Shikoku is the smallest of Japan's four islands.
Events and Festivals
- Japanese New Year (January 1) - the most important holiday in Japan. Although there are lots of customs and traditions most of them are done in the private. This is mainly a family holiday and Japan can feel very empty as almost everyone goes home. Travelling in Japan in during this time is difficult because everything is shut down.
- Seijin No Hi (2nd Monday of January) - the coming of age holiday for Japanese women which 20. Traditionally families will buy any young woman how turned 20 in the last year a kimono. On this day almost all Japanese women will ear a kimono.
- Hin Festival (March 3) - Also known as doll festival the Hin Matsuri festival is meant for young women. In early february families with daughters put dolls in order to make the women happy and healthy later in life. On Girls Day, on March 3, the dolls are put away until next year.
- Shichi Go San Festival (Novermber 5) - Boys who are 3 and 5, and girls 3 and 7 are taken to a shinto shrine in traditional Japanese dress. The children are brought there to pray for good luck, good health and wealth.
- Golden Week - Is quite often referred to as the "Japanese Spring Break." It is a combination of many state holidays, including Showa Day, Greenery Day, Children's Day, and Constitution Memorial Day in order to give a full week off. It takes place during the first full week of May. Everyone gets this week off in Japan so it is very bad time to travel because everything is crowded, expensive and most hotels will be full.
Other Events and Festivals
- O-Bon (Festival of the Dead) - Usually held in August, this festival is observed nationwide in Japan. Buddhist tradition dictates this is the day the dead return to earth to visit their relatives. Lanterns are hung outside homes and offerings to the spirits are made. In the evening, people float the lanterns on the river to help guide the deceased back to their resting place.
- Hanami and Cherry Blossom Festivals - A tradition all over Japan, Hanami literally means viewing flowers. Picnic under the beautiful flowing trees in any public park during this special season. Usually lasting for only two weeks in March, the sakura (cherry blossom) schedule changes a bit every year, so it’s hard to nail down exactly when to come.
Matsuyama Airport (MYJ) has regular flights to/from Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Nagoya, Seoul, Shanghai, Fukuoka and Kagoshima.
Shikoku can be reached by train from neighbouring Honshu cities like Hiroshiima. There are also night trains, for example to Takamatsu, the main gateway on the island. Check Hyperdia for schedules and prices.
Many bus companies operate buses to main cities and towns on Shikoku and onwards to the mainland. Willer Express goes to Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo, while Iyo Tetsu Bus goes to Fukuoka (10 hours).
There is regular ferry service to Hiroshima from Matsuyama including a speedy hydrofoil service taking less than 1.5 hours. There are also slower and longer ferries, including to Kobe and to Kyushu island. Setonaikai is one of the operators and Ishizaki is another one. The slower ferries take about 2.5 hours but are twice as cheap (about 3,500 yen instead of 7,000 one-way!). Sunflower ferries goes to Kokura in Kitakyushu and travel at night. It also runs the ferry between Osaka and Beppu which stops in Matsuyama on its way to Osaka, but not the other way around!