Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 5 days

Mixed town roads (paved) and forest trails (unpaved) - a sometimes strenuous walk, with days of up to 8 hours of hiking

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 5 days

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April 2024
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Tour details

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 5 days
x1 traveller
USD 0
Single room additional charge
USD 515
TOTAL
USD 0

If you would like to do multiple tours in one trip or have a question about any of our tours, do not hesitate to contact us with the button below.

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Trip level:
    Intermediate
    Level
  • Availability: Recommended from March to November
  • Type:Self-guided
    Level
  • Price: USD 1,440(Price per person, based on 2 travellers sharing a room)
Highlights
  • Walk on lovely parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima and Kagawa
  • Visit some of the most atmospheric temples on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail
  • Spend a night in a Shukubo temple lodging, with authentic Shojin-Ryori Buddhist vegetarian cuisine
  • Experience an authentic pilgrimage journey with demanding hikes of up to 8 hours
  • Enjoy wonderful views over cedar forests and rural villages
  • Visit the relaxing hot-spring Onsen town of Kotohira Spa

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, traditionally covered the journey on foot over many weeks, staying overnight at Shukubo temple lodgings. Most modern travellers now travel from temple to temple by tour bus, but we have found sections of the original route which can still be enjoyed on foot.

On your final day, you may wish to try your hand at Sanuki Udon noodle-making. Please ask for information about tour extensions to the mountain-top temple town of Mount Koya with its monastery lodgings, or the UNESCO World Heritage of Miyajima Island, and Tomonoura Bay on the Setouchi inland sea.

Read about luggage options here.

Download PDF itinerary

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What is included
4 nights at Japanese inns on Shikoku Island
4 breakfasts and 3 dinners
Round-trip tranportation from Kyoto or Osaka and 3 pre-paid taxis
Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking directions and Shikoku Island guidebook
Topographical maps
Local support by telephone
Our Preparing for your trip and Travelling in Japan Guidebooks
What is not included
Flights
Airport transfers
Drinks and meals not included in itinerary
Local bus journeys which must be paid directly to the bus driver and the cable car journey on Day 3
Single room supplement(s) for solo occupancy
Daily Luggage Transfer
Itinerary
Map

 

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 eyecatching temples on the 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.

 

Walking distance: 5.8 km / 3.6 mi
Elevation gain: Negligible ascent and descent
Time required: About 2 hours

 

An optional additional walk along paved roads to Temple 7, Juraku-ji, can extend the day by 3 km / 1.9 mi and around 45 minutes.

 

Accommodation: Shukubo (temple lodging) or ryokan (traditional Japanese inn)
Meals: Dinner

 

Travel south from your temple lodging by pre-booked and pre-paid taxi to Temple 11, Fujii-dera, which is located at the bottom of a fascinating hillside temple complex. From Fujii-dera Temple, undertake a challenging hike to Temple 12, Shosan-ji. Although the full walk is one of the longest and most strenuous on the tour, it is rewarding with beautiful scenery. Walk onwards to Yorii and board a bus to the small onsen village of Kamiyama and your inn for the evening.

 

Walking distance: 19.2km / 11.9 miles
Elevation gain: 1,330 m / 4,365 ft of ascent and 1,210 m / 3,970 ft of descent
Time required: About 7-8 hours

 

You can reduce the walk to 5-6 hours (14.1 km / 8.8 mi) and avoid the first half of the strenuous ascent up Mount Shosan-ji. Simply pay locally to extend the taxi ride on the day – no need to decide in advance.

 

Accommodation: Onsen ryokan (hot spring inn) or Western-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast, dinner 

 

Travel by pre-paid taxi to one of the most beautiful and varied hikes on the entire 88 Pilgrimage route. From 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.

 
Walking distance: 8.2 km / 5.1 mi
Elevation gain: 460 m / 1,510 ft ascent and 470 m / 1,540 ft descent
Time required: About 3-4 hours

 

The walk can be extended to about 5 hours for travellers staying in Tokushima city. Please enquire if you would like to undertake this longer option.

 
Accommodation: Western-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast

 

Leaving Tokushima, travel by bus and a pre-paid 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.

 
Walking distance: 13.5 km / 8.4 mi
Elevation gain: 335 m / 1,100 ft ascent and 655 m / 2,150 ft descent
Time required: About 5 hours


The walk can be shortened by 1.5 hours (5.4 km / 3.4 mi) by omitting the round-trip section to Temple 81, Shiromine-ji.

 

Accommodation: Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

 

After breakfast, spend some time exploring Kotohira Spa. Board a train after lunch for the return journey to Osaka or Kyoto, arriving late afternoon.

 

Meals: Breakfast

 

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