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12-Day Shikoku Itinerary – Ultimate Road Trip Guide to Traveling Japan’s Hidden Gem

ozu castle aerial photo in 12 day shikoku itinerary

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Are you ready for an adventure that takes you off the beaten path in Japan? Look no further than Shikoku, a hidden gem that promises to leave you in awe. This stunning island, tucked away from the bustling crowds, offers a unique blend of natural wonders, rich cultural heritage, and tranquil landscapes. Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Japan’s smallest main island on this 12-day Shikoku itinerary. 

By using this guide, you’ll learn the intricacies of how a road trip around the island of Shikoku can look like. Through my personal experiences, you’ll get deeper insight into this region than anywhere else.

What You’ll Get Out of This Article

  • Day-by-day breakdown that covers how to build a 12-day itinerary in Shikoku.
  • Critical details for important activities and sights you won’t find anywhere else such as which locations are cash-only, how to make reservations, critical mistakes you don’t want to make, and more.
  • Google Map of all locations on the itinerary.
  • Downloadable access to the itinerary spreadsheet.

My Shikoku Journey

ozu castle aerial photo in 12 day shikoku itinerary

Knowing that I’d be coming from a week in Tokyo and having done the Golden Route through our 12 day Japan itinerary, I asked experts I knew, where they’d recommend if I wanted to somewhere completely off-the-beaten-path. Shikoku was mentioned a few times and what I heard intrigued me.

From there, I started planning a journey through somewhere that I could tell hadn’t been discovered by the masses. Online information was sparse and not well consolidated. Thankfully Shikoku Tours was there to help fill in some of the gaps but I was determined to do it fully independently.

Digging in, I quickly realized that there are a few primary ways Shikoku is explored:

  1. Pilgrimage – Known as the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage or Shikoku Hendo, this involves travellers centering their trip around visiting many of the sacred Buddhist sites on the circular-shaped route. Most don’t do all 88 but do a selection of the highlights and combine walking with public transit, go with a private guide, or do special bicycle tours.
  2. Cycling – The second major interest in Shikoku is cycling, especially with the Shimanami Kaido route where you get to bike on Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge, crossing the Seto Inland Sea. You can do day trips or…

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