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SHIKOKU TOURS

Travel and Adventure

Shikoku Castles and Culture Tour

5 Days
Matsuyama Castle

There are twelve castles in Japan with main towers dating back to the Edo period, and of these, four are in Shikoku – Marugame, Matsuyama, Uwajima and Kochi. There are also reconstructed castles and historic battle sites that repay exploration.

On this guided tour, we visit the original castles as well as reconstructions such as Kawanoe Castle, and battle sites like the remains of Yuzuki Castle in Dogo. These castles are home to museums richly endowed with medieval weapons and armour, but which also strongly evoke the peacetime lives of their inhabitants.

The castle towns were, and still are, flourishing cultural centres, with pilgrimage temples and shrines, wonderful sake breweries, and expansive gardens where samurai lords relaxed when they weren’t preparing for war.

This tour uses the railways of Shikoku, which pass through some beautiful scenery. All meals are included.

Learn more about the castles in our Shikoku Castles blog.

Who is this tour for?

This tour is for those who like to travel with a guide and a small group of like-minded people. The focus is on history, architecture, and gardens. You’ll also learn a fair bit about sake and food. All of the places visited on the tour can only be accessed by climbing a lot of uneven steps, so you’ll need to be reasonably fit. We use public transport, so we’ll be taking our luggage with us and using station lockers.

Itinerary

Day 1 :

We meet at Dōgo Station in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture and walk around Dōgo Park, the site of Yuzuki Castle. This was the base of the Kono clan who dominated the Inland Sea for centuries and provided the seaborne muscle for Japan’s rulers. We visit Minakuchi Brewery, then take a tram to Matsuyama Castle. Then we head by train to Uwajima.

Day 2 :

We stroll up the steep hill to Uwajima Castle, and enjoy the views from the top of the keep. We also visit Tensha-en Garden. Then we take a train that passes through the beautiful scenery of sourthern Shikoku to Kōchi, where we visit the castle, one of the most complete in Japan. From here we take a bus to Chikurin-ji Temple, Temple No. 31 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Day 3 :

From Kōchi, we head back into Ehime to visit Kawanoe Castle, which was fought over by Shikoku warlords, then by invaders from the mainland. We take the train from here into Kagawa Prefecture to visit Zentsu-ji Temple, Temple No. 75 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. This expansive temple is said to be the birthplace of Kukai.

Day 4 :

Our first stop today is Marugame Castle atop its massive walls. From here we take the train to Kotohira, where we have fun making the local speciality, udon. In the afternoon, we climb the many steps up to Konpira Shrine and visit the Kinryo no Sato sake museum. Then we take the train to Takamatsu.

Day 5 :

In Takamatsu, we visit Ritsurin Garden where the feudal lords of the region liked to relax, and explore the site of the castle, whose moat was once fed by the Inland Sea. The tour finishes at Takamatsu Station.

Included

  • Public transportation fares
  • English-speaking guide
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Basic insurance

Not included

  • Travel to and from Shikoku
  • Drinks
  • Comprehensive personal insurance
Are there vegetarian options?

Not really. Japanese cooking is based on fish stock, and the Japanese love their fish and meat. On this tour, you stay in traditional Japanese accommodation that is proud of its cuisine, especially the fish. For breakfast and dinner, it is possible to ask for ‘largely’ vegetarian food, but no guarantees are offered. You can generally find vegetarian options for lunch, but with limited choice.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Shikoku Castles and Culture Tour
From ¥198,000
/ Adult
From ¥258,000
/ person with 2
From ¥228,000
/ person with 4
From ¥198,000
/ person with 6
From ¥198,000
/ person with 8