Highlights in Shikoku region
Shikoku region, which is one of the major four islands along with Hokkaido, Honshu and Kyushu, consists of the following four prefectures: Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime and Kochi. The highest altitude in Shikoku is 1982 meter of Mt. Ishizuchi. It is the highest mountain in western Japan. The area of Shikoku is the 50th largest among islands in the world.
Honshu-Shikoku Bridge is a road/railroad route that connects Honshu and Shikoku with bridges. There are three routes: Kobe · Naruto Route, Kojima · Sakaide Route, Onomichi and Imabari Route. With these routes, transportation from Honshu becomes convenient. The Ocean Tokyu Ferrythat sails from Tokyo stops at Tokushima and then connects to Shinmoji port of Fukuoka Prefecture.
Naruto Bridge and Whirlpool currents
The Naruto Strait, which is well known for its whirlpools currents, is the most famous sightseeing spot in Tokushima prefecture. Whirlpool sightseeing boats are in operation so that you can feel the power of whirlpool at a very short distance. The whirlpools can be also seen from Onaruto Bridge, but we recommend that you see it from “Uzu no Michi.
“Uzu no Michi” is a promenade that is set in the girder space of the Onaruto Bridge. You can enjoy a maritime walk to the observation room that is about 450 meter away from the promenade. The observation room at the end is glass-walled so you can see both the Pacific Sea and the Seto inland Sea. Glasses for viewing the whirlpools is also set on the floor so that you can look down at the Naruto whirlpools 45 meters below. We know without a doubt that it will bring you a great thrill and a deep impression.
Shikoku region is also famous for being the land of “Ohenro”, in which people visit various sacred places in this region. Ohenro originally means pilgrimage. The participants of Ohenro make a pilgrimage to the 88 temples associated with the famous Buddhist monk Ku-kai (as known as Ko-bo- Daishi) which are located around the four prefectures in Shikoku.
The first temple to visit is Reizan-ji of Tokushima and the last one is Okubo-dera of Kagawa. Although some pilgrims visit go on Ohenro by foot as if ancient pilgrims did, recently it is more common to make pilgrimage by bus.
The people of Shikoku you will encounter during the pilgrimage may be all warmhearted.
If you successfully visit all the 88 temples, people will call it “Kechigan”, which means that you are detached from all worldly desires and obtained a peaceful mind.
The entire pilgrimage takes 1 or 2 months on foot and about 10-14 days by car.
Because it takes so long time to conquer it on foot, more and more people are starting to use buses and taxis to move from one place to another.
If you want to visit the first temple Reizan-ji, we recommend that you take the long course ferry that sails from Tokyo port or from Shin-Moji port of Kyushu
Recently, not only people from all over Japan but also other countries come to Shikoku to make this pilgrimage. Sanuki Udon in Kagawa Prefecture and Naruto Ohashi in Tokushima Prefecture are popular.
The birthplace of Sanuki Udon
Sanuki Udon is a type of udon and is one of the specialties of Kagawa prefecture. Local-made wheat, salt, soy sauce, and dried baby sardines called “Iriko” are decisive factors for its taste. In 2011, Kagawa Prefecture and the Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association launched a tourism campaign named “Udon-ken”, with the purpose of promoting Sanuki udon.
Why don’t you try their food when you visit places such as Ritsurin Garden, Zentsu-ji the Seventy-fifth Buddhist Temple, Kompira Shrine?