4-Day Self-drive Ohenro, and Shikoku Highlights Tour

The best of Shikoku's Ohenro pilgrimage as well as the Iya Valley, the Shimanto River region, and Matsuyama - all in just 4 wonderful days

4 days
Kochi

Highlights

  • Some of the best temples on the Ohenro, in just 4 days
  • All Top 5 Shikoku destinations: Iya Valley, Kochi Castle, Shimanto River, and Matsuyama
  • Self-drive for flexibility and scenic spot access

Description

The oldest pilgrimage trail in Japan is the 88-temple Ohenro trail which circumnavigates the island of Shikoku. The challenge though is that the Ohenro is about 1,200km long and takes up to 3 months to complete! This highlights tour gives you some of the best temples, and other tourist attractions that Shikoku island has to offer - in just 4 days - and with the convenience of a car. 

 

Details

This 4-day package tour brings you the highlights of Japan's oldest pilgrimage trail.

Package type:  Luxury Accommodation(High-end transport) 
                              Economy Accommodation(Standard transport)

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Takamatsu Airport, Kagawa, to Awa Valley region, Tokushima
Arrive at Takamatsu airport, pick up a rental car, then travel to the Awa region (Tokushima) via the Kagawa/Tokushima coastline, visiting Temples No. 88 and No. 1 along the way. 
Lunch can be a bento beside the beach at Oda, on the Sanuki Peninsula, perhaps coupled with some wine (but not for the driver, Japan is a zero-tolerance drink-driving country), picked up from the Sanuki Winery. Got kids? How about a whirlpool boat tour at Naruto further down the coast or the Dolphin Center at Sanuki? The two temples for today are Temple Number 01, Ryozenji Temple, and Temple Number 88, the last on the pilgrimage, Okuboji Temple. Your final destination is the Iya Valley.
Places to Visit: Sanuki Winery, Oda Beach, Japan Dolphin Center, Shirotori Zoo, Naruto Cruise, Otsuka Museum of Art, Temple 01 Ryozenji, Temple 88 Okuboji
Lunch: Bento at Oda Beach or cafe along the way
Dinner: at the Hotel


Day 2: Iya Valley, Tokushima to Shimanto River, Kochi 
Today we break from the Ohenro, to explore previously inaccessible mountains and ancient farm houses, a castle, and the majestic Shimanto River. We drive through some of Shikoku's mist-shrouded mountain villages, where the doomed Taira clan are said to have hidden after their defeat in the Genpei wars of 1180-1185. Feeling adventurous? Try some of the narrow roads carved into the mountainsides along the Yoshino river and prepare for some breathtaking views. Heading further south, you descend into the lush countryside of Kochi, and on down to the hilltop temple Number 31, Chikurinji Temple. From here you get a panoramic view of Kochi city and harbor, and your next destination, which is the well-preserved castle of Kochi. Next, moving further west, stop at the Kure Taisho Town Market for a late lunch, then push on to the very Instagrammable temple Number 37, Iwamotoji Temple. Your final destination is the Shimanto River, the longest naturally flowing river left in Japan.  
Places to Visit: Iya Valley, Otoyo Valley, Chikurinji Temple, Kochi Castle, Kure fish market, Iwamotoji Temple, Shimanto River
Lunch: Bento at Oda Beach or cafe along the way
Dinner: at the Hotel


Day 3: Shimanto River, Kochi to Matsuyama, Ehime
 
Try to get up a bit earlier than usual, so that you can enjoy the morning awakening on the Shimanto River. If you are in the mood, ask the hotel staff about renting kayaks and scooting along the crystal waters of this usually calm and quiet waterway. Before mid-morning you'll want to be well on your way towards the Ozu area of Ehime, and particularly the town of Uchiko. Here, you must make time to see the Garyu home, with its classic 19th century Japanese lines, and the Uchiko Yokaichi Old Town with equally ancient houses and streets. After a quick lunch you will head into the Ehime hinterland, to Temple 45, Iwayaji Temple. This temple is notable for being carved into a mountainside. You will arrive in Matsuyama early evening.
Places to Visit: Garyu, Uchiko Yokaichi Old Town, Kamihaga Residence, Iwayaji Temple, Matsuyama Dogo Onsen
Lunch: Bento at Oda Beach or cafe along the way
Dinner: at the Hotel


