Recommended Route Shikoku (Ehime & Kochi)
Explore the best of Shikoku by e-bike and SUP
Shikoku is an island in southwest Japan. It’s the smallest, least developed of Japan’s main islands. The center of Shikoku is dominated by Mt. Ishizuchi , whose dramatic peak is the remnant of an ancient caldera. On this adventure, you will get an introduction to the best of Shikoku as you travel from the Seto Inland Sea , passing over the Ishizuchi range by e-bike and descending the Niyodo River by stand up paddleboard (SUP) to the Pacific Ocean.
Learn about the pirates of the Inland Sea at the Murakami Suigun Museum on Oshima Island before taking a boat out into the Sea’s fast currents and whirlpools. Sail past the tiny island fortress of Noshima from which the pirates conducted their operations. Finally, cross the great Kurushima Straits Bridge and drive through the mountains back to Matsuyama , where you will stay another night at Hakuro.
After a delicious pasta lunch with locally sourced wild boar sausage at Tsuchigoya Terrace, cycle the dramatic UFO Line, a largely flat traverse across the shoulder of the mountain with views of Ishizuchi and vistas stretching over much of Shikoku .
The support vehicle will meet you at the other end with your bike. At the next rest stop, meet the bus for the drive to Akiba no Yado, an inn with Japanese-style rooms beside a reservoir on the Niyodo River. For dinner, sample local cuisine with ingredients sourced from the rivers, mountains, and ocean of Kochi .
The Waterside Station is a market for local agricultural produce, and lunch features the vegetables and traditional processed foods of the region.
At the Waterside Station, switch to a SUP board to continue your curving descent of the river to the SUGGOI Sports base. The route includes some highly picturesque bends in the river, with deep, calm stretches and some shallow rapids for a bit of excitement. There are also opportunities for a refreshing leap off boulders and bridges. You’re sure to see some big river fish and numerous kinds of birds.
You will be paddling approximately 10 kilometers from Ainosato to SUGGOI Sports, taking up to 4 hours. From SUGGOI Sports, the bus will take you to nearby Kanpo no Yado Ino, a modern riverside hotel with an extensive selection of onsen baths. After relaxing in the baths, eat a selection of the famed dishes of Kochi , such as braised tuna, in the big dining room of the hotel.
The mulberry trees and glue-bearing vines that grow along the Niyodo River are essential for making traditional paper, a material of great importance in Japanese life. Cycle to the Ino Paper Museum to learn about the steps required to turn these plants into high-quality paper, and try your hand at making some washi paper by the traditional method. Be prepared to be amazed by the sophisticated applications of simple paper.
For lunch, visit Uokane, a fishmonger with a focus on sustainability. Lunch features sweetfish from Uokane, caught with a rod by a local fisherman.
Water from the Niyodo River and its tributaries is an essential ingredient in the excellent sake brewed in Kochi . Cycle to Kameizumi Brewery , whose name means ‘the spring that never dries up,’ where the master brewer will take you on a tour of the facilities and serve tastings of the brewery’s extensive lineup.
Now it’s time to say your farewells to Shikoku, and get on your way home. You’ve seen some of the best of Shikoku and learned about the history and traditions that set the island apart from other regions of Japan. We hope you’ve enjoyed the expansive scenery, the delicious food and sake, and the simple hospitality of the people. And we hope you’ll be back some day to experience some of the many other adventures that remain to be discovered here.
The contents of this page are meant as an example to use in creating your travel plans and do not represent a package tour. Lodgings, travel, guides, and all other accommodations must be arranged for by the traveler.