The 12-day Shikoku itinerary takes you through one of the most diverse and interesting major islands of Japan. It starts out cycling, then progresses through canoeing, rafting and hiking to shrines, rustic towns, high-altitude natural wonders and beautiful canyons – winding up on the stunning art island Naoshima.
Art, nature, contemporary and ancient culture all coexist in Shikoku; it’s home to some of the most sacred sites of Buddhism and Shinto, as well as some landscapes unlike any other in Japan or the world. Immerse yourself!
Arrive in Onomichi via the JR line, and get your cycling gear on. The Shimanami Kaido is an expressway connecting the islands of the Seto Inland Sea and its cycling bridges are modern, beautiful and safe; a stunning way to see the islands. It’s 70km in total, but can still be managed in a day (though we’ll break it up).En-route you can stop off at Omishima Island, a hotspot of contemporary art and architecture with a selection of fascinating museums. Naoshima may be the more famous art island for now, but Omishima is racing to catch up.
Things to see and do
A short walk from JR Onomichi station is the very pretty Mt Senkoji, where travellers can enjoy cherry blossom, wisteria, azaleas and a gorgeous view.
Tokoro Museum of Art
One of several art museums on Omishima Island, Tokoro features contemporary art with a dash of humour and irreverence – well worth a visit.
Omishima Museum of Art
Located next to the Oyamazumi Shrine, the Omishima Museum of Art exhibits close to 1,000 works of Japanese modern art, from paintings to bronze work.
Stay overnight on Omishima Island – the southwest for proximity to most of the major museums, or in the east to be closer to the cycling path:
Kochi Castle is one of the few castles where the keep was also the home of the lord.
The first piece of art on Naoshima was Karel Appel’s Frog and Cat sculpture, installed in 1990.
Shikoku means ‘four provinces’, which were the administrative divisions prior to prefectures. There are still four prefectures on the island.
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