Shikoku is also famous for its 88-temple pilgrimage of temples associated with the priest Kūkai. Most modern-day pilgrims travel by bus, rarely choosing the old-fashioned method of going by foot. They are seen wearing white jackets emblazoned with the characters reading dōgyō ninin meaning “two traveling together”.
Tokushima Prefecture, at the eastern end of Shikoku, also has its annual Awa Odori Festival in August at the time of the Obon festival. This festival of street processions, folk and eccentric dancing where everyone can join in, attracts thousands of tourists each year from all over Japan and from abroad.
You can explore Shikoku by rail with the nationwide Japan Rail Pass, or the regional rail pass of JR Shikoku.
As mentioned above, the ride to the island is a picturesque bike ride, of around 70km. But if you don’t feel up to that, bicycle hire is available most of the year. With little traffic on the roads, exploring Shikoku by bicycle is particularly recommended.
From Tokyo, take the Bullet train to Okayama and change to local trains to cross to the eastern part of Shikoku.
From Hiroshima, you can take a ferry across the “Inland Sea” to Matsuyama on the west side on Shikoku (2.5 hrs). It’s a relaxed and picturesque trip.