There are a lot of mountains in Shikoku, and not much flat land. The mountains act as barriers, and individual regions have each developed unique and deep-rooted food cultures as a result. It's a great experience to travel around Shikoku to sample the local food, experiencing these differences along the way.
An Amazing Variety of Noodle Dishes
In particular, there are a lot of unique noodle-based dishes. Sanuki udon is known for the firm texture of the noodles, and Tokushima ramen features a strongly-flavored soup that would also make you want to eat a whole serving of rice without anything else. Iya soba are somewhat thick, lightly seasoned buckwheat noodles. There are a great number of variations.
Citrus Fruits grown in Shikoku's Mild Climate
It's not common knowledge, but citrus fruits are widely produced on Shikoku. In particular, the region is known for its top production of mandarin oranges for the country. Mandarin oranges are mainly grown in rows on sloped land formed into bench terraces. The orchards are located on slopes with good access to sunlight, in regions with a lot of sunny days, and as a result, a superior mandarin orange product is produced. Other citrus fruits include sudachi and yuzu. These two are mainly used as a sour seasoning in place of vinegar. They both have a delicious aroma, so in Shikoku these citrus fruits are often used for garnishing a meal.
Abundant Seafood from the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean
The sea surrounds the island of Shikoku on all sides, so there is a great selection of seafood. Katsuo no tataki, a dish made by grilling the surface of a piece of bonito tuna over a straw fire, slicing it and serving it with a splash of broth is a Shikoku-born preparation method. From autumn to spring, fresh oysters fried on an iron grill called "kaki yaki" are popular. If your trip coincides with this season, you've got to try it.
Exploring Food Markets and Touring Sake Breweries
The Nichiyoichi (Sunday market) is ideal for people who want to try a variety of foods as they walk around. A wide variety of foods unique to Shikoku such as imoten and tsugani-jiru are waiting to be discovered. The Hirome Market is always there for people whose travel schedules don't match up with the Sunday market. Many food stalls are permanently set up here so visitors can get the Sunday market feeling on any day of the week, and sample all kinds of local foods. For people who would rather sample local drinks, why not try the 88 sake brewery pilgrimage! Try the wares of 88 local sake breweries, one cup at a time. Just be careful you don't drink too much!