Many of the greatest places on Earth are all on one rural Japanese island.

Shikoku is a rather large island off the southwestern coast of Japan’s main island Honshu. Its name fittingly means “four countries” because four prefectures are located on it: Kochi, Ehime, Kagawa, and Tokushima.

Although these rural prefectures are full of their own culture, natural beauty, and great food, they often get overshadowed by the parts of Japan more loaded with tourist attractions like Kyoto.

So, Tourism Shikoku has come up with a really clever way to show off that it has some world class sights of its own to offer.

The World Famous Spots Seen in Shikoku Contest is a unique photography competition that asked people to submit shots of places on the Island of Shikoku that look a lot like world landmarks. Entries were submitted between August of 2021 and January 2022 from all over Japan, and then judged by both a panel of human judges and the Corevo AI, developed by NTT Docomo.

Each picture was submitted with a similar looking photograph of the world landmark and assigned a similarity score of one to 100 with 100 being a perfect match. When all the entries were accepted and scores tallied, the winners were announced at a ceremony on 12 April.

The grand prize winner was a picture of the dome over the Takamatsu Marugamemachi Shopping Street in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture. It was compared to the dome over the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping area in Milan Italy and received a score of 88.4 from the AI and 75 from the judges for a total weighted average of 84.4.

▼ Left: Takamatsu, Kagawa / Right: Milan, Italy

In second place was a picture of the Irino Coast in Kochi Prefecture which was determined to resemble the Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia with an average score of 83.8. Next came a photograph of Mt. Ishizuchi in Ehime Prefecture that bore an uncanny resemblance to the Matterhorn for a score of 83.3.

▼ Left: Irino Coast and Uyuni Salt Flats / Right: Mt. Ishizuchi and Matterhorn

Each Shikoku prefecture also had individual first place winners, aside from the grand prize winners. The Ehime Prize went to a photo of the Yusumizugaura Terraced Fields, a series of hundreds of terraced fields aligned on a very steep mountainside. And from just the right angle it looks a lot like the ruin-filled plateaus of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Kagawa’s Prize was awarded to Mt. Yashima in Takamatsu City, whose flat top bears a striking resemblance to Table Mountain near Cape Town South Africa.  Hi-shaped Canyon in Tokushima Prefecture is named such because it looks like the hiragana character ひ or hi in English. It also just happens to look a lot like the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga, South Africa – so much so that it won top prize for that prefecture.

Finally, the ruggedly beautiful rock formations of the Tatsukushi Coast got the Kochi Prize for its similarity to the otherworldly charm of Antelope Canyon in the USA.

▼ From top left clockwise: Ehime, Kagawa, Tokushima, Kochi

There were also several consolation prizes handed out to other lookalike locations around Shikoku. For a full rundown along with location details for each spot you can check out the event’s website.

Better yet, why not take a trip out there when the opportunity arises and see some of these places in person? Moreover, whether its the famous noodles of Kagawa or gorgeous castles of Ehime, there’s a whole lot to see and do in this under-appreciated part of Japan.

Source, images: PR Times
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