A bamboo forest along the Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail, Japan

Adventure of the Week, Discovery, Walking

Adventure of the Week – Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail

1 Feb , 2017  

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.


Where?

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.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto.

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.

The accommodation at Shukubo Temple along the Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail.

The accommodation at Shukubo Temple is stunning.

Distance?

102km over the course of 5 days of walking.

Grade?

Although the daily distances are not large, this tour is graded as moderate due to the number of strenuous ascents and descents.

Why walk it?

  • The Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail is the perfect trip for those looking to experience the contemplation of a pilgrimage route that meanders through the Japanese countryside.
The Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail takes the walker through rural landscapes on the island of Shikoku.

The Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail takes the walker through rural landscapes on the island of Shikoku.

  • Visit one of the world’s most culturally important cities, Kyoto, a city that was the seat of Japanese power for over 1,000 years and has 1600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines and 24 museums.
The Philosopher's Path in Kyoto.

The Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto.

  • An authentic Japanese experience. Walking along the beautiful trails through rural communities set amidst Shikoku’s stunning scenery, try the fresh and varied Japanese cuisine and stay in traditional Ryokan guesthouses and a Shukubo temple.
Japanese cuisine places a strong emphasis on seasonal ingredients.

Japanese cuisine places a strong emphasis on seasonal ingredients.

Planning and preparation…

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.

Visas

For visa requirements see the World Travel Guide before travelling to Japan.

There are 88 temples along the Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail.

There are 88 temples along the Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail.


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].

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Having graduated in 2015 I joined the team here at Macs Adventure in May 2016. I split my time between spreading the word about our range of fantastic walking and cycling tours, building my knowledge of digital marketing and deciding where to travel next...