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All Japan Tours       337 N.Vineyard Ave Suite 215, Ontario, CA 91764
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Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail Walking & Hiking Tour: Autumn

A small-group guided walking & hiking tour to Sacred Mount Koya & The Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage Trail.

Tour Code: GTY3663014

Tour Information

Land cost: from USD $5210.00 (Limit to 13 guests)

Single supplement: USD $550.00

Tour duration: 13 days 12 nights

Destination:
Mt Koya / Tokushima / Iya Valley / Kochi / Matsuyama / Kagawa

Tour cost includes:
• 12 nights in hotels and Japanese-style inns (Ryokan, Minshuku and Shukubo)
• All transportation between tour locations
• Forwarding of one item of luggage
• Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
• Gratuities
Meals
• Breakfast everyday
• 9 dinners
Admission fees and activities
• All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

Dates & Price
2023
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Sun. Oct 15, 2023 Fri. Oct 27, 2023 USD $5210.00 Osaka Kotohira Onsen Discovery View Tour

Please Note:
All prices are per person, based on twin (double on request) or triple occupancy.
International flights are not included on our tours - this allows you the flexibility to choose your own departure and get the best value for your money!
We can arrange international flights for US customers if needed, please ask for details.

Itinerary

Day 1

Meet in Osaka

Welcome to Osaka! Meet your guide and other group members in the evening at the hotel in Osaka. From there we will enjoy a delicious welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Welcome Dinner

Hotel Monterey Grasmere Osaka or similar class (Western Hotel)

Day 2

Travel to Mount Koya and sightseeing

In the morning, we will take a scenic train ride along Nankai Railway Line to Mount Koya, located in the mountains of the Kii Peninsula and surrounded by towering cedar trees. Founded in the 9th century by monk Kobo Daishi, Mount Koya is the headquarters of Japanese Buddhism. Pilgrims have traditionally visited Mount Koya on their route to pray and ask Kobo Daishi to bless their journey. Today, there are well over 100 monasteries, many of which have shukubo (temple lodgings). Tonight, we will stay in one of the marvelous temples and feast on shojin-ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. Afterwards, we will visit Daishi’s mausoleum, where Daishi is thought to be in eternal meditation, awaiting the Buddha of the Future. We will then take a walk through the Okuno-in Cemetery, considered one of the most sacred places in Japan.

Breakfast / Dinner

Yochiin or similar class (Shukubo Temple Lodging)

Day 3

Travel to Tokushima and walk Ryozenji Temple to Kosenji Temple

Today, we board a private vehicle headed to Wakayama Port, where we will then take a ferry ride to Tokushima Prefecture located in eastern Shikoku. Enjoy the scenery as you pass through the quaint suburban neighborhoods and visit the three gorgeous temples on the pilgrimage route. The first temple we will visit is the Ryozen-ji or Vulture Mountain Temple, which was built in the 8th century. As the first temple along the Shikoku Pilgrimage, many pilgrims begin their journey here. Next, we move on to the Gokuraku- ji or Celestial Temple, which is classified as a national treasure. Take a stroll through the gardens or marvel at the Japanese cedar believed to be over a thousand years old. The third and final temple that we will visit is the atmospheric Konsen-ji, otherwise known as the Golden Fountain Temple, which is home to a ruby red pagoda and bridge. It is here that Kobo Daishi is said to have performed the miracle of striking the ground, with water then gushing forth. After the walk, we will go to our Shukubo temple lodging for the evening via private vehicle.

Walking distance: 6 km / 3.7 miles
Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent

Breakfast / Dinner

Anrakuji or similar class (Shukubo Temple Lodging)

Day 4

Walk from Fujiidera Temple to Shosanji Temple

Located at the base of Mount Shosan-ji and surrounded by three mountains, we will travel by private vehicle to the 11th Temple, Fujiidera, also known as Temple of the Wisteria Well. We will then go through one of the most exceptional, yet challenging walks on the whole pilgrimage known as the ‘henro- korogashi’ through forests and over three peaks. The route will take us up to an elevation of 900 meters, or approximately 3,000 feet, the highest point on the whole trip. Completing these three peaks is incredibly rewarding as we reach our goal for the day, Shosanji, a breathtaking temple with magnificent views of the valley. If you would prefer a shorter walk, our private vehicle will take you halfway along the trail to meet with the rest of the group. Our accommodation for the night is a small and comfortable Japanese inn that serves delectable meals.

