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SHIKOKU TOURS

Travel and Adventure

Shikoku Castles and Culture Tour

6 Days
Matsuyama Castle masugata

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 Kōchi. There are also reconstructed castles and historic battle sites that repay exploration.

On this tour, you 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 a private vehicle with a driver who speaks some English. Breakfasts are included.

Learn more about the castles in our Shikoku Castles blog.

Who is this tour for?

This tour is for people who are interested in 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.

If you’d like to be guided on this tour, please get in touch and we’ll give you a quote.

Itinerary

You arrive in Matsuyama by air, rail, or bus and check into your hotel.

You walk to Dōgo Park to visit the remains of Yuzuki Castle. This was the base of the Kōno clan who dominated the Inland Sea for centuries and provided the seaborne muscle for Japan’s rulers. From Dōgo, you drive to Matsuyama Castle. Here you can choose to walk up the hill, or take the cable car or chairlift. Then you drive to Uwajima.

In the morning, you stroll up the steep hill to Uwajima Castle, and enjoy the views from the top of the keep. You also visit Tensha-en Garden. Then you drive through the beautiful scenery of southern Shikoku with a stop in Yusuhara with its dramatic statue of Sakamoto Ryōma and his companions. You arrive in Kōchi, where dinner at Hirome Market is recommended.

In the morning, you visit Kōchi Castle, one of the most complete in Japan. From Kōchi, you head back into Ehime to Kawanoe Castle, which was fought over by Shikoku warlords, then by invaders from the mainland. Then you head into Kagawa Prefecture to visit Zentsū-ji, Temple No. 75 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. This expansive temple was the birthplace of Kūkai, the founder of the pilgrimage. You stay in nearby Kotohira.

In the morning you explore the huge complex of Konpira Shrine, climbing its many steps. Then you visit the Kinryō Sake Museum where you can enjoy a tasting. Then you drive to Marugame Castle which stands atop massive walls. You stay in Takamatsu.

You explore the site of Takamatsu Castle, whose moat was once fed by the Inland Sea. Then you drive to Ritsurin Garden where the feudal lords of the region liked to relax. The tour finishes at Takamatsu Station or Takamatsu Airport.

Included

  • Private vehicle and driver
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • Admissions
  • Basic insurance (see the FAQ tab)

Not included

  • Travel to and from Shikoku
  • Dinner and lunch
  • Drinks
  • Comprehensive personal insurance (see the FAQ tab)
Are there vegetarian options?

On this tour, only breakfasts are included. There may be vegetarian options. For lunch and dinner, there may be limited options available.

What does the English-speaking driver do?

The English-speaking driver will drive, help with check-in, and offer advice on the smooth operation of your tour. This allows you the peace of mind that you won’t encounter a situation where you’re alone and helpless. However, the driver doesn’t provide guide services. If you want a guided tour, please let us know and we’ll provide a guide.

What's your cancellation policy?

Our cancellation policy is as follows;

  • Cancelled more than 21 days prior to start: No charge
  • Cancelled between 20 and 8 days prior to start: 20% of the total fee
  • Cancelled between 7 days and 48 hours prior to start: 30% of the total fee
  • Cancelled between 48 and 24 hours prior to start: 40% of the total fee
  • Cancelled within 24 hours of start: 50% of the total fee
  • Cancelled on the day of start or failure to show: 100% of the total fee
  • No refunds will be given after the tour has commenced.

What are your payment terms?

When you book a tour, we ask for a 10% deposit, with the balance to be paid a month before the start of the tour. You can pay by credit card or bank transfer.

What is the 'basic insurance' mentioned in Inclusions?

When you purchase a tour from Shikoku Tours, we automatically enrol you in basic travel insurance as a legal requirement. The insurance pays out up to 300 million yen per incident. We also have insurance to cover our bicycle operations. Although we enrol you in basic travel insurance, you should still purchase your own general travel insurance in case our coverage is insufficient.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Shikoku Castles and Culture Tour
From ¥258,000
/ Adult
From ¥398,000
/ person with 2
From ¥358,000
/ person with 3
From ¥298,000
/ person with 4
From ¥258,000
/ person with 5