Shikoku (四国, "four provinces") is the smallest (225 km or 139.8 mi long and between 50 and 150 km or 31.1 and 93.2 mi wide) and least populous (4,141,955 as of 2005) of the four main islands of Japan
, located south of Honshū and east of the island of Kyūshū.The current name refers to the four former provinces which made up the island: Awa, Tosa, Sanuki, and Iyo.
The Shikoku region, comprising Shikoku and its surrounding islets, covers about 18,800 square kilometres (7,259 sq mi) and consists of four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kōchi, and Tokushima
. Across the Inland Sea lie Wakayama
, Hyōgo, Okayama
, and Yamaguchi
Prefectures on Honshū. To the west lie Ōita and Miyazaki
Prefectures on Kyūshū.
Unlike the other three major islands of Japan, Shikoku has no volcanoes.Private railway lines operate in each of the four prefectures on Shikoku.Shikoku lacks a full international airport but has four regional airports (Tokushima, Takamatsu
, Kochi-Ryoma and Matsuyama