Shikoku is one of Japan’s four principal islands. Shikoku region is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshu and east of Kyushu. Shikoku literally means “four countries”, and it indeed consists of four ancient countries (now prefectures) on Shikoku island. Each prefecture also has an old provincial name: Awa (Tokushima), Iyo (Ehime), Sanuki (Kagawa), Tosa (Kochi), still often found in everywhere.
Seto Inland Sea or Seto-Naikai , a tranquil body of water studded with numerous islands and islets of varied shapes, stretches from Honshu to the island of Shikoku and Kyushu for a distance of 500 km (311 mi.). At its widest point, from north to south, it measures 64 km (40 mi.) and, at its narrowest point, 7 km (4.3 mi.). Dotted with more than 3,000 pine-covered islands and islets, the Inland Sea is one of the most picturesque seas inthe world.
Ehime is situated in the northwestern part of Shikoku. Ehime literary means “lovely princess”. As the name indicates, the climate is warm and mild and it is rich in the beautiful nature. It is surrounded by Seto Inland Sea, or the Aegean Sea of the Orient, and Shikoku Mountains Range including Mt. Ishizuchi, the highest peak in western Japan. Blessed with the abundant nature, our unique history and culture as well as traditional spirit of hospitality have been cultivated.
Kagawa is situated in the northeastern part of Shikoku. The Sanuki Mountain Range, a chain of 1,000-meter-high mountains including Mt. Ryuo-zan, the highest of all at some 1,060 meters above sea level, runs through the southern part of the prefecture. The Sanuki Plains stretch out to the north, and the Seto Inland Sea is dotted with 116 islands of all sizes, including Shodo-shima Island.
Under the rule of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Takamatsu was founded and has prospered as a castle town since Takamatsu Castle was built here in 1588. Today, Takamatsu serves as a major arrival point on Shikoku and a convenient starting point for exploring the island thanks to the completion of the Seto-Ohashi Bridge in 1988.
Located in the south of Shikoku, Kochi is ringed by rugged mountains to the north, and its arc-like southern coastline traces the outline of Tosa Bay. To the east is Cape Muroto, and to the west, Cape Ashizuri, with gently undulating sandy beaches stretching between these two extreme points. The prefecture also boasts the mystical limestone caves of Ryu-ga-do, and the beautiful sands and green pines of Katsura-hama Beach.
Situated in the eastern part of Shikoku, Tokushima is surrounded by mountains topping 1,000 meters on three sides. The prefecture is blessed with sightseeing spots highlighted by magnificent nature, such as the Naruto area (which is part of the Seto Inland Sea National Park), the Tokushima area (which has Bisan, the symbol of Tokushima), the Mt. Tsurugi-san Iya Valley area, and the Anan coastal area.