Tokushima to Kobe: Self-Guided Walking 4 Days Premium

Discover the compelling story of the birth of Japan through Awajishima Island; an important gateway between Shikoku Island and mainland Japan, via Tokushima on the east of Shikoku, through the foliage rich Awajishima Island and onwards to the bustling port town of Kobe on mainland Honshu. The region is home to excellent cuisine and Onsen hot springs, and this premium four day self-guided trip takes in delightfully comfortable Japanese hotels and Ryokan, as well as the best hiking the region has to offer.

If you would like to book this tour, please enquire using the "Ask a question" button below.

Tokushima to Kobe: Self-Guided Walking 4 Days Premium

Number of travellers

Start date

January 2024

Tour details

Tokushima to Kobe: Self-Guided Walking 4 Days Premium
x1 traveller
Single room additional charge
USD 1,655

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: 4 days
  • Trip level:
  • Availability: April to November
  • Type:Self-guided
  • Price: USD 2,140(Price per person, based on 2 travellers sharing a room)
  • Learn the history of Tokushima, through the cultural museum dedicated to the iconic Awa Odori festival and remains of Tokushima castle
  • Explore the deep culture and nature of Awajishima Island and castle town Sumoto Onsen
  • Enjoy the abundant nature with gentle hikes on Shikoku, Awajishima and Honshu (mainland Japan) islands
  • Immerse in local culture at the myriad museums and local crafts culture on three distinct islands
  • Stay in three premium Japanese accommodations typically featuring relaxing onsen baths and delicious regional cuisine


In partnership with

The Seto Inland Sea is a narrow strait which connects the Sea of Japan to the Pacific Ocean, and until the late 1800s served as the main transportation link between Kansai in the east and Kyushu island to the west. As one of the first regions of Japan to be designated with National Park status in 1934, the Seto Inland National Park has grown to encompass over 3,000 islands in a Mediterranean climate, making it the ideal location within Japan to grow produce, including mandarin oranges and sweet potatoes, considered local delicacies in the region, and also an excellent spot for hiking.

Our tour follows the eastern side of the inland sea, from the small city of Tokushima on the north-east of Shikoku Island, through to Awajishima Island, an important island told through folktales to be a key area in the birthplace of Japan. After experiencing the deep culture of this rural island, we continue on to Kobe, a modern bustling port town, with great onsen, unique local cuisine (including the world-famous Kobe beef) and excellent hiking on the adjoining mountain range.

Our standard tour features four entry-level, optional hikes. Please ask for information about our tour extensions to the mountain-top temple town of Mount Koya with its monastery lodgings, or the peaceful, agricultural community of Asuka at a charming Japanese inn or with a local family for a unique homestay experience. It is also possible to visit the historic Awaji Ningyoza puppet theatre, visit the lively fishing town of Fukura on southern Awaji, experience the world-famous Naruto whirlpools from either Awaji or Tokushima and the first temple on the iconic Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage; please enquire to add any of these experiences into your tour.

What is included


3 nights at premium Japanese accommodations
3 breakfasts & 3 dinners
Bus tickets starting in either Kyoto or Osaka and through travel to Kobe
Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking directions
Topographical maps
Our Preparing for your trip and Traveling in Japan Guidebooks
Local support by telephone
Optional orientation at our Kyoto office



What is not included


Airport transfers
Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches
Pay locally for a bus journey on Day 3
Pay locally for other transportation options
Single room supplement(s) if required









The compact city of Tokushima is best known for its elaborate and extravagant festival; the Awa Odori Matsuri, typically held during Japan’s festival of the dead, Obon, in the middle of sultry August. The festival is a celebration of past relatives, and through Tokushima’s biggest export, indigo, cultural exchanges with other regions were born, thereby allowing the festival participants to incorporate dances previously found only outside of Shikoku Island.


From Kyoto or Osaka, pass over the Inland Sea to Tokushima. Now best-known for the iconic Awa Odori parade and festival, the main town can easily be explored after arrival, with options to visit the Awa Odori Kaikan museum to learn about the festival, and the remains of Tokushima castle with views out over the surrounding area. 


There is also a scenic hike to a mountain summit high above the city, affording almost 360 degree views out over Tokushima and the Seto Inland Sea, where we will progress on to the next day. 


Return to the foot of the mountain by cable car, affording views of the local area and the completed hike, and leave the city by train to receive a complimentary transfer from your Japanese-style Onsen hotel to the north of Tokushima in the evening.


