Walk the highlights of the 88 Temple pilgrimage trail on the island of Shikoku. Starting in Kyoto and ending in Osaka, the Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail brings together the best of Japan including stays in lively cities and peaceful rural walking.
Kyoto is one of the world’s most culturally rich cities and is home to 24 museums and no less than 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites! Home to the Japanese Imperial family between 794 and 1868, Kyoto has been central to Japanese history for centuries and a day is set aside allowing you to explore the sites. We recommend the Kiyomizu temple, Sanjusangendo Temple and a stroll along the relaxing Philosopher’s Path. After arriving at Tokushima Prefecture your pilgrimage begins with a walk through quiet neighbourhoods and visits to the first temples of the trip before spending the night in a traditional Shukubu Temple Lodging. Continuing south you visit the Ryusuian temple, part-way up Mount Shosanji, before continuing on to the second highest of the 88 temples on the trail.
From Tokushima you complete one of the most beautiful and varied walks of the trail which passes through the town on Anan before finishing with a cable car journey that gives fantastic views of the area. From Tokushima you travel to the Kagawa Prefecture and walk between temples 80 and 82 before staying in the most unique accommodations of the trip in the old hot spring town of Kotohira Spa. The Shinto shrine of Konpira-dai-gongen is located above Kotohira Spa, there are 785 steps to the main shrine and 1368 steps to the inner shrine. Having explored Kotohira Spa, take the train to the port town of Osaka where your tour ends.
102km over the course of 5 days of walking.
Although the daily distances are not large, this tour is graded as moderate due to the number of strenuous ascents and descents.
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.
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.
For visa requirements see the World Travel Guide before travelling to Japan.
See the Skikoku Pilgrimage Trail tour page for more information on this self-guided walking tour in Japan or if you have a specific question or would like to make an enquiry, contact a member of our team on [email protected].