0141 530 8886 | +1-866-355-1037 (USA & CANADA)

Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


Please wait …

Prayer tokens on the trail
×

Highlights

  • The highlights of Japan’s 88 Temple Pilgrimage route
  • Beautiful trails and scenery of the island of Shikoku
  • Stay in traditional Ryokan guesthouses and a Shukubo temple
  • Fresh and beautifully presented Japanese cuisine
  • Relax in natural hot spring baths after a day on the trail

Walk the highlights of the 88 Temple pilgrimage trail on the island of Shikoku. This tour includes only the walking section of our longer Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail itinerary. Catch the train/bus from Osaka or Kyoto to Tokushima, where your 5 day walk on Shikoku begins.

Follow trails to ancient Buddhist temples and become an ‘Ohenro-San’- the name given to Shikoku pilgrims.

Soak up the experience at the traditional Ryokan guesthouses with their natural spring baths and sincere hospitality. One night is spent staying in a Shukubu; lodging attached to the temples, where it is possible to join in morning prayers.

DAY 1:
Travel to Shikoku and walk to Temples 1 & 3

This morning you can sit back and take in the scenery as you travel to Shikoku by comfortable long-distance bus . Upon arrival at Tokushima Prefecture, begin your pilgrimage with a gentle walk through quiet neighbourhoods and visit three eye-catching temples, Ryozen-ji, Gokuraku-ji and Konsen-ji. Tonight is spent in a traditional Shukubo Temple lodging.


Walk: 6 km, ascent/descent negligible (option to extend by 3 km)


Dinner & Overnight: Higashihara, Pilgrim lodging


DAY 2: Walk Temples 11 to 12

Head south of the Yoshino river by private transfer to Temple 11– named Fujii-dera. Fujii-dera is an interesting hill-side temple with an equally interesting history. After some time spent exploring here, your transfer will take you to Ryusuian temple, part-way up Mount Shosanji. From here you will hike up to Temple 12– Shosan-ji. The walk is strenuous, which only makes the sense of accomplishment upon reaching Shosan-ji even greater. 


Walk: 10 / 13 km, 550m ascent, 1070m descent


Dinner & Overnight: Minshuku or Onsen Ryoken, Nabeiwaso


DAY 3: Walk Temples 13 to 17

A choice of walks today; take it easy with a cultural walk beginning at temple 13 and visiting four other temples on this mostly flat paved trail. Taking you through suburban areas catch a glimpse into the way of life here. A more challenging option offers stunning valley views with  forest trails and paved mountain roads, before joining the cultural walk. At the end of the walk, take a local bus to Tokushima where you will spend the night in a city centre Ryokan (traveller’s inn) or western-style hotel.  




Walk: 9 or 20 km,  ascent/descent: negligible


Dinner & Overnight: City Centre Ryokan or hotel, Tokushima


DAY 4: Walk Temples 20 to 21

Start the day with a short bus journey from the city to today’s walk, one of the most beautiful and varied walks on the entire 88 trail. A steep walk brings you to Temple 20—Kakurin-ji, before descending to the town of Anan. The trail then climbs once more to Temple 21– Tairyu-ji. Finish the day with a cable car journey (payable locally). With fantastic views this is a rewarding end to the day. Return by bus to Tokushima for your overnight stay.


Walk: 11 km, 900m ascent, 490m descent


Dinner & Overnight: City Centre Ryokan or hotel, Tokushima



DAY 5: Walk Temples 82 to 80

Leave Tokushima behind today and travel by bus, train and pre-booked taxi to Kagawa Prefecture. A fine selection of temples to visit today through lovely scenery. Temple 82– Negoro-ji, Temple 81—Shiromine-ji and finally Temple 80– Kokubun-ji. Then travel by train to the old hot spring town of Kotohira Spa for your overnight stay.


Walk: 14 km, 335m ascent, 655m descent


Dinner & Overnight: Kotohira Spa, Ryokan


DAY 6: Onward Travel to Osaka


Take the morning to explore Kotohira spa. Visit the Shinto shrine of Konpira-dai-gongen. Located at an altitude of 521m, there are 785 steps to the main shrine and 1368 steps to the inner shrine. If you’d rather take it easy today, relax in the town and perhaps sample the local delicacy– thick, handmade Udon noodles. Board an afternoon train to the port city of Osaka where you will be spending the night


Overnight: Not included


Trip Extensions

Why not extend your stay in Japan with one of the following extensions which include return rail tickets from Kyoto, which we would be happy to arrange.We would of course also be happy to book accommodation in Kyoto, Osaka or Tokyo if required.


