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Driving route for Shikoku

Sunshine Coast
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Driving route for Shikoku

Hi. We are picking up a Tocoo.com rental car at Tokushima on arrival and plan to visit the Iya Valley etc. Does anyone know a good driving route for 2 days and a budget place to stay nearby to get to see the sights of the valley and good things to see along the way?

Lewes, United...
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1. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

Sorry, tomkathy, I can't help.

I'm posting here as we're planning to do a similar thing in October, but we've not yet booked the car and are investigating how much the cost differential will be of a one-way rental, returning car either at Kochi or Matsuyama versus returning it to Tokushima or Takamatsu. And, of course, we are investigating the driving route as, as well as doing the Iya valley, we wish to check out a few of the 88 temples. We'd also like to know where we can buy a good Japanese road map for Shikoku or a link to a good website to download and print off driving maps.

So any DEs replying to tomkathy hopefully can kill two bird with one stone (or reply, perhaps!)

Thanks, SWT

Lewes, United...
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2. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

bump!

Any DEs out there who can help with this?

Thx, SWT

Sunshine Coast
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3. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

Don't think this site bumps too well, SWT.

We are going in early Sept. ( ferry down from Tokyo ) and always got best car deals through Tocoo. though it means an extra $80 to drop off at another town than Tokushima. Google Earth has pretty good map of the area. I guess we'll drive down the secondary road till hwy 32 into Iya Valley and find a local map and explore, raft and stay a night. Go on to Kochi if there's time and good weather and back up to north coast and across to Tokushima again. Not a fan of Toll expresses so we'll cruise the lesser roads ,return car,travel on to Naoshima island and Okayama towards Matsue for a few days.

Perth, Australia
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4. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

Hi Guys

I can thoroughly recommend driving around Shikoku and if you can afford a little splurge staying at Iya Bijin in the Iya Valley is a truelly memorable experience.

There is a white water rafting company operated by Australians nearby for those of you wanting this type of adventure.

Here is an excerpt from our trip report from April.

We left Nagoya Station at 3.50pm and arrived at Sakaide Station at 6.50pm. Sakaide is on the island of Shikoku (south of Honshu) and appears to be an industrial town. You cross over to Shikoku from Honshu on a very long bridge. I had difficulty finding a hotel here and the one we stayed in was terrible. I would recommend that you stay on the train for another 15/20mins and go onto Takamatsu which seems to be a much better town. There were no restaurants near the hotel and the hotel restaurant was not open so dinner was some terrible food from the convenience store across the road and Cup of Soup in our room.

Day 11 – Shikoku. We picked up the Mazda hire car in Sakaide at 9.00am, which we booked on the net for 9,500Y for 2 days through Toocoo. We asked the staff member to put the location of our next hotel in the GPS for us. This was a godsend as it helped us navigate through the beautiful gorges and valleys of the Iya Valley which is south of Sakaide. We followed route 32 most of the way and stopped at a great little café called ‘Woody’s Rest’ where the food was good and they gave us a tourist map of the Iya Valley. We arrived at our ryokan ‘Iya Bijin’ at 2.00pm which has been built on the side of the mountain and overlooks the gorge. As check-in was 3.00pm they sat us in the restaurant and served us green tea. They checked us in at about 2.30 and our room was gorgeous with the mineral water bath on the balcony overlooking the gorge. See my review and photos in the hotel section. Although our stay here cost us 34,230Y it included a huge traditional dinner and breakfast where we wore the traditional Yukata’s (a cotton Kimono) that they provided,we felt it was well worth the splurge. We could not fault the ryokan on anything and our stay here was one of the highlights of our trip.

