Despite being the smallest of Japan’s major islands, Shikoku contains countless photogenic spots. Here are some of the most beautiful spots that are definitely not to be missed! If you’re travelling across different prefectures, this is the perfect list for you.
Tatsukushi Sea Area Park - Rockin' piece of art
Tatsukushi Sea Area Park is renowned as an amazing natural beauty in terms of geological landscapes. The first marine park in the country, Tastukushi has a wide range of fish species and a beautiful scenery of the sea formed by the tropical climate. Surrounding facilities include the Tatsukushi and Minokoshi Coast, comprising geologic museums and marine models. Visitors will be able to see various unique underwater sights during the touring experience, making this the perfect spot for families, nature lovers and photographers who appreciate the wonders of nature.
Shimanto River - The Clear-Flowing River in Japan
Shimanto River is one of the “Three Clear-Flowing Rivers in Japan”, alongside the Nagara River in Gifu prefecture and Kakita River in Shizuoka Prefecture. The 196km (122 miles) long river is clear of dams and far from major cities, thus earning its title. The prefecture has preserved 47 chinkabashi (low water crossings) as cultural heritage along the river, and thus making perfect spots to get a shot of this picturesque scene.
Cape SadaMisaki, Sadamisaki Peninsula - Nature's beautiful gift at sunset
Sadamisaki Peninsula is the narrowest peninsula in Japan. At the Cape SadaMisaki horizon, the sunset becomes one with the ocean, making this one of the most iconic places to go to for sunsets. Surrounded by greenery, the area is also a refreshing choice for family trips.
The sunset is not the only photogenic moment along the peninsula. On sunny days, one can see as far as Kyushu. Another highlight is the elegant white SadaMisaki Light House, which is bound to produce the postcard-worthy photo against the breathtaking nature at Cape SadaMisaki.
Aoshima - Real-life NekoAtsume
Cats, cats, and more cats. Aoshima is a paradise for cat lovers, and is one of the few cat islands that recently have been gaining publicity and popularity. Cats outnumber humans six to one on the island. Have you ever played the mobile game “NekoAtsume”? Play the game in real life now at Aoshima! The best route to get there from the mainland of Shikoku would be from Nagahama port. To get to the port, the nearest JR train station is Iyo-nagahama. The boat ride is about 35 minutes one way, though the frequency of boat service is only twice in a day! Thus, you will leave at 8am from Nagahama port and then return from Aoshima at 4:15pm. Return ticket costs 1,360 JPY (12.70 USD). Just for your information, there isn’t any shops to buy food and drinks on this island. Thus, make sure to prepare some food!
Shodoshima Angel Road, Shodoshima International Hotel: Make your dreams come true
There is a small island accessible through a small sandy road that narrows during high tide, beside the seaside resort Angel Road. It is said that if you cross the road whilst holding hands with your beloved, your wishes will be granted. With breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, a well-lit scenery at night, this is an especially romantic destination for couples regardless of the time of the day. This natural wonder is a must go!
Iyakei / Iya Valley, Tokushima Prefecture - The GORGEous Valley
Iya Valley contains 2 famous gorges, Koboke gorge and Oboke gorge. Characterized by a mountainous forest with rocky rivers, the valley is suited for adventurous travelers. A popular destination for whitewater rafting and canyoning, it is also known for the beautiful natural scenery, emerald green rivers and perilous, jagged, rocky walls.
Make sure to find the Manneken Pis Peeing Boy Statue standing at the edge of the 200 meters (656 feet) high cliff as if he is peeing down into the valley below. Local folklore says passing travelers would climb out to pee off the cliff to showcase their bravery. Recently though, a metal railing has been put in place due to safety concerns.
The Iya Valley is also home to the Kazurabashi (Kazura bridge). It is one of the last 3 suspension bridges out of the 13 built entirely out of mountain vines in the past that still exist. It used to be the only way of crossing the rivers in the valley. Crossing it will definitely be an exhilarating experience you will not forget, be it due to the view of the gaps between the wooden boards of the bridge, or the beautiful scenery around the bridge that changes according to the seasons.
Ritsurin Garden - A worthwhile place to visit
Take a trip back to the Edo period at the Ritsurin Garden! Enjoy the garden as past feudal lords did, or take a romantic boat ride with your loved ones. Situated in the city of Takamatsu, Ritsurin Garden is one of the most famous historical gardens in Japan and is ageless in its beauty. It is featured in the Michelin tour guide as a place worth taking the time to visit, with the highest rating of 3 stars. There are many pavilions located in the gardens where you can rest your weary legs, and perhaps have a sip of Japanese green tea for a small fee while enjoying the scenery.
Benesse Art Site Naoshima - An island of art, an island that is art
Hailed as a world famous modern art site, this place is perfect for those looking for some inspiration, or those who just want to check out some of Japan’s modern art. The port houses various art pieces, the buildings are artistic, the whole island itself is a work of art! This island is in the middle of Seto Inland Sea. It is also a good place to cycle along the seaside and to check out the sunset view. The island is accessible by Takamatsu port, where it is a 5-minute-walk from JR Takamatsu station. Ferry to Miyaura port (which is one of the two seaports in Naoshima) is available and usually it takes 40 minutes and the frequency is between 1 hour and 1.5 hour.
Get your cameras out and start snapping away!
So what are you waiting for? Get ready to have the most beautiful trips of your life with these photogenic spots. Pack your camera, selfie sticks and sneakers, and embark on your very own Shikoku trip!