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Shikoku quandary 2021/12/12 06:32
Hi everybody

First time poster here. I've been reading lots of posts on this forum and it seems everybody is really helpful; great answers and suggestions.

I had planned to visit Japan in Sep 2020 but of course that didn't happen. However I'm still planning the finer details of my intended 3-week trip and that keeps my enthusiasm going, ready for the day when I can visit.

I won't post my full itinerary but it's got the usual places on it - Tokyo, Kyoto, etc. But I do want to pay a visit to Shikoku (probably via boat from Hiroshime). There's a museum in Matsuyama that I want to visit and after that I'd originally intended to take the train to Uwajima and then on to Kochi on the Yodo line. However I'm finding that timings on that line are not working too well. I have a timetable (PDF) but there seems to be a great gap in the day when trains don't run - perhaps my timetable isn't current. Also Hyperdia doesn't tell me much more - suggestions for Uwajima -> Kochi usually go back via Matsuyama, around the top to Takamatsu and down again. Time-wise it might be the same but the Yodo line looks more scenic. Is it?

So I'm thinking should I hire a car from Uwajima, drive via Kochi and drop off in Takamatsu (I know there's an extra charge but it's not too bad) or should I drop Kochi completely and get to Takamatsu (for onward travel to Okayama) on the Yosan line?

What's Kochi like for tourists? It's not on my list especially but would be a sensible overnight place.

by washboardmac  

Re: Shikoku quandary 2021/12/12 09:25
Shikoku is much more rural and slow paced compared to Honshu. The same is also true of how you get around Shikoku. It takes a lot longer to drive or to take public transport around than most places in Japan.

In general - Shikoku is definitely worth a visit but I'd normally say that it's more of a 2nd or 3rd trip to Japan visit.

You were talking about how to get around Shikoku - but this really depends on how long you are intending of staying on the island.

Google maps these days is also quite good in predicting train journeys.

This is just my personal opinion - but I think Shikoku is best enjoyed at a slower pace with a particular emphasis on some of the art islands in the Seto Sea.

Kochi city is quite nice and has some stuff to do. It's also a nice prefecture to drive around - specifically if you like rocky cliffs.

To make comments about times - could you give us a bit of a breakdown of what/when you intend to travel so we have some understanding of timing. For example

Day 1: Matsuyama --> BLAH

That will give us an idea of where you want to go and make suggestions. We don't know if you are intending on taking 2 or 5 days for this trip.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Shikoku quandary 2021/12/12 13:27
Yes, if you can add detail, that would help. If you are just seeing the cities, then you can go by train if you don't want to drive. But for somewhere like Shikoku, especially if you want to see some rural gems, then renting a car makes far more sense, and for many places is the only practical way at all.
For your plans, I actually went the reverse and went from Kochi to Uwajima - I did it directly, without going through Matsuyama. It was really slow, and in fact a "one man car" - for the 2nd half of the journey, I was the only passenger on the whole train.
Kochi is not bad, but to me, Takamatsu and Matsuyama would be the most interesting cities. Uwajima had some good sights, and Kotohira has a magnificent half day hike. I'm not clear on where you are starting and ending up, but the JR Setouchi Area Pass might be helpful for you.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Shikoku quandary 2021/12/12 18:16
I went to Shikoku about 7 years ago for a week and did rent a car. There are just a lot of more rural places, temples, rivers that are worthwhile seeing, rather than cities.
In Kochi specifically I enjoyed the castle (one of the few original ones) and the tuna. If you are coming from the South West I would also add a day at Shimanto river. Maybe some hiking if cycling. Or a small river cruise.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Shikoku quandary 2021/12/18 00:23
It is true that the lines between Uwajima and Kochi (namely Uwajima to Kubokawa) are inconvenient and infrequent.
At the moment, the latest train from Uwajima to Kochi via transfer at Kubokawa leaves at 17:30. That's not really so bad. There isn't much going on in Uwajima in the evening. You won't be able to do anything in Kochi when you arrive, but making the most of Uwajima or other sites en route to Uwajima from Matsuyama should not leave you feeling like you lost a day. And you'll then be in Kochi to start exploring in the morning.

I personally really like Kochi. Kochi Castle is great, and Katsurahama is pretty and rather famous. The Katsuo no Tataki is a must for food. and there are nearby places, like Sakawa, Kami, Ino, etc. that are worthwhile if you have the time. Both of the capes are also good, but if you explore Ashizuri, you will benefit greatly with the car rental from Uwajima and stopping along the way to Kochi.
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

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