Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided (10 Days)

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided walking

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 4-day, 5-day, 6-day and 8-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.

Package Details

Information

Price : Adult (age 12+)

AUD 2,875

Duration : 9 nights 10 Days
Tour Start : Kyoto or Osaka
Tour End : Kyoto or Osaka
Walking days : 9 days (1-7 hours)
Departure Date : Any day (recommended from March until early December)
Route :
  • Kyoto or Osaka
  • Tokushima (Temple 1, 2, 3, 11, 12, 13, 17, 20 and 21)
  • Kagawa (Temple 82, 81, 80)
  • Ehime (Temple 57, 58, 59, 45, 44, 60, 61 and 62)
  • Kyoto or Osaka
Includes :
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 Breakfasts and 8 Dinners
  • Round-trip transportation from Kyoto or Osaka and 5 pre-paid taxis
  • Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions
  • Topographical map
  • Local phone support
Exclusions :
  • 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 4
  • Single room supplement(s) if required
Download : PDF Itinerary

Schedule

Day 1

(Meals : Dinner)

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 : Naruto

Day 2

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

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 : Tokushima

Day 3

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

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 : Tokushima

Day 4

(Meals : Breakfast)

Tokushima (Temples 20 to 21)

Walking distance : 11.4km

Elevation gain : 900m of ascent and 490m descent

Time required : About 5 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 : Tokushima

Day 5

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

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 : Kotohira Spa

Day 6

(Meals : Breakfast)

Kagawa (Kotohira Spa)

A full day to explore Kotohira Spa. Visit the Shinto shrine Konpira-dai-gongen, located half-way up Mount Zozu at an elevation of 521 metres. Try the famous local delicacy - delicious, hand-made, thick Udon noodles. You may also wish to visit the Konpira Grand Theatre Kanamaruza Kabuki Hall, the oldest original Kabuki Theatre and Temple 75 Zentsu-ji; the birthplace of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. Overnight in Kotohira Spa.

Hotel : Kotohira Spa

Day 7

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

Ehime (Temples 57 to 58)

Walking distance : 4.4km

Elevation gain : 250m of ascent and negligible descent

Time required : About 1.5 hours

Leaving Kagawa, 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

Day 8

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

Ehime (Temple 58 onwards)

Walking distance : 4.4km

Elevation gain : Negligible ascent and 250m descent

Time required : About 1 hour

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

Day 9

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

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

Day 10

(Meals : Breakfast)

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

Hotel

Most of our accommodation is Japanese style guest house and they are share bathroom.

Anraku-ji Anraku-ji Room Anraku-ji Bath

※ Example images, actual hotels may vary.

DayCityHotel NameHotel Type
1 Naruto Anraku-ji or similar Shukubo (Pilgrims Lodging) or Ryokan (Travellers Inn)
2 Tokushima - Minshuku (Family-run guesthouse) or Hot-spring Ryokan (Travellers Inn)
3 Tokushima - Hot-spring Ryokan (Travellers Inn) or Hotel
4 Tokushima - Ryokan (Travellers Inn) or Hotel
5-6 Kotohira Spa Kotobuki Ryokan or similar Ryokan (Travellers Inn)
7 Imabari Senyu-ji or similar Shukubo (Pilgrims Lodging) or Hotel
8-9 Dogo Onsen Sachiya Ryokan or similar Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)

Condition

Tour Operator : Oxalis Holidays Limited
Hotels : 9 nights Japanese-style Rooms
Meal : 9 Breakfasts, 8 Dinners
Participants : Minimum 1
Single Room Supplement :

AUD 690

Type and level of walking : Strenuous - Our Strenuous tours generally have multiple dedicated days of trail walking, with some days of up to six hours or more and significant ascent and/or descent.
Walking Season : Recommended from March until early December
Departures : Any day Accommodations are busy and may charge extra during the following Japanese holiday periods: New Year (29 December to 04 January), Golden Week (29 April - 05 May), and O-bon (09 - 17 August). Please enquire for availability and pricing if your trip falls within those dates.
International Flight : We offer the option of purchasing air inclusive tour packages, or land only tour packages, giving our customers the freedom to source their own flights. However, we are always more than happy to arrange your flights.

Gallery

Video courtesy of Oku Japan

PlayStop
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 01
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 02
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 03
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 04
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 05
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 06
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 07
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 08
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 09
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 10

Enquiry

Contact Us

  • +61 2 9264 7384
  • info@japanpackage.com.au
  • c/o Books Kinokuniya,
    Level 2 The Galeries,
    500 George Street, Sydney,
    New South Wales, Australia, 2000
  • Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 18:00
    Sat: 12:00 - 16:00
    Sun, Public Holiday: close

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