Day 4:
Matsuyama then Departure
Matsuyama all day, with a flight out in the afternoon or evening.
Although the main attraction of Shikoku is in its forests and beaches, one city stands out as a tourist destination of its own, and that is Matsuyama, thanks mostly because of its well-preserved castle and the historic Dogo onsen. We recommend that you walk the route suggested, or try the trams from Dogo Onsen station down to the Okaido stop, which is very close to the ropeway entrance and the various shopping streets in the area. The Okaido Shopping arcade features stores that locals use in their daily lives, so the prices are reasonable and local textiles and crafts make ideal gifts for folks back home. Towards the west of Okaido is the Ehime Museum of Art, which features an excellent selection of western impressionist paintings, including Cezanne and Monet. But the high note of today's tour will be the Matsuyama castle, riding the ropeway up and strolling down. The castle is famous for its commanding views of the city, as well as being one of the 12 best-preserved fortresses in the country. Lastly and if you have time, be sure to pay a visit to the last temple on your itinerary, Temple Number 51, Ishiteji Temple.
Places to Visit: Dogo Onsen Honkan, Dogo Onsen Station, The Museum of Art, Ehime, Okaido Shopping Arcade, Matsuyama Castle, Matsuyama Ropeway shopping street, Temple No. 51 Ishiteji Temple
Breakfast: at the departing hotel
Lunch: Bento or roadside cafe

Departure Day. You have 3 options:
 1) To return your car at Matsuyama in the afternoon, then take a limousine bus to Matsuyama Airport. These leave every 20 minutes or so from Dogo Onsen Main Building (but more frequently from JR Matsuyama station).
 2) To return your car at Matsuyama Airport, a 20-30 minute drive.
 3) To drive across Shikoku on the expressway (tolls apply) and leave your car at the Takamatsu Airport. This takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on traffic. This road does get congested at times, so leave plenty of time before your scheduled departure.

Important information

Included in price

  • Route details (maps)
  • Rental Vehicle booking
  • Hotel bookings
  • Bookings for attractions needing reservations (with some exceptions on holidays - but we will inform you of this)
  • Breakfasts and dinners when indicated
  • Chat and voice support in English

Not included

  • Tolls, gas, parking for vehicle
  • Insurance for vehicle (this is an extra fee paid to the rental partner)
  • Admission to attractions that have gate/entry fees
  • Child seat, freezer box, similar accessories
  • WiFi router, unless requested
  • Guide or other person in attendance
  • Equipment for any activities you may plan to do (unless booked separately with us)

Important information

  • Hotels may vary depending on booking date and custom requests
  •  Meals are generally provided by hotels - be sure to let us know if you have special diet preferences
  • You will need a working cell phone for navigation. If you need a WiFi Router, we high-performance, reasonably priced units in stock.
  •  Some parts of the route may be modified for mid-winter, unless you wish to have snow tires fitted (additional fee)
  • Vehicle Return Fee applies if you leave the car in Matsuyama versus returning it to Takamatsu.

 This route may be reversed upon request.

Know before you book

  • Cancellation:
    2 days prior to the day of your trip – 40 %
    1 day prior – 50 %, On the day – 100 %
    No-show – 100 %

What you need to bring

  • Working cell phone (usable in Japan) or apply for our WiFi router rental
  • Battery extender/charger
  • Any pre-purchase passes and other information
  • Sunglasses, water bottles, and other accessories

Meeting point

Takamatsu Airport

View Directions

Organised by Japan Travel KK

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