Feature: Surfing Japan-style

It's not the North Shore of Oʻahu, but Southern Tokushima is a Japanese surfer's paradise, with great waves and relatively few surfers in the water. Despite the prevalence of concrete on the shoreline, this region has attractive beaches and relaxed, friendly locals – some of whom have been world travellers and can speak English. The area is growing as a destination, with alternative lifestylers moving in, setting up tourism-related lifestyle businesses and catering for a growing number of visiting foreigners.

Shishikui (宍喰) in Tokushima and the two-street beach-bum town of Ikumi (生見), just over the border in Kōchi are prime spots. In Shishikui, check into the budget rooms with the good folks at Pavilion Surf, who used to live in Hawaii, take a surfing or SUP lesson, or just rent a board. There's great food at Bahati, a couple of minutes' walk down the road, where surfboards hang from the rafters and surf photos adorn the walls. If diving or snorkelling is your thing, head to the nearby Kaanapali Diving Center.