Day 12 – Iya Valley. We jumped in the hire car at about 10.00am, noticing that all the windows had been cleaned by the ryokan staff and headed into the Iya Valley leaving the ryokan carpark with a staff guard of honour bowing as we drove past. We visited the main touristy vine bridge over the river and the waterfall but also drove further east past Iya Bijin to visit the twin vine bridges that cross the river close to each other. Entry is from a small car park on the right hand side of the road and you pay 500Y each at a little shack on the side of the road and walk down the stairs to the valley below. The 2 bridges are close together and there is also a waterfall near the first bridge. There was also a little timber car suspended on cables above the river that you could sit in and with a pulley system you pull yourself across the river. These bridges were less touristy, in fact at 11.00am on a Tuesday we were the only people there and the area was much more peaceful. Signage was not great so you need to keep your eyes peeled otherwise you will drive straight past. We continued driving along the valley with a lot of the road being single lane only and going through some small villages, we averaged 40km an hour but it did not seem that slow as we gazed over the beautiful scenery. We returned the hire car to Sakaide at 4.00pm and decided to make an unplanned trip to Takamatsu. We jumped on the train using our JR passes for the 15 minute trip to Takamatsu, put our cases in a luggage locker there and got a local train to Ritsurin Ko-en Kitaguchi Station. We walked a short distance to Ritsurin Gardens which are considered by many as a good example of Japanese Gardens. Entry was 400Y each and when we arrived at 5.00pm the sun was starting to go down so we raced around the gardens for an hour and then returned to Takamatsu by the train. It was a worthwhile journey with very pretty gardens. We had dinner at a small café at Takamatsu station while we waited to catch our train at 7.40pm for Hiroshima.

Hope this helps.

Sunshine Coast
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5. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

Thanks Pamies. We will get a similar deal from Tocoo.com from Tokushima (where our ferry arrives from Tokyo) and return car to there - on the 2 day deal there's no drop off elsewhere permitted.

The Aussie rafting co. is Happy Rafting and they also have a budget guest house with a discount for using their trips - but pretty affordable anyway.

There's a more sedate boating river trip nearby in the valley (Oboke I think) that seems more our speed and budget.

Also there's a comfortable sounding hostel with private rooms attached to a monastery near the Iya station which sounds good and affordable Phone contact only - no email.

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

I may want to take my wife on that Tokyo Shikoku ferry next trip. Just wondering...did you book on line, with agent or ???.

Have you been on it before? The main thing that would bother my wife is if it was smoking everywhere....

Sunshine Coast
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7. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

I found Ocean Tokyu ferry by Googling and then finding their email on the site. www.otf.jp/

Mr. Tatsumi replied - tatsumi@ocean-trans.co.jp and was very helpful and has our tickets waiting at the ferry terminus at Obaida. There are 2 ships running alternately (not Sundays), one more pricey than the other.

Haven't found smoking a problem on other ferries we've taken e.g. Osaka -Kyushu, but why not ask Mr. Tatsumi about that?

Cheers

tom

Lewes, United...
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8. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

Tomkathy: The boating trips you've learned about, both with Happy Rafting and the one at Oboke - are they means of sightseeing in the valleys as an alternative to driving slowly, or are they adventure companies offering thrill rides in Zodiacs? How do you get from where the boat trip finishes back to the start point (where they car will be)?

The 2 day car rental deal with Tocoo: We found it on the website but it seems it can only be booked in the last month before travel so we will have to leave this for a few days before we can book it, which is no problem. However, is it 2 days as in you pick up the car at 10.00 am on Day 1 so return it in 48 hours time, ie at 10.00 am on day 3, or does the clock tick from midnight, irrespective of what time you pick the car up on Day 1, so you only have 2 calendar day's use of the car?

Does anybody know how much a gallon or litre gas/petrol is in Japan? We're assuming small rental cars run on unleaded. Is this correct?

Thanks all, SWT

Sunshine Coast
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9. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

Happy Rafting is definitely a thrill shop, as the website shows. Anyone can stay at their hostel for, I think, Y3500 p.p.

There seems to be a "loop" gentle boating trip on the Oboke river for Y2000 return by bus I presume. but haven't been able to track that down as yet.

the two day one night Tocoo car deal is from opening time (generally 8am) one day to closing time next day (generally 7pm) though you can be anywhere within those hours of course.

The petrol was a bit more than in Aus but it was not a major factor as the new cars use so little.

California
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10. Re: Driving route for Shikoku

Hello,

can you tell me how long it takes to drive

from Takamatsu port area to Iya Bijin ryokan?

Was the GPS very helpful?

thanks so much