Nara & Mount Koya

Located just 2 hours by train from Kyoto, Nara is home to no less than 8 World Heritage Sites and highlights include the world's largest Buddha statue as well as numerous beautiful temples and Japanese gardens. Mount Koya is an atmospheric temple complex south of Kyoto which is home to around 100 temples and shukubo (pilgrim's lodging). We can arrange a 5 night add-on package to Nara & Mount Koya which also includes an additional night in Kyoto (this can be removed if you would prefer to just have the 2 nights in Kyoto as part of your main tour above.)


Kyoto & Asuka

The peaceful, rural village of Asuka located on the southern edge of the Yamato Plain makes an excellent side-trip from Kyoto or Osaka. Our 4 night add on package includes 2 nights here with 2 nights in Kyoto as well as return rail tickets from Kyoto.

Accommodation

On this tour you will stay in a mixture of Ryokan, Minshuku or western style hotels in Tokushima and a Shukubo temple. Ryokan and Minshuku are traditional family run Japanese style inns with an emphasis on personalised service and homemade food. They tend to be furnished with ‘tatami’ (straw mat) floors and you will sleep on a futon (which are surprisingly comfortable!)


Shukubo are pilgrim’s lodgings attached to the temples. They are similar to Ryokan and Minshuku but  are a bit simpler and bathroom facilities are  shared. There are several shared toilets and washbasins, and two rooms for communal bathing in natural thermal water, segregated by gender. The food is prepared in similar style to Buddhist Shojin cuisine, but do include some meat and fish.  It is a wonderful experience to stay in a shukubo and there is also the opportunity to join the early morning religious service.


In the large cities like Tokushima you may be accommodated in a western style hotel of a 3*standard. Please see below for an example of the accommodation we use.


 


Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

This trip is available to solo walkers and a limited number of single
rooms are available, although a single/solo supplement is payable.




 

 

 



Anraku-ji, Higashihara



Anraku-ji Higashihara

A pilgrim’s lodging attached to the Anraku-ji buddisht temple; this is certainly a unique place to stay! This property has shared bathrooms and washbasins and there are natural thermal baths, segregated by gender. Join in the optional Buddhist prayers or browse the large selection of books available.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Kotobuki Ryokan, Kotohira Spa



Kotobuki Ryokan Kotohira Spa

The inn has just six guest rooms and two Hinoki cypress baths; one larger and one smaller, which can both be used privately by guests in turn; showers are available in the morning. Wi-Fi is also available.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Subaruyado Yoshino, Tokushima



Subaruyado Yoshino, Tokushima

This Ryokan (traditional Japanese guesthouse) has 38 tatami rooms, all with private toilet and Japanese style bathrooms in addition to wonderful spa-style baths, one for men and one for women.


 

 

 

Our specialist Laura travelled to Japan in 2014 and you can read her
experience of some of the more traditional style accommodations, Minshuku and Ryokan, on the blog.



 

Availability

This trip is available from early April until the end of October.


Accommodations are busy and may charge extra during the following Japanese holiday periods: New Year (29 December - 04 January), Golden Week (29 April - 05 May), and O-bon (09-17 August)


Time of Year

It is tough to beat the spring months of April and May but the autumn colours in October is also lovely. It can get quite hot and humid in July and August. Overall, the best months to travel are either April-June or September-October.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is available to solo walkers and a limited number of single rooms are available, although a single/solo supplement is payable.  


Grade & Terrain

This tour is graded moderate with walks as long as 14km (with some longer options on most days) with some strenuous ascents and descents. You should be a regular walker in good shape to get the most from the trip. Terrain is varied with a mix of paved  paths, woodland trails, stone steps and trails alongside paddy fields.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The route is partly way marked (in English and Japanese) and we provide detailed route notes and topographic maps so you should have no problem following the trail.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight clothes, waterproofs and a day pack.


Baggage Transfers

Luggage transfer is not included during your walk as standard. The easiest option here is to arrange luggage transfers by a service called Takkyubin which is a courier service in Japan and can only be booked in Japan. This is cheap, reliable and costs approx £12 per day. With this service your bags will not be moved each day but instead will be waiting for you at your accommodation a couple of nights later. Our information pack
has full details of how to use this service, which is really easy. Please contact our destination specialists if you would like more info about bag transfer options. 


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof cloths, and lightweight clothing for summer.


Visas

Please check your visa requirements with the foreign office or the embassy in your country of residence before travelling to Japan.


British nationals wishing to visit Japan for three months or less for business, tourism or family purposes etc (but not to work for a local employer) may do so without a visa. You must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket. Please visit www.fco.gov.uk for up to date information.

Getting to and from Japan

By Air:

The best airport to arrive at is Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX), which has flights from international destinations.
You can also fly into Tokyo Narita (NRT) and take an internal flight or the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto (3h30).


The West Japan Rail Company operates services between Kansai Airport and Osaka/Kyoto. For timetable information please visit http://www.westjr.co.jp/global.en/travel-information/timetable. The Airport Express HARUKA (Kansai Airport Line) takes approx 75 mins to Kyoto.


