Mixed town roads (paved) and forest trails (unpaved) – a sometimes strenuous walk, with days of up to 8 hours of hiking
Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage self-guided 5 days
(subject to change until the booking has been finalized)
Day 1 – Tokushima (Temples 1 to 3)
Start from Kyoto or Osaka and travel by long-distance bus to Tokushima Prefecture. Begin your pilgrimage with a gentle introduction to the walks on Shikoku through quiet neighbourhoods of Tokushima. Visit three of the most eye-catching temples on whole trail – Temple 1 Ryozen-ji, Temple 2 Gokuraku-ji and Temple 3 Konsen-ji. Spend your first night as all pilgrims should – with a stay in a Shukubo Temple Lodging. There is also the option of staying at a city-centre Ryokan for this first night.
Walking distance: 5.8km / 3.6 miles
Elevation gain: Negligible ascent and descent
Time required: About 2 hours
An optional additional walk along paved roads to Temple 7 Juraku-ji can extend the day by 3km / 1.9 miles and around 45 minutes.
Accommodation: Shukubo (Pilgrims Lodging) or Ryokan (Travellers Inn)
Day 2 – Tokushima (Temples 11 to 12)
Travel south from your Shukubo pilgrims lodging by pre-booked and pre-paid taxi to Temple 11 Fujii-dera, located at the bottom of a fascinating hillside temple complex. From Fujii-dera undertake a challenging hike to Temple 12 Shosan-ji. The full walk is one of the longest and most strenuous on the tour, but very rewarding with beautiful scenery. Walk onwards to Yorii and board a bus to the small Onsen village of Kamiyama and your inn for the evening.
Walking distance: 19.2km / 11.9 miles
Elevation gain: 1,330m / 4,365 feet of ascent and 1,210m / 3,970 feet of descent
Time required: About 7-8 hours
You can reduce the walk to 5-6 hours (14.1km / 8.8 miles) and avoid the first half of the strenuous ascent up Mt. Shosan-ji. Simply pay locally to extend the taxi ride on the day – no need to decide in advance.
Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Travellers Inn) or Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Tokushima (Temples 20 to 21)
Travel by pre-paid taxi to one of the most beautiful and varied hikes on the entire 88 Pilgrimage route. From Temple 20 Kakurin-ji the trail descends to the hamlet of Anan, crosses the Nakagawa River and climbs again to Temple 21 Tairyu-ji. End the day with a cable car ride with wonderful views over a cedar forest and the small town below. Travel by bus to your accommodation for the evening.
Walking distance: 8.2km / 5.1 miles
Elevation gain: 460m / 1,510 feet ascent and 470m / 1,540 feet descent
Time required: About 3-4 hours
The walk can be extended to about 5 hours for clients staying in Tokushima city – please enquire if you would like to undertake this longer option.
Day 4 – Kagawa (Temples 82 to 80)
Leaving Tokushima, travel by bus and a pre-paid taxi to a rewarding hike in northern Kagawa Prefecture. Walk through lovely scenery and visit a fine collection of temples – Temple 82 Negoro-ji, Temple 81 Shiromine-ji and finally Temple 80 Kokubun-ji. Travel onwards by train for an overnight stay in the old hot-spring town of Kotohira Spa.
Walking distance: 13.5km / 8.4 miles
Elevation gain: 335m / 1,100 feet ascent and 655m / 2,150 feet descent
Time required: About 5 hours
The walk can be shortened by 1.5 hours (5.4km / 3.4 miles) by omitting the round-trip section to Temple 81 Shiromine-ji.
Accommodation: Ryokan (Travellers Inn)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – Tour ends
After breakfast, spend some time exploring Kotohira Spa. Board a train after lunch for the return journey to Osaka or Kyoto, arriving late afternoon.