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SHIKOKU TOURS

Travel and Adventure

Shikoku Pilgrimage with Walks

7 Days

Fixed departure dates

TRIP DATES AVAILABILITY SPACE LEFT
March 24, 2024 - March 30, 2024 Available
8 Available
April 21, 2024 - April 27, 2024 Available
6 Available
May 31, 2024 - June 6, 2024 Available
8 Available
June 9, 2024 - June 15, 2024 Available
8 Available
September 8, 2024 - September 14, 2024 Available
8 Available
September 29, 2024 - October 5, 2024 Available
8 Available
October 20, 2024 - October 26, 2024 Available
8 Available
November 8, 2024 - November 14, 2024 Available
8 Available
November 27, 2024 - December 3, 2024 Available
8 Available

Many people are interested in walking some of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, but not all of it. Discovering which are the best walks is no easy matter. Then there’s the logistics of getting to the start of the trail, and getting back to your accommodation afterwards.

On this tour, we take care of all of this for you. We show you the most beautiful and interesting temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage in seven days, visiting all four prefectures of the island. On each day, you undertake one of the most challenging walks on the pilgrimage trail, including the steep parts called ‘henro korogashi’ or pilgrim killers. These are also the most attractive parts of the pilgrimage trail, offering superb views as you make your way up and down the mountains of Shikoku. The walks are from 10 to 15 km.

You travel by private vehicle seeing the best of the Ohenro, and staying in the main cities of Shikoku. Your vehicle takes you to the start of the walk, and picks you up at the end. You’re accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, and there are places where you can end the walk midway if you’re tired. Your accommodation includes temple lodgings, modern hotels, and onsen ryokan for variety and a taste of what the island has to offer.

This tour can be enjoyed at any time of year. Whatever the season, there’s something special to see, to eat and to drink.

Learn more about the pilgrimage in our Shikoku Pilgrimage section.

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 the most challenging trails of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. The walks are tough and so you must be fit enough to maintain a good tempo through the daily ups and downs. You’ll also need to have appropriate clothing and footwear. We stay one night at temple accommodation that has ensuite toilets, but only a shared bath, so you need to be OK with getting naked with strangers, or flannel bathing in your room.

Important

If you like to walk slowly and don’t enjoy hiking hills, this tour is not for you. Also, the pilgrimage route consists of mixed trails, with sections on mountain tracks, gravel paths, and paved roads. It isn’t all through pristine countryside.

If you don’t relish a long hike every day, then the Best of Shikoku Pilgrimage tour will suit you better. The temple compounds themselves are large, and involve a certain amount of walking.

Price

Prices shown are per person

With 2 people: ¥548,000
With 4 people: ¥358,000
With 6 people: ¥298,000
With 8 people: ¥258,000

Accommodation is 1 room for 2 people. Additional charge for 1 room per person: ¥60,000

Itinerary

Day 1 :

The tour starts in Matsuyama, in Ehime Prefecture at 9:00. Your first temple visit is to Yokomine-ji. Located in the foothills of Mt. Ishizuchi, it’s renowned as one of the most difficult to access. You hike up to the temple, then beyond to the Okuno-in on Mt. Hoshigamori, which affords an iconic view of Mt. Ishizuchi, the highest mountain in western Japan if the weather cooperates. Then you hike down to Kōon-ji Temple. Time permitting, you visit No. 58 Senyū-ji on a mountainside outside Imabari with its magnificent temple guardians, and No. 52 Taisan-ji whose belfry has remarkable scenes of heaven and hell. Your accommodation is a luxurious onsen ryokan hotel in the spa town of Dōgo.

Hike
Distance: 11.8 km Gain: 871 m Loss: 588 m

Day 2 :

The day starts with a drive up to Kuma Highland where you hike from No. 44 Daihō-ji in a forest of massive trees to No. 45 Iwaya-ji built into a rocky mountainside. The beautiful Niyodo River rises in the highland and you follow it down into Kōchi Prefecture. Time permitting, you visit No. 36 Shōryū-ji located on a peninsula jutting out into the Pacific Ocean and No. 35 Kiyotaki-ji. The day’s journey ends in Kōchi City, with dinner at the popular and convivial Hirome Market. Your accommodation is a smart, modern hotel in the centre of town.

