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Shikoku – Discovering Japan’s islands with Micro 2000

In November 2023, a small group of 8 members from different departments in Micro 2000 embarked on a journey to Shikoku, Japan.


From the views to the flavours, we explored much of what the area around Shikoku had to offer. Travelling from Osaka to areas like Okayama, Kagawa, Tokushima and Kochi, this company trip was a time of bonding and recharging, that allowed Micro 2000 employees and business partners to get to know each other in a truly fun and exciting way. Much thanks as well to the organizer, EU Holidays, and the other members of the tour group for such a smooth and memorable trip.


(A quick disclaimer: All photos in this post are taken by us – no stock photos here!)


1. The Food

As a company with many outlets in the Food & Beverage business, how can we leave out the food in Japan as one of our top priorities? Tasting local specialties fresh from the area was definitely one of the highlights of this trip!


Every day was packed with good food: Beginning with the daily hotel breakfast buffet, which always included both Continental and traditional Japanese options (free flow miso soup / udon / curry rice! And sweet potato slices); for lunch and dinner, an ever-changing spread of Japanese food, carefully prepared to bring out the natural flavours of the regional specialty produce.


Of course, we can never go wrong pairing the local sake with our meals at the end of a long day.


We also tried our hand at flame-grilling our own Katsuo-Tataki over a roaring blaze of straw! This gave just a thin layer of seared flesh, with most of the local delicacy being a vivid red in its raw freshness.


Exploring the streets of Dotonbori on our own led to pleasant surprises! Pit-stops in between our shopping spree were when we would stumble upon unexpectedly good food, made better with good company. (And of course trying out Kinryu Ramen for ourselves… to compare with Hoe Nam prawn noodles)



2. The Views

Autumn was a stunning feast for the eyes as we chased after the red leaves of the season. Beside the autumn reds, ginkgo trees were a beautiful gold, sprinkled throughout the trip as we visited the various places of interest.


We were (allegedly) part of the first group of Singaporeans to step foot on Shodoshima, a small island where olives are the specialty produce, and where the autumn leaves truly wowed us at Kankakei Gorge. The Gorge’s ropeway ride gave us a glimpse at the majestic view of autumn in mountains rising into the sky, and sightings of eagles soaring between the craggy cliffs.


Iya Valley Vine Bridge has stood the test of time with a history measured in centuries – but it was still terrifying to cross the bridge of wooden planks held together by vines! Above a 30m drop, wanting to appreciate the feat of human engineering warred with the adrenaline rush of doing our best to grip on to the vine ropes along the side, so we wouldn’t slip and fall. Thankfully, this bridge was enhanced with strong wires. We were all definitely glad to reach the other side safe and sound. Talk about the suspension bridge effect!


The terrifying and awe-inspiring power of nature was even more present when we took a ferry to see the Naruto Whirlpool. As waves crashed against each other, fuelled by forces we could not see to churn with white foam right in front of our eyes, it was both thrilling and humbling to experience how small we are compared to the uncaring seas.


Of course, we can’t forget all the gardens that we visited: Korakuen Garden (Okayama), Ritsurin Garden (Kagawa), Daisen Park Japanese Garden (Osaka), and more… Each with its own calming tranquillity and carefully designed pathways to showcase the beauty of nature.


3. The Culture

More than just absorbing the sights and the flavours of Japan, of course, we learned more about Japanese culture on this trip as well.


We were mesmerized by a performance of Awa dance, a traditional dance kept alive by locals of all ages in Tokushima. The accompanying music was played live by a band of musicians, each using traditional Japanese instruments such as the shamisen, taiko drums, and kane bell. Even though we couldn’t understand the explanations and words in Japanese, the lively and festive atmosphere of the music and dance transcended language barriers.


Though Singaporeans love to talk about food, we went a step further and learned about how to make that food. Sanuki udon, one of the specialties in the area, was not only delicious but also super fun to make by hand. The ratio in the mix of ingredients even differs depending on what season it is… Though in Singapore it will just have to be the summer version of the recipe! All of us have now graduated from the Nakano Udon School in Kagawa.


Finally, we truly enjoyed the onsen (hot spring baths) at our hotel in Dogo, an area famous for its culture of public bath-houses. Separated into two sections for men and women, the baths featured a range of open-air pools that promised various benefits, including improving the softness and texture of your skin through the minerals present in the spring water. No photos allowed in this area, of course!


Even though this was the first time in an onsen for a few of us, it was an unexpectedly pleasant and relaxing experience, chatting together while soaking in the hot water and sights of the forest around us.

This experience was intricately linked to the overarching, main point of this trip:


4. The Bonding

While we explored the islands of Japan, no man is an island. It is the bonds forged between us that are the most important. Time truly flies by when you’re enjoying yourself, and even more so when enjoying the company.



Whether unique (crossing a very old bridge with gaps as wide as the planks themselves) or mundane (chatting over hotel breakfast and over more snacks and drinks at night), each moment on this journey through Shikoku added up to an unforgettable shared experience.


Even though we may not have known each other well before this trip, we certainly do know a lot more about each other now!


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and this particular journey has been filled with laughter as we step closer and further. Micro 2000 welcomes you to join us and grow – together!

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