Shikoku is an island bordered to the north by the Seto Inland Sea, and to the south by the Pacific Ocean. The interior of the island is very mountainous, but around the coasts and in the river valleys, there are fertile plains. This attractive geography determines the produce available as the basis for Shikoku’s cuisine – abundant and varied seafood from the two seas, high-quality rice and vegetables from the plains, wild game meat from the mountains, and delicious nuts and fruit grown in valley and coastal orchards.

Shikoku is a great place to dive into the variegated and friendly world of sake.

As home to the prefecture with the highest consumption of alcohol in Japan, drinking is a popular pastime in Shikoku. The four prefectures each have their own styles of sake, and in the main towns you can find many bars and restaurants whose staff will be more than happy to keep your little cup filled with interesting local brews. Here we consider the characteristics that make Shikoku the ideal destination if you want to enjoy some sake on your travels in Japan. 

11 Reasons to Visit Shikoku, Japan

Shikoku is the smallest of Japan's four main islands, and the last to be linked physically to the main Japanese island. Consequently, its traditional character is still much in evidence in the form of beautiful buildings from past eras, pastoral scenery, old sake breweries, and Shinto festivals to mark the passing seasons. The Buddhist Shikoku Henro pilgrimage also draws visitors from around the world. Here we attempt to summarize the myriad reasons to visit Shikoku into just eleven.

Uwajima-Unyu Ferries ship launch

Uwajima-Unyu Ferries offers one of the major links to Shikoku with its ferry service between Beppu and Usuki in Kyushu, and Yawatahama on Shikoku. The Shimanami Kaido is another important link, with a road traversing the Geiyo Islands between Honshu and Shikoku. On September 7 (Thursday), Uwajima-Unyu Ferries will launch a new ferry at a shipyard on Ikuchijima, one of the islands of the Shimanami Kaido. Shikoku Tours is offering a tour to see this exclusive ceremony.

Shikoku accommodation sitting room

As home to the Shikoku Pilgrimage with a history going back over 1,200 years, Shikoku is a hospitable place. The people of Shikoku are used to looking after visitors. Shikoku has an amazing variety of accommodation, and here we'll look at everything from guesthouses and pilgrim's lodgings to high-end ryokan. We can book you whatever accommodation you like for your trip, but we want you to know what to expect.

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.