What is Shikoku Tours?

Shikoku Tours is a website that offers tours of Shikoku and Setouchi, the area immediately around Shikoku. The website is managed by the tourism consultancy Knowledge Travel Partners.

We aren’t a company, nor are we a travel agent as such. See the next question.

Is Shikoku Tours a licensed travel agent?

No, we aren’t. We work with licensed travel agents so you’re covered by the relevant laws protecting travellers in Japan.

The law also requires that you pay the travel agent rather than Shikoku Tours. The travel agent pays us a commission.

Do you offer regular tours?

No, we don’t. Our tours only happen if you book one.

Shikoku isn’t the sort of place where so many people visit that you could regularly fill a bus. So there are no regular tours that you can just join.

You have to tell us roughly where and when you want to go, and we’ll take it from there. If you want companions, you’ll have to bring them yourself.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We typically need about two weeks to plan a custom tour. Existing packages require less time.

However, if you want to travel in the peak periods, it’s best to book several months in advance. 

When are the peak periods?

The peak periods 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.

For more detailed information, see our blog post (opens in a new window).

Can you arrange our travel outside of Shikoku too?

Yes, we can. Please let us know your schedule and requirements in as much detail as possible.

Can you provide a guide?

It depends. If you give us advance notice of several weeks, we can provide guides who speak English and French.

Please note that if your tour covers several days, you’ll be required to pay the accommodation and meals of the guide in addition to the daily rate for the guide.

A guide can add a great deal of interest and enjoyment to your tour though.

However, it’s generally not possible to arrange foreign language speaking guides at short notice or for short periods of time.

Can I send my luggage to the next hotel?

Yes. Most hotels offer this service. It typically costs about 1,500 yen for a big suitcase.

What's the difference between the Japan Rail Pass and All Shikoku Rail Pass?

These passes offer steeply discounted rail travel in Japan.

The Japan Rail Pass covers all Japan Railways (JR) lines in Japan, including Shikoku.

The All Shikoku Rail Pass covers all railway lines on Shikoku, including JR. It also covers the very useful bus service between Matsuyama and Kōchi, as well as the main ferries from Honshū.

So which is best?

If you’re travelling significant distances outside of Shikoku too, get the Japan Rail Pass.

If you’re travelling mainly on Shikoku, get the All Shikoku Rail Pass.

For more detailed information, see our blog post (opens in a new window).

Can you book the Iyonada Monogatari for me?

If you want to use the Iyonada Monogatari as part of a tour, we can book it for you.

But it’s very popular and we need at least a month’s lead time.

We don’t provide a booking service unless it’s part of a tour.

Can you provide a backup vehicle for cycling?

Yes, but it costs about 30,000 yen a day. So unless you’re part of a large group, it’s beyond the budget of most travellers.

However, if you’re cycling the Shimanami Kaidō with bicycles hired by Shikoku Tours, a rescue service is available. Charges apply if you actually use the service.

There are various options for leaving your luggage securely, or having it forwarded at reasonable cost, so a backup vehicle may not be necessary.

Can you provide a guide for cycling?

Yes, we can arrange a guide who speaks English.

Are there any dangerous animals in Shikoku?

Yes, there are.

Wild boar. They usually try to run away, but people have been killed by boar.

Pit vipers. Something of a hazard in the countryside in summer and autumn. Hospitalization if bitten.

Hornets. Something of a hazard in the countryside in summer and autumn. Hospitalization if stung.

Centipedes. Something of a hazard in summer and autumn. Painful bite.

Jellyfish. Something of a hazard in the sea in summer and autumn. Painful and itchy sting.

Sharks. A very rare hazard in the sea.

Ticks. Something of a hazard in the countryside in summer and autumn. Ticks carrying the SFTS virus have been identified in Shikoku.

Dogs and cats. Caution is required. If in doubt, don’t try to pet them.

Despite the presence of these dangerous animals, most of us manage to stay alive and well in Shikoku. Use common sense and you’ll be OK. All these animals are found in the rest of Japan too. But unlike the rest of Japan, Shikoku doesn’t have bears.

I want to learn about sake and shochu

You're in luck. Rod Walters is a sake sommelier and educator, and he also knows plenty about shochu too. We can arrange exclusive guided visits to sake breweries with tastings. You'll learn how sake is made, the many different varieties of sake, and most importantly, how to enjoy sake. We can also arrange sake dinners, where delightful food and sake are paired. Brewery visits and dinners can be combined into an educational and enjoyable program. 

These options are suitable for groups of five or more. They're ideal as part of a MICE program, especially from the point of view of incentives and team building.

Do you cater to MICE?

Yes, we do. Our adventure, geisha and sake options are particularly suited to MICE, especially from the point of view of meetings, incentives and team building. Combinations of two or three of these options are a great way to reward high-performing employees or build relationships through shared experiences. Participants will also learn about key elements of Japanese culture, some of which are relevant to service and quality. We can also arrange meetings at Shikoku's various companies.

What adventure options do you offer?

We can arrange the following adventure options;

  • Rafting
  • Canoeing
  • Sea kayaking
  • Paragliding
  • Diving and seawalking
  • Snowboarding and skiing
  • Canyoning
  • Whalewatching

These options are all available as part of a MICE package too.

What do the geisha of Shikoku do?

Although geisha are typically associated with Kyōto and Tōkyo, geisha are also active in Shikoku. Let it be said right away – geisha are consummate entertainers. Whatever their age (and not everybody is young), they offer traditional Japanese style, music, dance, conversation, games and hospitality, which can be enjoyed equally by women and men. Their services are typically provided in the context of good food and drink. 

For more detailed information, see our blog post (opens in a new window).

Are there any power spots in Shikoku?

Yes, there are. 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.

For more detailed information, see our blog post (opens in a new window).

What transportation routes are there to Shikoku?

You can get to Shikoku by road, rail, ferry, and air.

For more detailed information, see our blog post (opens in a new window).

Why don't you show prices?

Because it's illegal, and anyway, we dislike the practice of showing 'starting prices' (i.e., completely fanciful figures).

Our tours are custom tours where you choose your route, accommodation and activities. The price will differ greatly according to the season, the grade of accommodation, your choice of transport and so on. Japanese law forbids 'indicative' pricing for this kind of tour.

Where we offer package tours, we show the price clearly.

Is Shikoku expensive?

No. Prices of everything in Shikoku are very reasonable to cheap compared with destinations in other developed countries. Although Japan had a reputation as an expensive destination, that's no longer true at all. And since the price of many things in Shikoku is significantly lower than on Honshu, you may be pleasantly surprised by how far your money goes here.

Will I have to eat raw fish?

No. The widely believed notion that Japanese eat raw fish all the time is incorrect. Raw fish (sashimi and sushi) play quite a small part in the typical Japanese diet. Fish is more often served cooked (grilled, stewed, steamed and so on) than uncooked. And the Japanese also eat a lot of meat too. So if you don't fancy eating raw fish, it's easy enough to avoid it.