Getting around:


Your package includes train tickets from/to Kyoto or Osaka. The public transport system in Japan is world class and your pre departure information pack has detailed information on tickets, trains and how to use public transport easily.


Our specialist Laura travelled to Japan in 2014 and you can read her experience of using public transport, on the blog.


Visas


Please check your visa requirements with the foreign office or the embassy in your country of residence before travelling to Japan.


British nationals wishing to visit Japan for three months or less for business, tourism or family purposes etc (but not to work for a local employer) may do so without a visa. You must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket. Please visit www.fco.gov.uk for up to date information.

Included

  • 5 nights accommodation in Ryokan, Shukubu and 3* hotels
  • 5 breakfasts
  • 5 dinners
  • Bus/train tickets to and from Shikoku
  • Tickets for journeys on the trail
  • Private transfers on day 2
  • Detailed information pack with local travel information, detailed route notes, topographical maps and hints and tips.
  • Telephone support from our local, English speaking, representative.

Excluded

  • International flights and travel to Kyoto/from Osaka
  • Drinks with meals
  • Lunch
  • Local buses on Shikoku (paid locally)
  • Baggage forwarding is not included, though we provide instructions for how this can be easily arranged locally or you can pre-book as an optional extra
  • Travel insurance

Extras

  • Additional nights on the trail or in Kyoto, Tokyo or Osaka
  • Extensions to Mount Koya, Nara
  • Single room supplement(s) if required
  • Daily Luggage Transfers (Takijiri to Nachi-San)

We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.

How fit do I need to be?

The walk is graded moderate but it does involve some days with fairly steep ascents and descents.The terrain can also be quite tricky underfoot as wet tree roots can be quite slippy at times.  Most days have a shorter and longer option to choose from so you can usually makes things a bit easier if you feel like an easy-going day.

Which is the best airport to fly to?

The best airport to arrive at is Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX), which has flights from international destinations. You can also fly into Tokyo Narita (NRT) and take an internal flight or the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto (3h30).

What about luggage transfers?

Luggage transfer is not included during your walk as standard and you have a couple of options here. The first option is to arrange luggage transfers by a service called Takkyubin which is a courier service in Japan and can only be booked in Japan. This is cheap, reliable and costs approx £12 per day. With this service your bags will not be moved each day but instead will be waiting for you at your accommodation a couple of nights later. Our information pack has full details of how to use this service, which is really easy. Please contact us if you have any questions about this at all.

Can you accommodate specific dietary requirements?

Yes, please just let us know at the time of booking. Most food during the walk is Japanese style. It is worth mentioning however that many dishes do contain the ubiquitous Japanese fish stock called dashi which is an ingredient in many soups and sauces so it is helpful if you are able to accept dishes containing this.

Do I need to speak Japanese?

No, our detailed info pack and a little bit of effort on your part will get you by. Most signs are also in English. Our specialist Laura travelled to Japan in 2014 and you can read her experience of travelling in Japan with little language skills on the blog.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, warm clothing in the early/late part of the year and hats etc during the summer. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack. 

When is the best time of year?

It is tough to beat the spring months of April and May but the autumn colours in October are also lovely. It can get quite hot and humid in July and August. Overall, the best months to travel are either April-June or September-October.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureShikoku Pilgrimage Trail Walk Only
 
4.0

(based on 1 review)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

Reviewed by 1 customer

Displaying review 1

Back to top

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

A walk in the forest

By Jennifer

from Australia

About Me Occasional Traveller, World Traveller

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Great Accommodations
  • Once in a Lifetime Experience
  • Well Organised

Cons

  • Exhausting

Best Uses

  • Trying Something New

Comments about macs adventure Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail Walk Only:

I thought that I had made a big mistake when I took on this tour. I knew very little about what I was getting into. I knew nothing about Japan. I was on my own.
The tour went exactly according to plan. I followed the directions to the letter. And at the end of each day I found the safe haven in the comfort of the accommodation. It ended up being perfect. Maybe a little hard at times and somewhat confronting at others but I feel satisfied that I completed the walk. I have a new appreciation of the tour organisers.

Displaying review 1

Back to top

×
×
Enquire Now



Read our privacy policy

Book self-guided walking holidays and cycling holidays with Macs Adventure. Explore Europe, the UK and the rest of the world on our walking holidays and cycling holidays, and find out why thousands of people trust us to arrange their perfect self-guided adventure.


Get In Touch

lf you require more information before booking, please contact us on

+44 (0)141 530 5464

+1 -844-858-0740

(USA & CANADA)

© 2017

Macs Adventure - Head Office: Skypark 5, 45 Finnieston Street, Glasgow, G3 8JU, UK

| Sitemap