Abundant nature, varied temples, one of Japan's most venerable hot-spring towns and delicious traditional cuisine walking on sections of the ancient 88 Temple Pilgrimage in Ehime Prefecture in north-west Shikoku. Start from Kyoto or Osaka, spend 3 nights on Shikoku with 4 days of hiking, and return to Kyoto or Osaka.
Shikoku is Japan's fourth-largest island, home to some of the country's most spectacular and undeveloped scenery. The island is also the setting for an ancient walking trail, the challenging Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage. The trail connects 88 Buddhist temples and the full walk covers more than a thousand kilometres. Pilgrims, known as O-henro, cover the journey over many weeks, staying at Shukubo temples which provide overnight lodging. This tour takes in some of the most beautiful hikes and breathtaking scenery on the trail, as well as emotive temples and overnight stays in both Shukubo and Onsen bath Ryokan which offer delicious traditional Japanese meals, exceptional service and warm hospitality.
We also offer 5-day, 6-day, 8-day and 10-day versions of this trip. And please ask for information about tour extensions to the mountain-top temple town of Mount Koya with its monastery lodgings, or the peaceful, agricultural community of Asuka with charming guesthouse or homestay accommodation.
Adult (age 12+)|
|Duration :||3 nights 4 Days|
|Tour Start :||Kyoto or Osaka|
|Tour End :||Kyoto or Osaka|
|Walking days :||4 days|
|Departure Date :||Any day (recommended from March until early December)|
|Download :||PDF Itinerary|
(Meals : D)
Ehime (Temples 57 to 58)
Walking distance : 4.4km
Elevation gain : 250m of ascent and negligible descent
Time required : About 1.5 hours
Start from Kyoto or Osaka and travel by train to Imabari in northern Ehime to begin your hike to Temple 57 Eifuku-ji. The walk gradually passes from urban townscape to rural farming communities before entering a forest with a steady climb to Temple 58 Senryu-ji. Visit Eifuku-ji and Senyu-ji and there is also an optional detour to Temple 56 Taisan-ji. Overnight at Senryu-ji, which offers pilgrim lodgings, or alternatively stay in a western-style hotel in Imabari City.
Hotel : Imabari
(Meals : B/D)
Ehime (Temple 58 onwards)
Walking distance : 18.4km
Elevation gain : Negligible ascent and 250m descent
Time required : About 1 hours *
The hike continues with a gentle walk down the mountain from Senyu-ji, with the opportunity to explore small village settlements on the way. Return to the town of Imabari, with an optional paved hike on to Temple 59 Iyo Kokubun-ji and continue onwards to Matsuyama by train and overnight in Dogo Onsen.
* An optional paved walk of 4.1km can extend the hike by a further 1.5 hours.
Hotel : Dogo Onsen
(Meals : B/D)
Ehime (Temples 45 to 44)
Walking distance : 11.7km
Elevation gain : 650m of ascent and 580m of descent
Time required : About 4 hours
Head south by bus from Matsuyama to Temple 45 Iwaya-ji, a temple closely linked to Kōbō Daishi - the priest who founded Shingon Buddhism and Mount Koya. Climb the iconic ladder to his meditation spot, with its spectacular views over the surrounding region. From Iwaya-ji, enjoy a lovely forest hike to Temple 44 Daiho-ji before returning by bus to Matsuyama in the evening. Overnight in Dogo Onsen.
Hotel : Dogo Onsen
(Meals : B)
Ehime (Temples 60 to 62)
Walking distance : 13.7km
Elevation gain : 620m of ascent and 870m of descent
Time required : About 4-5 hours
The tour ends with a rewarding hike in the east of Ehime Prefecture. Travel by bus and pre-paid taxi from Matsuyama to reach the trail and walk to Temple 60 Yokomine-ji, Temple 61 Koon-ji and onwards to Temple 62 Hoju-ji. The walk passes through a rural area of Shikoku and the temples are in lovely natural settings. After the hike, travel onwards by train to the Kansai area, arriving mid-evening.
* You can reduce the hike by about one hour to 11.3km, avoiding the first uphill section. Simply pay locally to extend the taxi ride to Temple 60 Yokomine-ji. Choose on the day - no need to decide in advance.
Hotel : N/A
|Day||City||Hotel Name||Hotel Type|
|1||Imabari||Senyu-ji or similar||Shukubo (Pilgrims Lodging) or Hotel|
|2-3||Dogo Onsen||Sachiya Ryokan or similar||Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)|