All posts filed under: Area Guides

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Matsuyama and Dōgo Onsen

Matsuyama, the capital of Ehime prefecture, is located up on the North-West coast of Shikoku. It’s a well-connected and busy city, but I passed through en-route to the Shimanami Kaidō with just one key goal: to get to the famous Dōgo Onsen and have a soak. As it happened, things ended up a lot more interesting […]

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Cape Ashizuri and Oki Beach

The Iya Valley might be the part of Shikoku most visited by people wanting to see the remote countryside, but the far South of the island, around Cape Ashizuri, feels like the most remote part. It’s rugged, beautiful, hardly touristed and well worth a day of your time – if you can get there. Arriving and Transport This […]

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Kouchi

On the south coast of Shikoku, Kouchi has a notable castle and some beautiful parks and temples. It’s also home to a great food market where you can eat and drink into the night, and makes a good starting point for any trip to Shikoku’s south west cape. Arriving and Transport Kouchi is easy to […]

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The Iya Valley

The Iya Valley, made famous by the book “Lost Japan”, is a beautiful, ragged region in the heart of Shikoku where clear blue rivers cut down steep, wooded gorges, and homes perch up on the hillsides, linked only by winding switchback roads.

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Tokushima

If you’re planning a trip around Shikoku, Tokushima is a natural starting point – partly because of easy transport links from Honshu, and partly because it’s also the start of the island’s traditional circular pilgrimage route. It’s a great place to fight off the jet-lag, see some beautiful temples, and make the most of tasty […]

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Biei

On the train between Furano and Asahikawa, I couldn’t resist stopping in the tiny, pretty town of Biei. I only had time to visit for a couple of hours, but it’s so lovely that I wanted to mention it here to encourage others to visit. Like Furano, Biei is a beautiful countryside town, surrounded by […]

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Furano

Furano is found in the centre of Hokkaido, ringed by beautiful snow-capped mountains, and is a tourist spot for two reasons: in winter it’s a ski resort, and in summer people come to see the colourful fields and lavender farms. In spring, caught between those two, it’s wonderfully quiet.

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Otaru

Otaru lies to the northeast of Sapporo, and in the winter is on the train route to the ski resort of Niseko. In spring or summer, though, it’s a major domestic tourism destination. I visited overnight in May 2014. To get to Otaru, take a futsuu train from Sapporo’s JR station – it’s not far, and […]

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Sapporo

Furano might be the middle of Hokkaido, but Sapporo is its economic centre – it’s the biggest city on the island, and serves as the hub for its transit links too. It’s also a pleasant, modern city that’s well worth exploring for a few days. Famous for the snow festival, held every February, Sapporo holds plenty to […]