Journey to Shikoku, the fourth largest island in Japan and home to the 88 Temple Pilgrimage Trail. This incredibly deep spiritual route has inspired pilgrims for centuries, with very little being known about its origin, the trail also has a mysterious connection with Kobo Daishi, founder of Shingon Buddhism. Even today, it is not a rare sight to see pilgrims around the island wearing their distinctive attire and white cloaks. The full pilgrimage route encompasses more than a thousand kilom... View More
Journey to Shikoku, the fourth largest island in Japan
and home to the 88 Temple Pilgrimage Trail. This
incredibly deep spiritual route has inspired pilgrims for
centuries, with very little being known about its origin,
the trail also has a mysterious connection with Kobo
Daishi, founder of Shingon Buddhism. Even today, it is
not a rare sight to see pilgrims around the island
wearing their distinctive attire and white cloaks. The
full pilgrimage route encompasses more than a
thousand kilometers around Shikoku and connects 88
Buddhist temples. Pilgrims traditionally would trek the
pilgrimage trail on foot over several weeks going from
temple to temple. During spring, the weather is
comfortable, allowing guests to easily hike the trails.
Join All Japan Tours as we take you through Shikoku,
exploring the stunning trails and ancient temples.
For this tour, we have selected the absolute best walking trails that pass through charming landscapes and explore the historic route. We will visit all four of Shikoku’s prefectures – Tokushima in the east, Kagawa in the north, Ehime in the west, and Kochi in the south. Each prefecture has its own special character, food, and scenery that we will be able to enjoy. In addition to exploring the pilgrimage trail, our journey will also take us to the isolated Iya Valley located deep in the heart of Shikoku. Our pilgrimage journey begins with a stay on Wakayama’s ‘Mount Koya’, the hilltop temple complex on Honshu established by Kobo Daishi, as well as an important location for enthusiasts of the pilgrimage route. With public transport being rather limited in the rural areas of Shikoku, we will travel primarily by private vehicle. However, we will still be able to enjoy traveling from temple to temple through countryside and forest along the ancient route. Our accommodations throughout the route will be traditional country inns while we enjoy the regional cuisine prepared from local ingredients from the wondrous island. We will also be able to rejuvenate and soak in natural hot springs, as well as enjoy the superb hospitality, known as ‘omotenashi’ in Japanese, of our lovely hosts.
For those looking to explore Japan's ancient culture, history, and religion while exploring the countryside, this tour is a wonderful choice. During spring, you may have the chance to see different flowers, such as cherry blossoms, along the scenic route. You will explore hidden gems and enjoy the stunning scenery as you hike the trails on the 88 Temple Pilgrimage Route, as many pilgrims have done in the past and still do today.
Note: this is an intense rated hiking trip with some steady steep ascents and hikes over 4 hours.
Activity Level: Intense
Our Intense tours generally have dedicated days of trail walking, with some days of over four hours and with some ascent and/or descent.
Who is an Intense tour designed for?
- We recommend our Intense tours for anyone who does regular walking or hiking, and is comfortable walking a full day with some climbing and descending.
- If you do not exercise regularly, please practice walking for three to four hours, about three to six months prior to the tour in order to get the most out of your trip.