Must-see attractions in Shikoku

  • Tokushima, Shikoku, Japan, North-East Asia, Asia

    Nagoro

    Shikoku

    If you're travelling along Rte 439, it's not a matter of 'blink and you'll miss it', but blink, and blink again, because you may have a hard time…

  • Kazurabashi vine bridge in Japan's Iya Valley

    Oku Iya Ni-jū Kazura-bashi

    Shikoku

    Away from the crowds and tour buses, the spectacular Oku Iya Ni-jū Kazura-bashi are two secluded vine bridges hanging side by side high over the river…

  • Detail from Konpira Jinja, a shrine on Mount Konpira in Shikoku, Japan.

    Konpira-san

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Konpira-san or, more formally, Kotohira-gū, was originally a Buddhist and Shintō temple dedicated to the guardian of mariners. It became exclusively a…

  • Japan, Kochi Prefecture, Kochi Castle

    Kōchi-jō

    Shikoku

    Kōchi-jō is one of just a dozen castles in Japan to have survived with its original tenshu-kaku (keep) intact. The castle was originally built during the…

  • Ritsurin-kōen

    Kagawa Prefecture

    One of the most beautiful gardens in the country, Ritsurin-kōen dates from the mid-1600s and took more than a century to complete. Designed as a walking…

  • Temple 75: Zentsū-ji

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Zentsū-ji, Temple 75 of the sacred 88, is the largest of the temples – most of the other 87 could fit in its car park. This is where Kōbō Daishi was born,…

  • Temple 66: Unpen-ji

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Unpen-ji, aptly meaning 'Temple of the Surrounding Clouds', is the highest of the 88 Temples at 900m. Surprisingly, it actually sits in Tokushima…

  • Shikoku-mura

    Kagawa Prefecture

    About 500m north of Yashima station, Shikoku-mura is an excellent village museum that houses old buildings transported here from all over Shikoku and…

  • Marugame-jō

    Kagawa Prefecture

    This small castle dates from 1597. It took five years to build and is one of only 12 castles in Japan to have its original wooden donjon intact. It's…

  • Kōchi Castle Museum of History

    Shikoku

    This new museum (opened in 2017), celebrating the history of Kōchi castle, is an architectural achievement in its own right. Entry is free to the museum…

  • Temple 88: Ōkubo-ji

    Kagawa Prefecture

    The last of the Shikoku pilgrimage's 88 Temples sits in the mountains in the southeast of Kagawa Prefecture and is well worth a visit. It's fitting that…

  • Temple 38: Kongōfuku-ji

    Shikoku

    The grounds of Temple 38, set on dramatic Ashizuri-misaki, feel incredibly tropical and consist of a diverse array of small temples, statues, gardens and…

  • Sunday Market

    Shikoku

    Our favourite street market in Shikoku is 300 years old and takes place every Sunday along 1.3km of Ōte-suji, the main road leading to the castle. Around…

  • Kanamaru-za

    Kagawa Prefecture

    This is Japan's oldest kabuki playhouse, though it had a lengthy stint as a cinema before falling out of use. Nowadays it has sporadic shows, but can be…

  • Temple 31: Chikurin-ji

    Shikoku

    At Godaisan in the east of the city, you'll find Chikurin-ji, Temple 31 of the 88. The extensive grounds feature a five-storey pagoda and thousands of…

  • Temple 85: Yakuri-ji

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Half the fun of visiting Yakuri-ji may be riding the retro cable car up and down to the temple, but this is a spectacular place in its own right, sitting…

  • Ino Japanese Paper Museum

    Shikoku

    Discover the history and development of washi (Japanese paper) at Ino, about 10km west of downtown Kōchi. There are demonstrations of nagashizuki…

  • Peeing Boy Statue

    Shikoku

    The Iya Valley's famous statue of a boy peeing into the gorge is turning 50! Put in place in 1968, 'Peeing Boy' has been photographed urinating into the…

  • Ryūga-dō

    Shikoku

    This popular cave has some interesting stalactites and stalagmites, and traces of prehistoric habitation. The route gets quite steep in places. Visitors…

  • Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Born in Los Angeles to a Japanese poet and an American writer, Noguchi (1904–1988) set up a studio and residence here in 1970. Today the complex is filled…

  • Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum

    Shikoku

    At Katsura-hama, this museum tells the story of hometown hero Sakamoto Ryōma. Born in Kōchi in 1835, Ryōma brought about the alliance between the Satsuma …

  • Temple 73: Shusshaka-ji

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Temple 73 on the 88 Temple Circuit, Shusshaka-ji was moved to the valley 200 years ago to make it more accessible to pilgrims. Before that, it was up a…

  • Temple 84: Yashima-ji

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Yashima-ji, Temple 84 of the 88, sits atop the tabletop mountain of Yashima, to the east of Takamatsu. This was the site of a decisive battle between the…

  • Godaisan

    Shikoku

    Several kilometres east of the town centre is the mountain of Godaisan, where you can enjoy excellent views of the city from a lookout point (展望台). Near…

  • Takamatsu-jō

    Kagawa Prefecture

    The site of Takamatsu's castle now forms delightful Tamamo-kōen, a park where the walls and seawater moat survive, along with several of the original…

  • Zenigata

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Zenigata is a 350m-circumference coin-shaped sculpture in the sand dating from 1633. The coin and its inscription are formed by huge trenches dug in the…

  • Temples 68 & 69: Jinne-in & Kanon-ji

    Kagawa Prefecture

    These two temples, said to have been founded in AD 703, are notable in that this is the only point on the pilgrimage trail where two of the 88 Temples…

  • Kinryō-no-Sato Sake Museum

    Kagawa Prefecture

    This sake museum, located along the main approach to the shrine, is in the old premises of a brewery that has owned the building since 1789. There's an…

  • Harimaya-bashi

    Shikoku

    This tiny reconstructed bridge from the Edo period is renowned throughout Japan thanks to a romantic song in which it features. For older Japanese people,…

  • Takamatsu City Museum of Art

    Kagawa Prefecture

    This impressive inner-city gallery is testament to Takamatsu's quality art scene. The light and spacious refitting of a former Bank of Japan building is a…

  • Uchiwa-no-Minato Museum

    Kagawa Prefecture

    This museum has displays and demonstrations on how uchiwa (round paper fans) are made. Around 90% of Japan's uchiwa are still made in Marugame. You can…

  • Higashiyama Kaii Setouchi Art Museum

    Kagawa Prefecture

    Set on the waterfront of the Inland Sea with a sweeping view of Seto-ōhashi, this museum showcases the works of landscape painter Higashiyama Kaii (1908…

  • Sanuki Folkcraft Museum

    Kagawa Prefecture

    This museum in Ritsurin-kōen displays local crafts, household goods, furniture and roof tiles in its four halls, dating back to the Tokugawa dynasty.

  • Katsura-hama

    Shikoku

    Katsura-hama is a popular beach 12km south of central Kōchi at the point where Kōchi's harbour empties out into the bay. Strong currents prohibit swimming…

  • Kazura-bashi

    Shikoku

    This remarkable vine bridge is one of only three left in the valley – the other two are further east in Higashi Iya. Unfortunately this one has been…

  • John Manjirō Statue

    Shikoku

    On a bluff at Ashizuri-misaki is an imposing statue of local hero John Manjirō. Born in 1836 as Nakahama Manjirō, the young fisherman was swept onto Tori…

  • Buke Yashiki

    Shikoku

    Several kilometres up a narrow, winding road near Kyōjō, Buke Yashiki is a restored thatched-roof samurai-house museum commanding spectacular views of the…

  • Lapis Ōboke

    Shikoku

    Lapis Ōboke is a geology and local yōkai (ghost) museum. There are interesting rocks on display, but the reason to stop is to get acquainted with the…

  • Hōmotsu-kan

    Kagawa Prefecture

    The first notable landmark on the long climb at Konpira-san is Ō-mon, a stone gateway that leads to Hōmotsu-kan, where the collection of treasures is…

  • Higashi Iya History & Folk Museum

    Shikoku

    This folk museum is in a large red building in Kyōjō, right by the main road. It displays historic artefacts and daily-use tools of the valley, as well as…