Planning Your Time

A few days are enough to sample Shikoku's main pleasures, but a week on the island will allow you to discover some hidden treasures. If your time is limited, tour a major city and a rural area—Tokushima and the Iya Valley, for instance, or Takamatsu and Naoshima, or Matsuyama and the Shimanami Kaido bridges. If you have a week, add a trip to Kochi and another rural area. Express trains circle Shikoku, and the drive between most points on the island usually takes no more than four hours, so it might seem possible to cram a lot into your time. But Shikoku runs a bit slower than does mainland Japan. Ease into the same leisurely pace as the locals and take the time to linger at rural temples, chat with Buddhist pilgrims, and enjoy long lunches in the surprisingly sophisticated restaurants.

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