It is also possible to include either a local experience unique to the region; a premium Aizome tie-dying lesson, or special access to a traditional puppet theatre the next morning. Both experiences are also possible with an additional night in the region; please enquire for options.


Walking distance: 1.1 miles / 1.8km to the main viewing spot, 2.8 miles / 4.4km to the summit
Elevation gain: 400m / 1,300 feet of ascent and 160m / 525 feet of descent to the summit
Time required: 1-2 hours

Accommodation: Premium Japanese Onsen Hotel
Meals: Dinner

Awaji Island holds a fantastic creation myth around the birth of Japan. The Kuniumi Story concerns the Creation of Heaven and Earth, the opening story of the Kojiki, Japan's oldest historical record, which tells of the Shinto deities Izanagi-no-mikoto and Izanami-no-mikoto, who made the physical world with a holy spear, to give birth to Japan.


It is in this folktale rich region we hike to the lovingly rebuilt Sumoto Castle, which affords fantastic views out over the onsen town of Sumoto and the nearby bay. Founded in the Eisho period of the early 1500s, the castle was the stage for various upsets at a time of upheaval, with its first owner assassinated in 1581 at the request of the second unifier of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.


Our walk takes in the full grounds and approach to the castle, before returning to the scenic beach at the coastal side of the town, where we overnight at a comfortable Onsen accommodation in the evening.


Walking distance: 1.4 miles / 2.2km (with an additional 1.2km if taking the beachside walk)

Elevation gain: 140m / 460 feet of ascent and descent
Time required: About 1 - 2 hours

Accommodation: Premium Japanese Onsen Hotel 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinne

This morning, experience the local food culture of Awaji with a fantastic local bi-lingual guide. Awajishima Island has some of the freshest farm produce and seafood in central Japan, and we have the opportunity to explore this deep culture through visits to a number of smaller local farms and factories where locally grown or caught prizes are prepared for shipping to wider Awaji and mainland Japan.

In the afternoon, travel towards Kobe port via a varied hiking route in Sumaura travelling over three peaks. From the end of the trail, we head into central Kobe for a comfortable stay in the city.

Walking distance: three options from 3.2 miles / 5.2km up to 7 miles / 11.3km
Elevation gain: From 380m / 1250 up to 850m / 2790 feet of ascent and descent
Time required: 2-3 hours up to 5-6 for the full walk

Non-hiking option
It is also possible to skip the hike this morning by riding a scenic ropeway up to the top of the mountain. You can choose which option you prefer on the day – there is no need to decide in advance.


Optional experience (please enquire in advance)
After learning about the local farming and fishing culture in the morning, before heading on to Kobe, you may like to put your knowledge into practice with lunch at a fantastic premium local Ryotei restaurant in central Awaji.

Accommodation: Premium Japanese Hotel or Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

As a lively port town, Kobe is perhaps best known for its night time illuminations, Chinatown, unique fashion culture and fantastic hiking opportunities in its mountain range on the north side of the city.

After breakfast, we will explore one such hike; a final hike from your inn via an ascending route from Shin-Kobe station to Nunobiki Waterfall, ending with an arrival into a serene flower park with great views overlooking the city and bay ending with a final cable car into the city. There are further exploration opportunities in the local area, with the fantastic Takenaka Carpentry Museum and central Kobe. In the afternoon, there are also options to visit the excellent Prefectural Art Museum and a myriad of Sake Breweries in the port before heading onwards.

After the ride down the mountain, there are further exploration opportunities in the local area, with the fantastic Takenaka Carpentry Tools, housed in a beautiful gallery, which showcases the fascinating world of traditional Japanese carpentry and design. The museum houses more than 32,000 items related to traditional architecture and wooden construction unique to Japan, including tools, models, documents, and scale building components, and enables visitors to gain hands-on knowledge of past building materials and methods - of which feature at historic temples such as Engyoji and the country’s numerous hand-built wooden temples, traditional residences, and tearooms. In the afternoon, you are free to explore Kobe further, or head onwards by bullet train from Shin-Kobe station, where the tour ends.

Walking distance: 2 miles / 3.2km to the viewing platform (with the option to return on foot)
Elevation gain: 380m / 1250 feet of ascent and negligible descent 
Time required: 2-3 hours to the cable car station at the summit

Non-hiking option
It is also possible to skip the hike this morning by riding a scenic ropeway up to the top of the mountain. You can choose which option you prefer on the day – there is no need to decide in advance.

Meals: Breakfast

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