Shikoku

  • Temple - © Nils Wetterlind
  • © Nils Wetterlind
  • Kongoubuji - © Nils Wetterlind
  • Okunin Temple - © Nils Wetterlind
  • Grave Markers - © Nils Wetterlind
  • Shukubo Ohenro-san - © Nils Wetterlind
  • Cleansing stone - © Nils Wetterlind
  • Temple bell - © Nils Wetterlind
  • Temple - © Nils Wetterlind
  • Temples in valley - © Nils Wetterlind
  • Shikoku iya rope bridge - © walk japan media
  • Shikoku Valley - © walk japan media

Key information: Shikoku

  • Most of this quiet backwater, the smallest of Japan's major islands, is mountainous, with fine walking to be had throughout.
  • Shikoku is home of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, a 1,150km+ trail linking 88 temples which is arguably Japan's most famous pilgrimage route.
  • There are other fine walks too.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating89
  • Beauty30
  • Natural interest14
  • Human interest17
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating89
  • Note: Neg: likely bad weather

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Your choice - up to 1,150km!
  • Maximum Altitude: 1,982m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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Shikoku iya rope bridge - © walk japan media

WALK SUMMARY

Most of this quiet backwater, the smallest of Japan's major islands, is mountainous, with fine walking to be had throughout. It is home of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, a 1,150km+ trail linking 88 temples which is arguably Japan's most famous pilgrimage route and what brings most people here (see more below).

Great walks include:

Ishizuchi-san: this rough, wildly weathered mountain is the highest in western Japan, at 1,982m. Long a focus of Shugendo mountain ascetics, it became an important Buddhist site.

There are at least 3 day-walk approaches. The mountain can also be walked in a particularly fine circuit over two days, which climbs the great peak on day 1, then swings around high ground, still often with huge views, before descending through cedar plantations.

Omogo-kei Gorge:  Fine shorter walks in this famous gorge area, enjoying weird formations, cliffs, waterfalls and lovely forests (said to be especially fine in Autumn)  .

Tsurugi-san: gentle-topped (albeit steep-sided) 1,955m mountain, one of Shikoku's most sacred places and the second-highest mountain in western Japan. It can also be the first day of a superb three-day trek across the Tsurugi-san Quasi-National Park, following ridges and bagging 5 other peaks over 1,600m. Superb views for much of this walk across these wild mountains and their exceptionally deep gorges.

The Shikoku pilgrimage

The Shikoku pilgrimage is arguably Japan's best-known pilgrimage route, and certainly its biggest pilgrimage-challenge: a 1,150km or so, 1,200 year old pilgrimage linking 88 (a lucky number) temples in a sacred circuit in the footsteps of the monk-saint Kukai (or Kobo Daishi) into the heart of Japanese Shingon Buddhism.

The pilgrimage is steeped in tradition and ritual; the tranquility of this picturesque island in no way marred by the steady flow of pilgrim and tourists.You will of course be immured in Japanese culture throughout, staying in ryokans, temple guesthouses and simple family stays, but always eating deliciously.

Many people tackle a few sections of the trail, in one or more days, to suit their time and appetite. It would be mad not to do so if in Shikoku, and many come here just to focus on the pilgrimage.

See our Shikoku Pilgrimage page for more information.

Our friends and partners Walk Japan make a delightful sounding 10 night Shikoku Pilgrimage expedition.

This is one Japan's wettest areas. Come prepared.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

Membership is FREE AND JOINING TAKES 30 SECONDS. To login or sign up click here

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

© Nils Wetterlind

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Shikoku Valley - © walk japan media...
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