a whole and for Shikoku, the peak periods of travel are in the Golden Week period from April 28 to May 5, Obon from August 11 to 20, and New Year from December 28 to January 5.

See Shikoku in one tour

As you probably know, Shikoku comprises four prefectures. You may also know that Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. The Japanese like to think of their country as a tiny place compared to the rest of the world, which is really big. Ask a Japanese person which is the bigger country, Japan or Great Britain, and they’ll unfailingly pick Great Britain. But Japan is actually 2.9 times bigger than England. Japan isn’t a small country by any means. And with its difficult terrain and undeveloped transportation, Japan’s smallest island Shikoku is a big place.

Festival boats at the Kashima Matsuri

The end of April is one of the nicest times in Japan. Picture spending a couple of days on a small island in the Inland Sea, in the midst of a festival that involves traditional and modern dance, Shinto ritual, and pirate history.

The two-day Kashima Spring Festival is held during the second half of the Golden Week holiday in April. The location is the island of Kashima, a quick ferry ride from Hojo to the north of Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture

Kobo Oriza textiles, Imabari

Located in the north-western tip of Shikoku in Ehime Prefecture, Imabari has been manufacturing towels for over 120 years, and textiles for even longer. The city is the largest producer of towels in Japan, and today ‘Imabari Towel’ is one of the world’s favourite brands, recognized by its truly inspired logo. The sun in a red sky, setting over the Inland Sea, represents the ‘i’ of Imabari.

Kurushima Straits Bridge Imabari Photo School

The annual Imabari Tourism Photo Contest has been generating high-quality photos of Imabari and the Shimanami Kaido for many years, drawing talented photographers with its generous prize money. Now the Imabari Tourist Association aims to make the contest more accessible to foreign residents by establishing the ‘Setouchi Photography School’. The first class was held in July as a collaboration with Shikoku Tours. We visited some of the dramatic sights of the Shimanami Kaido and Imabari, honing our photographic skills in a range of challenging situations.