Shikoku region, Japan
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Shikoku

Shikoku (四国, "four provinces") is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan. Its ancient names include Iyo-no-futana-shima (伊予之二名島), Iyo-shima (伊予島), and Futana-shima (二名島). more...

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The current name refers to the four old provinces which made up the island: Awa, Iyo, Sanuki, and Tosa.

The Shikoku region — comprising Shikoku and its surrounding islets — covers about 18,800km² and consists of four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, and Tokushima. It is connected to Honshu by ferry and air and, since 1988, by the Great Seto Bridge network. Until completion of the bridges, the region was isolated from the rest of Japan, and the freer movement between Honshu and Shikoku was expected to promote economic development on both sides of the bridges, which has not materialized yet.

Mountains running east and west divide Shikoku into a narrow northern subregion, fronting on the Inland Sea, and a southern part facing the Pacific Ocean. Most of the 4.5 million inhabitants live in the north, and all but one of the island's few larger cites are located there. Mount Ishizuchi (石鎚山) in Ehime at 1982m is the highest mountain on the island. Industry is moderately well developed and includes the processing of ores from the important Besshi copper mine. Land is used intensively. Wide alluvial areas, especially in the eastern part of the zone, are planted with rice and subsequently are double cropped with winter wheat and barley. Fruit is grown throughout the northern area in great variety, including citrus fruits, persimmons, peaches, and grapes. Because of wheat production udon (讃岐うどん) became an important part of meal in Kagawa prefecture (former Sanuki province) in Edo period.

The larger southern area of Shikoku is mountainous and sparsely populated. The only significant lowland is a small alluvial plain at Kochi, a prefectural capital. The area's mild winters stimulated some truck farming, specializing in growing out-of-season vegetables under plastic covering. Two crops of rice can be cultivated annually in the southern area. The pulp and paper industry took advantage of the abundant forests and hydroelectric power.

Pioneering organic farmer Masanobu Fukuoka, author of The One-Straw Revolution, developed his methods here on his family's farm.

Shikoku is also famous for its 88-temple pilgrimage of temples associated with the priest Kūkai.

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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