Walking distance: 11.9 km / 7.4 miles
Elevation gain: 1230 m / 4035 feet ascent; 560 m / 1870 feet descent
Time required: 5 hours

Breakfast / Dinner

Nabeiwaso or similar class (Minshuku)

Day 5

Walk from Kakurinji Temple to Tairyuji Temple

We will continue our journey this morning by private vehicle to Temple 20, Kakurin-ji or 'Crane Forest Temple', located on Washigao’s 550-meter summit, with the temple being founded by Kobo Daishi in 799. The temple’s main approach, also known ‘sando’ in Japanese, is surrounded by tall pine and Hinoko cypress trees. From here will head up towards Temple 21 Tairyu-ji, also known as temple of the Mystical Dragon, which lies near the mountain peak. Kobo Daishi practiced ascetic Buddhism here at the age of 19 in which he founded the temple in 793. Enjoy the intricate carvings and the beautiful ceiling paintings throughout the temple. We will then take a cable car ride back down the path, which offers breathtaking views of the sea and the cedar forest. We will continue on by vehicle to the central mountains and a secluded valley area, where we will stay the night at the fabulous hot-spring location of Iya Onsen.

Walking distance: 7.1 km / 4.4 miles
Elevation gain: 460 m / 1510 feet ascent; 470 m / 1540 feet descent
Time required: 2.5 hours

Breakfast / Dinner

Hotel Iya Onsen or similar class (Onsen Ryokan)

Day 6

Walking Mount Tsurugi

After breakfast, we will take our private vehicle and explore the hidden valley region. We will first visit kazura-bashi, the valley’s unique vine bridge that stretches across the Iya River. In the past, the valley once had 13 bridges that helped travelers move about easily. Today, only three of these bridges are left, and while their origin is unknown, many people say that Heike refugees hiding in the area created these bridges. From there we will head to the second highest peak in Shikoku with a height of 1,955 meters, approximately 6,500 feet, Tsurugi-san. The peak is the center of Shugendo, a Japanese folk religion based on mountain worship. Once we arrive, we will take a chairlift up to the start of our hour long walk leading us to the summit. Wooden boardwalks will lead us to various viewpoints with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. In the late afternoon, we will return to our inn at Iya Onsen for another refreshing soak in thermal waters. Enjoy dinner for tonight, as we taste the delectable local cuisine.

Walking distance: 4 km / 2.5 miles
Elevation gain: 330 m / 1320 feet ascent; 330 m / 1320 feet descent
Time required: 1.5 hours

Breakfast / Dinner

Hotel Iya Onsen or similar class (Onsen Ryokan)

Day 7

Travel to Kochi-shi and sightseeing

Today we will travel to Kochi city in Kochi Prefecture, formerly known as Tosa Province. Although the largest prefecture in Shikoku, it has the smallest population. Once we arrive, we will visit a unique rock formation right next to the sea known as Katsurahama Rocks. We will then enjoy lunch at a nearby market, boasting a fantastic collection of over 60 shops. The market is known as 'Hirome Ichiba' and contains fresh, local produce and even international cuisine. After our delicious lunch, we will visit Temple 31 Chikurin-ji, also known as the Bamboo Forest, with a museum of temple treasures. Famous throughout Japan for its beauty, the garden here was designed by the famous master monk of the Rinzai Sec named Muso Souseki. Tonight, we will stay in a cozy hotel in Kochi city.

Breakfast / Dinner

Nikko Asahi Royal Hotel or similar class (Western Hotel)

Day 8

Half day sightseeing in Kochi-shi and travel to Matsuyama

This morning we will visit Kochi Castle, one of twelve original castles in Japan that has not been lost to fires, war, or other disasters. Enjoy walking around the area, which also hosts the popular 300-year-old market with 500 outdoor stalls. This market offers local products at a very reasonable price and stretches for more than half a mile from the entrance of Kochi Castle. After lunch, we will make our way to Ehime Prefecture, formerly known as Iyo Province, and stop midway to see the beautiful and historic town of Uchiko. This town once flourished as a center for traditional wax and paper manufacturing. Tonight, we will be staying in a hotel in the charming city of Matsuyama, not too far from the oldest hot spring, Dogo Onsen, which boasts over 3,000 years of history. We will be staying here for the next three nights. In the evening, as dinner is not included, you can try local restaurants or ask your tour guide for suggestions on the best places to eat in the area.

Breakfast

ANA Crowne Plaza Matsuyama or similar class (Western Hotel)

Day 9

Walk from Daihoji Temple to Iwayaji Temple

We will begin our day's journey by private vehicle to the Kumakogen Highlands located in central Ehime. We will begin our hike from a fitting midway point on the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage, Temple 44 Daihoji, or the Great Treasure Temple. Surrounded by the ancient and towering cypress trees, the temple can be difficult to spot at first. We will continue on our stunning hike through the forest, where we will first visit Temple 45 Iwaya-ji, also known as Rock Canvern-Housed Temple. This marvelous temple is located within the mountain along with hundreds of Jizo statues, a representation of Jizo Bosatsu. This temple was once one of the main sties where Kobo Daishi meditated after founding the temple back in 805. A unique feature of the temple is the ladder that leads up to a secluded cave where the monk would spend many hours chanting. Along the walls of the cave, you can find coins which show Kobo Daishi’s enduring influence. After our walk, we will return to the city of Matsuyama in the late afternoon by private vehicle.

Walking distance: 11.7 km / 7.3 miles
Elevation gain: 650 m / 2130 feet ascent; 580 m / 1900 feet decent
Time required: 4 hours

Breakfast

ANA Crowne Plaza Matsuyama or similar class (Western Hotel)

Day 10

Sightseeing in Matsuyama

Today will be a leisurely day to explore around Matsuyama city and Dogo Onsen by public transportation. We will enjoy a short ride on the tram/streetcar and take a nice walk up towards the iconic Matsuyama Castle. Located on the hilltop, the castle looks down towards the city and is a prime example of a feudal castle. We will then once again take tram/streetcar in the afternoon to visit Temple 51 Ishiteji, also known as the Stone Hand Temple, with a unique legend. Here you will find seven magnificent buildings on the temple grounds, some which hold temple treasures, deemed as important cultural assets. After our visit to the temple, we will visit the atmospheric town of Dogo and visit Isaniwa Shrine. We will also stroll around the main old-fashioned shopping arcades before returning back to our hotel in Matsuyama city in the late afternoon.

Breakfast

ANA Crowne Plaza Matsuyama or similar class (Western Hotel)

Day 11

Walk from Kokubunji Temple, to Shiromineji Temple and then to Negoroji Temple

Our trip today first brings us to Temple 80 Awa Kokubunji, or Awa State Provincial Temple, in Kagawa Prefecture, formerly known as Sanuki Province. The well-preserved structures at the temple and its building are overflowing with history and atmosphere. From there we will then make our way up towards Temple 81 Shiromine-ji, also known as White Peak Temple, located at the summit of Mount Shiromine. Here, a mausoleum and memorial can be found for the 12th Centruy Emperor, Sutoku. Afterwards, we will walk down towards Temple 82 Negoro-ji, also known Fragrant Root Temple, along with its beautiful lanterns hidden away deep inside the heart of the complex. From there we will then travel by private vehicle towards the small town of Kagawa, famous for Konpirasan, a large Shinto shrine complex dedicated to sailors and seafaring. Tonight, we will stay in a charming hot-spring Ryokan located in the town.

Walking distance: 13.5 km / 8.4 miles
Elevation gain: 655 m / 2150 feet ascent; 335 m / 1100 feet decent
Time required: 4.5 hours

Breakfast / Dinner

Kotohira Onsen Kotosankaku or similar class (Onsen Ryokan)

Day 12

Walk from Nagaoji Temple to Okuboji Temple

This morning, we will venture out for our final walk on our route from Temple 87 Nagao-ji, also known as Long Slope Temple, to Temple 88 Okubo-ji, also known as the Great Hollow Temple – Completion of the Vow. It is said that a wish here will be fulfilled, so go ahead and give it a try! The temple is located on a hidden mountain summit, making for miraculous views. The walk will take us through lovely rural scenery right before we descend towards Nyotai-san Mountain to Okubo-ji. Share a sense of achievement together after completing our walk at Temple 88, the last temple on the route. Afterwards, we will travel by private vehicle back to our ryokan for another rejuvenating soak in the onsen spa along with delectable kaiseki meal to celebrate our final evening together.

Walking distance: 12.3 km / 7.6 miles
Elevation gain: 774 m / 2539 feet ascent; 410 m / 1345 feet decent
Time required: 4.5 hours

Breakfast / Dinner

Kotohira Onsen Kotosankaku or similar class (Onsen Ryokan)

Day 13

Tour ends

After breakfast, our tour is officially over. Your guide will be available to offer assistance and advice for traveling to the airport if you are returning home, or if you will be further exploring Japan.

Breakfast