Shikoku’s leading tour provider since 2011​
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SHIKOKU TOURS

Travel and Adventure

FAQ

Find answers to your questions and learn more about Shikoku 

FAQ

Shikoku Tours Co., Ltd. is a licensed travel agent offering tours with a focus on Shikoku, Japan’s smallest major island. We have a Type 2 license which allows us to offer tours anywhere in Japan. Our license is No. 2-217 issued by the Ehime Prefectural Governor.

We also operate under the name Setouchi Tours covering most of western Japan.

When you purchase a tour from Shikoku Tours, we automatically enrol you in basic travel insurance as a legal requirement. The insurance pays out up to 300 million yen per incident. We also have insurance to cover our bicycle operations. Although we enrol you in basic travel insurance, you should still purchase your own general travel insurance in case our coverage is insufficient.

As a licensed travel agent, we pay a large warranty to the government of Japan which would be used to reimburse our customers in case of bankruptcy. We’re also members of ANTA, the All Nippon Travel Agents Association, which provides a complaint resolution and debt resolution program.

Our cancellation policy is as follows;

  • Cancelled more than 21 days prior to start: No charge
  • Cancelled between 20 and 8 days prior to start: 20% of the total fee
  • Cancelled between 7 days and 48 hours prior to start: 30% of the total fee
  • Cancelled between 48 and 24 hours prior to start: 40% of the total fee
  • Cancelled within 24 hours of start: 50% of the total fee
  • Cancelled on the day of start or failure to show: 100% of the total fee
  • No refunds will be given after the tour has commenced.

When you book a tour, we ask for a 10% deposit, with the balance to be paid a month before the start of the tour. You can pay by credit card or bank transfer.

The peak periods are in the Golden Week period from April 28 to May 5, Obon from August 11 to 20, and New Year from December 28 to January 5.

In April, the cherry blossoms are lovely and it’s getting warmer. In July, August, and September, you can enjoy summer activities and festivals. In October it’s less hot and there are many festivals. In November, it’s getting cooler and the leaves are starting to turn. These are probably the best times to visit Shikoku. For a more detailed look at the pros and cons of each month, see the relevant blog post.

No. Prices of everything in Shikoku are very reasonable to cheap compared with destinations in other developed countries. Although Japan had a reputation as an expensive destination, that’s no longer true at all. And since the price of many things in Shikoku is significantly lower than on Honshu, you may be pleasantly surprised by how far your money goes here.

Japan has finally relaxed all of its post-Covid entry requirements, allowing visitors to enter Japan freely for travel. There are no requirements for proof of vaccination to enter the country, and no masking requirements.

The flavouring of Japanese cooking is based on fish broth, soy sauce, and two kinds of sake (rice alcohol). The Japanese typically eat many kinds of fish and meat.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, or you require halal or kosher food, you will likely have considerable difficulty finding something suitable, and you’ll spend a lot of your time just looking for something to eat. Often you’ll need to eat the same thing several days in a row. That said, we’ll do everything possible to arrange accommodation and restaurants that provide something suitable.

Our tours are mainly by taxi, so luggage forwarding and other inconveniences aren’t necessary. This service is available at large hotels, but our tours feature a variety of accommodation types, some of which focus more on old-school hospitality and less on the latest services.

These passes offer steeply discounted rail travel in Japan. The Japan Rail Pass covers all Japan Railways (JR) lines in Japan, including Shikoku. The All Shikoku Rail Pass covers all railway lines on Shikoku, including JR. It also covers the very useful bus service between Matsuyama and Kochi, as well as the main ferries from Honshu. So which is best? If you’re travelling significant distances outside of Shikoku too, get the Japan Rail Pass.  If you’re travelling mainly on Shikoku, get the All Shikoku Rail Pass. Read more on our blog post.

Unfortunately, no. Walking the pilgrimage is an uncertain undertaking. The weather and your physical status can seriously affect how far you can walk in a day, and you may need to change your plans on the fly. Consequently, you’ll need to book your accommodation as you go. However, we do offer various tours that involve pilgrimage walks.

No, not as a standalone service. Due to their popularity and the rather primitive systems involved, booking one of these tourism trains isn’t a trivial undertaking. But if you want to include one of the unique experiences in your tour, we’ll do everything possible to arrange it.

Yes, there are. Here’s a breakdown of the critters and the degree of hazard they present.

  • Wild boar. Rarely encountered. They usually try to run away, but people have been killed by boar.
  • Pit vipers. Rarely encountered in the countryside in summer and autumn. Hospitalization if bitten.
  • Hornets. Rarely encountered in the countryside in summer and autumn. Hospitalization if stung multiple times.
  • Centipedes. Rarely encountered in summer and autumn. Painful bite.
  • Jellyfish. Something of a hazard in the sea in summer and autumn. Painful and itchy sting.
  • Sharks. A very rare hazard in the sea.
  • Ticks. Something of a hazard in the countryside in summer and autumn. Ticks carrying the SFTS virus have been identified in Shikoku.
  • Dogs and cats. Caution is required. If in doubt, don’t try to pet them.
  • Bears. These are only found on the Tsurugi Range, and are very rarely encountered.

Despite the presence of these dangerous animals, most of us manage to stay alive and well in Shikoku. Use common sense and you’ll be OK. All these animals are found in the rest of Japan too. 

The following adventure options can be arranged:

  • Rafting
  • Canoeing
  • Sea kayaking
  • SUP
  • Paragliding
  • Diving and seawalking
  • Snowboarding and skiing
  • Canyoning
  • Whalewatching

These options are all available as part of a MICE package too.

Although geisha are typically associated with Kyoto and Tokyo, geisha are also active in Shikoku. Let it be said right away – geisha are consummate entertainers. Whatever their age (and not everybody is young), they offer traditional Japanese style, music, dance, conversation, games and hospitality, which can be enjoyed equally by women and men. Their services are typically provided in the context of good food and drink. Read more on our blog post.

Yes, there are. But first, what is a ‘power spot’? It’s Japanese-English for a place that’s considered to have or transmit supernatural power. As home to the Shikoku Pilgrimage, one of the few circular pilgrimages in the world, the island of Shikoku is itself one big power spot, which draws people from around the world to walk the pilgrim’s path between the 88 Buddhist pilgrimage temples. But this aside, there are many individual sites on Shikoku that are known as power spots.

You can get to Shikoku by road, rail, ferry, and air.

No. The widely believed notion that Japanese eat raw fish all the time is incorrect. Raw fish (sashimi and sushi) plays quite a small part in the typical Japanese diet. Fish is more often served cooked (grilled, stewed, steamed and so on) than uncooked. And the Japanese also eat a lot of meat too. So if you don’t fancy eating raw fish, it’s easy enough to avoid it.

No. The custom of tipping doesn’t exist in Japan. Generally speaking, you may cause offense or confusion if you offer a tip, so please don’t try it. However, if you use one of our taxi tours and you want to show particular consideration to your driver, they’ll be glad to accept it. Nevertheless, it’s by no means required.

The English-speaking driver will drive, help with check-in, offer advice on the smooth operation of the tour, and provide spoken translation occasionally when necessary. The driver will basically not provide guide services. However, if you ask him questions about Shikoku, he’ll be glad to answer them.