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 1 night on Shikoku with 5 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.
|Tour Starts||Tour Ends||Price|
|Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 8 Days|
|Tour Starts||Kyoto or Osaka||Tour Ends||Kyoto or Osaka||Twin Share||AUD2,070||Single||AUD2,655|
7 nights 8 Days
Kyoto or Osaka - Tokushima (Temple 1, 2, 3, 11, 12, 13, 17, 20 and 21) - Kagawa (Temple 82, 81, 80) - Kyoto or Osaka
5 nights accommodation, 5 Breakfasts and 5 Dinners, Round-trip transportation from Kyoto or Osaka and 3 pre-paid taxis, Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions, Topographical map, Local phone support
Flights, Airport transfers, Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches, Pay locally for bus journeys on each day and the cable car journey on Day 3, Single room supplement(s) if required
Recommended from April to November
|Day 1 (Meals : D)|
Tokushima (Temples 1 to 3)
Walking distance : 5.8km
Elevation gain : Negligible ascent and descent
Time required : About 2 hours
Start from Kyoto or Osaka and travel by long-distance bus to Tokushima Prefecture. Begin your pilgrimage with a gentle introduction to the walks on Shikoku through quiet neighbourhoods of Tokushima. Visit three of the most eye-catching temples on whole trail - Temple 1 Ryozen-ji, Temple 2 Gokuraku-ji and Temple 3 Konsen-ji. Spend your first night as all pilgrims should - with a stay in a Shukubo Temple Lodging. There is also the option of staying at a city-centre Ryokan for this first night.
* An optional additional walk along paved roads to Temple 7 Juraku-ji can extend the day by 3km and around 45 minutes.
Hotel : Shukubo (Pilgrims Lodging) or Ryokan (Travellers Inn) in Tokushima
|Day 2 (Meals : B/D)|
Tokushima (Temples 11 to 12)
Walking distance : 17km
Elevation gain : 1,185m ascent and 995m descent
Time required : About 6-7 hours
Travel south from your Shukubo pilgrims lodging by pre-booked and pre-paid taxi to Temple 11 Fujii-dera, a fascinating temple complex at the base of Mount Shosan-ji. From here you hike up the mountain to Temple 12 Shosan-ji (mountain and temple share the same name), then finally descend to the east. The walk is strenuous, but very rewarding with beautiful scenery. Stay overnight in a rural inn at the end of the trail.
* You can reduce the walk to 4-5 hours (10.4km) and avoid the first half of the strenuous ascent up Mt. Shosan-ji. Simply pay locally to extend the taxi ride on the day - no need to decide in advance.
Hotel : Minshuku (Family-run guesthouse) or Hot-spring Ryokan (Travellers Inn) in Tokushima
|Day 3 (Meals : B/D)|
Tokushima (Temple 13 to 17)
Walking distance : 11.5km
Elevation gain : 335m ascent and 505m descent
Time required : About 3.5 hours
There are three walking options today. Choose an easier day if you wish - explore the Ichinomiya Castle ruins near Temple 13 Dainichi-ji before heading onwards by bus. Or select one of the walking options: a moderate rural forest trail with some paved mountain roads provides lovely valley views. A more challenging walk combines this forest trail with a cultural walk, which visits Temple 13 Dainichi-ji and passes four other temples along mostly flat, paved paths through suburban areas. From the end of either trail, you board a bus to reach the small Onsen village of Kamiyama and your inn for the evening.
* The more challenging option begins with the 3.5 hour moderate rural trail and then adds the more urban cultural temple walk of 9.2km along mostly flat paved roads.
Hotel : Hot-spring Ryokan (Travellers Inn) in Tokushima
|Day 4 (Meals : B/D)|
Tokushima (Temples 20 to 21)
Walking distance : 8.2km
Elevation gain : 460m of ascent and 470m descent
Time required : About 3-4 hours
Travel by pre-paid taxi to one of the most beautiful and varied hikes on the entire 88 Pilgrimage route. After a short but steep uphill walk to Temple 20 Kakurin-ji, the trail descends to the hamlet of Anan, crosses the Nakagawa River and climbs again to Temple 21 Tairyu-ji. End the day with a cable car ride with wonderful views over a cedar forest and the small town below. Travel by bus to your accommodation for the evening.
* The walk can be shortened to about 3 hours (8.2km). Simply pay locally to extend the taxi ride on the day - no need to decide in advance.
Hotel : Ryokan (Travellers Inn) or Hotel in Tokushima
|Day 5 (Meals : B/D)|
Kagawa (Temples 82 to 80)
Walking distance : 13.5km
Elevation gain : 335m of ascent and 655m of descent
Time required : About 5 hours
Leaving Tokushima, travel by train, bus and finally pre-booked and prepaid taxi to a rewarding hike in northern Kagawa Prefecture. Walk through lovely scenery and visit a fine collection of temples - Temple 82 Negoro-ji, Temple 81 Shiromine-ji and finally Temple 80 Kokubun-ji. Travel onwards by train for an overnight stay in the old hot-spring town of Kotohira Spa.
* The walk can be shortened by 1.5 hours (5.4km) by omitting the round-trip section to Temple 81 Shiromine-ji.
Hotel : Ryokan (Travellers Inn) in Kotohira
|Day 6 (Meals : B)|
After breakfast, spend some time exploring Kotohira Spa. Board a train after lunch for the return journey to Osaka or Kyoto, arriving late afternoon.
Hotel : N/A
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