Hike
Distance: 13.1 km Gain: 626 m Loss: 548 m

Day 3 :

Your first stop today is No. 31 Chikurin-ji, a lovely leafy temple with a tall red pagoda. After a drive down the Muroto Peninsula, you hike up to No. 27 Kōnomine-ji, one of the difficult to reach temples situated 632 m above sea level. Beyond this is Kōnomine Shrine, and the Sky and Sea Park with its lookout offering a remarkable view over southern Shikoku. The last stop of the day is Hotsumisaki-ji and the nearby lighthouse at the end of the Muroto Peninsula. Tonight’s accommodation is an old hotel on the peninsula popular with pilgrims, where a locally-sourced dinner is provided.

Hike
Distance: 5.5 km Gain: 559 m Loss: 5 m
Distance: 3.8 km Gain: 167 m Loss: 156 m

Day 4 :

The first stop is at Mikuro Cave where Kūkai lived when he sought enlightenment. Then you head up the eastern side of the Muroto Peninsula into Tokushima No. 20 Kakurin-ji is a beautiful mountaintop temple, featuring several statues of sacred cranes. From here you hike down into a valley and up the other side to No. 21 Tairyū-ji, situated high up in the mountains with a view over much of Shikoku. You take a dynamic cable car ride down and stay at a comfortable onsen hotel.

Hike
Distance: 5.6 km Gain: 438 m Loss: 428 m

Day 5 :

The walk from No. 11 Fujiidera to No. 12 Shōsan-ji is the most challenging on the pilgrimage. We walk it in reverse. Here Emon Saburō finally caught up with Kūkai and perished. Time permitting after this long hike, you can visit Temple 6, Anraku-ji. Your accommodation is a modern hotel beside the Inland Sea.

Hike
Distance: 11.6 km Gain: 871 m Loss: 588 m

Day 6 :

The mountains of Kagawa Prefecture have a distinctive shape, and today you hike among them. From No. 80 Kokubun-ji, you hike up to the Goshikidai plateau to No. 81 Shiromine-ji, and thence to No. 82 Negoro-ji. Time permitting, you visit No. 75 Zentsū-ji, a very large temple complex and the place of Kūkai’s birth. Your last night is spent in a luxurious onsen ryokan in Kotohira. This is the end of the tour, where you part with your guide and driver.

Hike
Distance: 11.3 km Gain: 1,123 m Loss: 479 m

Day 7 :

If you like, you can walk to nearby Konpira Shrine and hike up to the Okusha. You can take convenient public transport from Kotohira to Takamatsu Airport or Station for your onward journey.

Hike
Distance: 5.2 km Gain: 332 m Loss: 334 m

Included

  • Private vehicle
  • English-speaking guide
  • Accommodation
  • Some meals
  • Basic insurance

Not included

  • Travel to and from Shikoku
  • Drinks
  • Comprehensive personal insurance
How hard is the walking?

It’s pretty hard. From the first day, you’re tackling the steepest trails on the pilgrimage, dog-legging up to temples perched high on the sides of mountains. It’s not for casual walkers. However, if you’re used to regular mountain walking, it’s not too daunting. There are options for bailing out if you need to.

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.

What should I bring for walking?

Shikoku is pretty warm from April through late October, although there are cold snaps. Lots of layers are good. We like to walk in sports sandals with no socks and we don’t mind if our feet get wet. But if you’re used to hiking boots or shoes, that’s probably best. We feel most comfortable in supportive tights and shorts. Hiking poles are recommended since they help both uphill and down. High quality waterproof jacket and trousers are essential, but with luck you mightn’t need them.

Do I need to bring any formal clothing?

No, not unless you really want to dress up.

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.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Shikoku Pilgrimage with Walks
From ¥258,000
/ Adult
From ¥548,000
/ person with 2
From ¥358,000
/ person with 4
From ¥298,000
/ person with 6
From ¥258,000
/ person with 8