SETOUCHI TOURS​

SETOUCHI TOURS

Travel and Adventure

Shikoku Pilgrimage with Walks

8 Days

Many people are interested in walking some of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, but not all of it. Eighty percent of the pilgrimage is on heavily trafficked roads and is no fun to walk, so we don’t recommend that. The remaining twenty percent is on beautiful mountain trails. But discovering 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 may 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.

For those who would like to try walking temple to temple, we offer the Walking Pilgrimage in Tokushima tour. We cannot undertake to help you walk all of the pilgrimage consecutively.

You arrive in Matsuyama by air, rail, or bus and check into your hotel.

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. The route includes some very steep 'henro korogashi' sections. 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. Your accommodation is a luxurious onsen ryokan hotel in the spa town of Dōgo.

Hike
Distance: 3.3 km Gain: 531 m Loss: 44 m

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. 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

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. Tonight’s accommodation is a beautiful traditional house. Dinner is at a local izakaya restaurant.

Hike
Distance: 5.5 km Gain: 559 m Loss: 5 m

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

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. Your accommodation is a modern hotel beside the Inland Sea.

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

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. 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

Included

  • Guide
  • Transport
  • Meals
  • Basic insurance

Not included

  • Travel to and from Shikoku
  • Drinks
  • Comprehensive personal insurance

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Shikoku Pilgrimage with Walks
From ¥358,000
/ Adult
From ¥598,000
/ person with 2
From ¥488,000
/ person with 3
From ¥398,000
/ person with 4
From ¥368,000
/ person with 5
From ¥368,000
/ person with 6
From ¥358,000
/ person with 7
From ¥358,000
/ person with 8