Hear about travel to the Island of Shikoku, Japan as the Amateur Traveler talks to Dan from Chicago about his recent trip back to the island.
Dan also worked teaching English on Shikoku in the city of Imabari. Shikoku is the 4th largest of the islands in Japan and just across the from Hiroshima. Shikoku is mountainous, more traditional, and more rural than the areas of Japan more tourists know.
Dan recommends you start your visit in Matsuyama. Visit the Matsuyama Castle which is one of only 12 castles left in Japan leftover from the feudal period. He also recommends the Dogo Onsen (hot springs bath). It is large and very old, with baths here dating back 1000 years. It was used to model the bathhouse in the movie “Spirit Away” and was the favorite retreat of author Natsume S?seki who the city is very proud of. Also, visit the Dogo Train Station.
Dan does recommend his old hometown of Imabari. It is not a tourist city per se, but more a “normal” city. Towel manufacturing is a major industry here and the towel museum is an unusually interesting stop. Besides good towel shopping, and towel manufacturing exhibits, it also displays art constructed of towels or created by towel artists. This is an area of Japan where you might get some stares if you don’t look Japanese as it doesn’t get a lot of tourists. Dan also recommends biking across the long bridge that connects Imabari to the main island via a number of smaller islands.
Imabari is also known for Yakitori (chicken on a stick) and the Yakitori Olympics festival. Many cities in Japan have their own festivals and Dan describes getting caught up in one in a story that ends with him riding a horse through town.
Shikoku is also known for a pilgrimage to 88 Buddhist temples on the island. That may be too many temples for most tourists but he does recommend visiting some of the temples along the route.
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