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Shikoku in Japan
Shikoku in Japan
Waters Pacific Ocean
Geographical location 33 ° 45 ′  N , 133 ° 30 ′  E Coordinates: 33 ° 45 ′  N , 133 ° 30 ′  E
Shikoku (Japan)
surface 18,297.59 km²
Highest elevation Ishitsuchi (石 鎚 山)
1982  m
Residents 4,000,000
219 inhabitants / km²
The Shikoku pilgrimage route
The Shikoku pilgrimage route
The Shimanto River

The island of Shikoku ( Japanese 四 国 'four countries'; German also Schikoku ) is the smallest of the four main islands of Japan . It is 18,297.59 km² and has about 4 million inhabitants.

The surrounding islands also belong to the Shikoku region ( 四 国 地方 Shikoku-chihō ). The region has an area of ​​18,806.36 km² and a population of 4,086,457 (as of October 1, 2005). It is divided into four prefectures: Ehime , Kagawa , Tokushima and Kōchi .


The name four countries for the island comes from the fact that it has consisted of four provinces since the time of the provinces , namely Iyo , Sanuki , Awa and Tosa . The boundaries of these ancient provinces correspond to those of today's prefectures.

In Kojiki , when describing the birth of the Japanese islands ( kuniumi ) , the island is called Iyo-no-futa-na-no-shima ( 伊 予 之 二 名 島 ), which, according to Hirata Atsutane, means “island of two [provincial] couples from Iyo “means that with Iyo - as well as Tsukushi for Kyūshū - pars pro toto also all Shikoku was designated. The provinces were mythologically referred to as E-hime ( 愛 比 売 , "lovely princess"), Ihi-yori-hiko ( 飯 依 比 古 , "prince of good reputation [to Florence]; prince of well-cooked rice" [after Chamberlain] "), Oho-getsu-hime ( 大 宜 都比 賣 ," Princess of the great food ") and Take-yori-wake ( 建 依 別 ," Brave good youth ").


In addition to Shikoku Island, the Shikoku region comprises 625 smaller islands with a total area of ​​491 km², many of them in the Seto Inland Sea . The easternmost point is Cape Kamoda-misaki, the southernmost Cape Ashizuri-misaki, the westernmost Cape Sada-misaki and the northernmost Cape Taikeikannon-misaki. Tosa Bay extends to the south .

There is one rail link and three road links over bridges to the Japanese main island of Honshu . There are also ferry connections to Honshu and Kyushu . The first bridge was the Seto Ohashi Bridge , a combined road and rail bridge southwest of Okayama that opened in 1988. Before that, Shikoku was very isolated from the rest of Japan. The connection through the bridge should enable better economic development, which has not yet set in, although in 1998 the Kobe-Awaji-Naruto highway between Kobe and Naruto and in 1999 the Nishiseto highway between Onomichi ( Hiroshima Prefecture ) and Imabari ( Ehime Prefecture ) and since then each of the three prefectures on the Seto Inland Sea has had a road connection to Honshū. The main cities in Shikoku are Takamatsu , Matsuyama , Tokushima and Kōchi , the capitals of the prefectures. There is an airport in every prefecture, and there are flights to major cities such as Tōkyō and Osaka .

Mountains in the east and west of the island divide Shikoku into a narrow northern part region on the Seto Inland Sea and a southern part on the Pacific Ocean . Most of the 4.5 million people live in the north, and all major cities, except for Kōchi, are there. Mount Ishitsuchi ( 石 鎚 山 ) in Ehime is the highest mountain on the island at 1982 m. The larger southern area of ​​Shikoku is mountainous and sparsely populated. The only significant lowland is the alluvial plain on which the city of Kōchi is located.

Boundary points

Shikoku has the following boundary points:

  • In the north: 34 degrees 24 minutes 1 second (Kagawa Prefecture)
  • In the east: 134 degrees 45 minutes 1 second (Tokushima Prefecture)
  • In the south: 32 degrees 43 minutes 17 seconds (Kōchi Prefecture)
  • In the west: 132 degrees 0 minutes 52 seconds (Ehime Prefecture)

Statistical overview

ISO-3166-2 code prefecture surface Islands 1986 Population 2018  1 Population 2015  2 density Communities Counties
km² Percentage ownership % people Percentage ownership % people Percentage ownership % Inhabitant / km² krsfr. Cities Cities & Villages
JP-36 TokushimaTokushima Tokushima 4147 22.05 88 755.733 19.65 736.475 19.53 178 8th 16 8th
JP-37 KagawaKagawa Kagawa 1877 9.98 112 976.263 25.39 976.263 25.89 520 8th 9 6th
JP-38 EhimeEhime Ehime 5676 30.19 270 1,385,262 36.02 1,351,510 35.85 238 11 9 7th
JP-39 KochiKochi Kochi 7104 37.78 159 728.276 18.94 705.880 18.72 99 11 23 6th
Shikoku 18,804 100.00 3,845,534 100.00 3,770,128 100.00 200 38 57 27

1  estimated population (update) on October 1, 2018
2  2015 census


The industry is moderately well developed and consists in part of processing ore from the important Besshi copper mine . The paper industry has made use of the lush forests and electricity from hydropower.

The soil is used very intensively. Rice is planted in large flat areas, especially in the east of the island . It can be harvested twice a year in the southern Shikoku region. In winter, the same soil is used to plant winter wheat and barley. Various types of fruit are grown throughout the north, such as: B. citrus fruits such as sudachi and tangerines , persimmons ( persimmons ), peaches and grapes.

In addition, lotus flowers ( Renkon ), whose starchy roots are used in Japanese cuisine, and sweet potatoes ( Satsuma-imo ) are grown on a large scale . The mild climate of the area led to the specialization in the planting of vegetables under plastic sheeting out of season.

Web links

Commons : Shikoku  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. 島 面積 . (PDF; 136 kB) (No longer available online.) Kokudo Chiriin , October 1, 2015, archived from the original on June 15, 2016 ; Retrieved August 2, 2016 (Japanese). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Karl Florenz : Japanese Mythology. Nihongi. "Age of the Gods", along with additions from other old source works . In: Supplement to the "Mittheilungen" of the German Society for Nature and Ethnology of East Asia . Hōbunsha, Tokyo 1901, p. 17 ( digitized version http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3Dpts_japanischemythol_3721-1224~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D17~ double-sided%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3Din the Internet Archive - translation of the Kojiki in part).
  3. Karl Florenz: The historical sources of the Shinto religion. Translated and explained from Old Japanese and Chinese . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1919. Reprint: Severus, Hamburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-95801-038-3 , pp. 15 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  4. ^ Basil Hall Chamberlain : A Translation of the “Ko-Ji-Ki” . 1883 ( online ).
  5. Japan Statistical Yearbook 2014. Table 1-1: Islands, Area and Length of Coastline of National Land , Online ( Memento of the original dated March 28, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ( MS Excel ; 29 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /