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Highlights
  • Day hikes to the legendary temples of Shikoku
  • Explore the traditional Iya Valley, with its thatched houses and vine bridges
  • Meet pilgrims and hikers, sample Shikoku’s delicious fresh seafood with elusive umami—the “fifth taste”
  • Kochi Castle and Matsuyama-jo, two of the most famous original castles in Japan

For 1,200 years, o-henro-san (pilgrims) have walked the 88-temple pilgrimage route across Shikoku Island, following in the footsteps of the great 8th century Buddhist saint Kobo Daishi. We’ve selected the most beautiful temples—and hikes—to create a captivating journey across this legendary isle, with our Trip Leader who literally wrote the book on hiking in Japan. You’ll follow trails between venerated temples, climb Shikoku’s two highest peaks, and discover the remote Iya Valley, a vestige of old Japan with its kazura-bashi (vine bridges) and 300-year-old thatched farmhouses. Cultural adventures abound as well, from a soak in the thousand-year-old Dogo Onsen (hot spring) to stays at a temple lodging and a family-run ryokan in the mountains. Along the way you’ll sample Shikoku’s regional cuisine, including its renowned udon and sakes, and have the chance to meet Japanese pilgrims from all walks of life.

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Hiker's Journey to Shikoku

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Itinerary

Days 1-5: Osaka / Koyasan Monastery / Temple Hikes / Kochi

Our journey begins at historic Koyasan, the monastery where Kobo Daishi is buried. Pilgrims traditionally come here to ask for his “support” before starting their hikes and we’ll do the same. After getting our pilgrim’s “passport” (at each temple we get a red lacquer stamp), we head to Shikoku by boat, the time-honored way, to begin our pilgrimage at Temple 1. Following mountain paths leading between lovely small temples, we make a wide arc around Tosa Bay, including a visit to a “lucky” temple where pilgrims pray for good fortune.

Days 6-10: Iya Valley / Matsuyama / Dogo Onsen / Ishizuchi

In the Iya Valley, with its high peaks and deep gorges, our hike brings you up sacred Tsurugi-san, a peak shrouded in mystery and legend. After a visit to the famed Taga-jinja Fertility Shrine, we hike to cliff-perched Iwaya-ji Temple, soak in Matsuyama’s ancient Dogo Onsen hot baths, then take the cable car partway up Ishizuchi-san (6,503’), the “roof of Shikoku,” for an optional hike to its airy summit.

Days 11-13: Takamatsu

At Zentsu-ji Temple, where Kobo Daishi was born, you’ll walk through an underground tunnel that pilgrims must “feel” their way through, then climb the 1,368 steps to the shrines of Kompira-san. Our final stop is Okubo-ji, the last temple on the pilgrimage trail, with an overnight on Awaji Island, the legendary place where Japan was formed from a drop of saltwater from the spear of a god. Depart on Day 13 via Osaka.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 5,995

Price Per Day:

$ 461 per person
 
  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 750
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Includes
  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader
  • Accommodations: 11 nights hotels, inns, and ryokans, 1 night temple lodging
  • All meals included
  • Entrance fees for museums and sites as part of the itinerary
  • All ground transportation including chairlifts as needed
Trip Excludes
  • International airfare, airport transfers
  • Optional gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors
  • Pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas
  • Other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)
Meals Included:

All meals included

Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Intimate Group - 12 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 12
Max 12 members
Start City
Osaka
End City
Osaka

Trip ID#: hikjouwil

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