Spiritual Shikoku Island

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Spiritual Shikoku Island, Kochi Prefecture 

13 Days/12 Nights

Take a journey with us through the sacred land of Shikoku’s Kochi Prefecture. 

Shikoku is known as “Spiritual Island” because of a famous Buddhist pilgrimage called “Ohenro-san”. 

There are 88 pilgrimage temples across the island—not to mention numerous sacred sites where Kukai (a monk also known as Kobo Daishi who founded Koyasan and the Shingon sect of Buddhism) is believed to have visited during the 9th century.

There are 4 prefectures across the island of Shikoku, but Kochi Prefecture is where we host our spiritual journey. 

Kochi consists of the southwestern part of the island facing the Pacific Ocean. Most of the province is mountainous; in areas such as Kochi City and Nakamura City is a lovely coastal plain. Kochi alone is home to a full sixteen of the 88 temples, making for a convenient Ohenro-san pilgrimage.

People from Kochi say there is nothing to do in Kochi. I have to say that it is not true. Kochi’s rich natural bounty—its sea, rivers, mountains, and forests—is waiting to be explored. Kochi is indisputably a natural sightseeing mecca!

The most famous person hailing from Kochi is Sakamoto Ryoma (1836-1867). Ryoma was a samurai, statesman, and businessperson who helped modernize Japan during the tail end of Edo period (1603-1868). Ryoma is a much admired historical figure in Japan. He stands proudly, in edifice, at the square in front of JR Kochi Station.

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Day 1 Central Region: Kochi City

Welcome to Kochi Prefecture!

You will be met by your private tour guide at Kochi Ryoma Airport, escorted to your awaiting private car, and transferred to a luxurious hotel or ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in the city of Kochi. 

Upon arriving, you’ll notice many trams running up and down the town’s streets. Why not take a trip by tram to explore some of the city’s sightseeing spots?

You can then take an evening stroll to Hirome Ichiba Market, where locals shop alongside tourists from prefectures near and far. The festivities last from morning to late evening.

How have we gotten this far without talking about food? You absolutely must give “katsuo tataki” a try. This famous local cuisine is prepared by briefly searing bonito fish filet before seasoning and dressing it with thinly sliced green onion or myoga (Japanese ginger). There are more delicious local foods where that came from!

*Tour can start in Tokyo or Kyoto or any other Japan destination.

*This tour offers a special opportunity to do a farm stay! It’s an especially popular destination for kids! Contact us for more details. 

Suggested lodging: Sansuien

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Kochi City
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Hirome-Ichiba Market

Day 2: Kochi City

On your second day in Kochi Prefecture, you will explore the capital city of Kochi!

Your tour escort will meet you at your hotel. Together you’ll explore Kochi by private car, including Kochi Castle, Makino Botanical Garden, Chikurin-ji Temple on Mt Godai, and Katsurahama Beach.

Then, visit Tosa Tataki Dojo where you can experience searing your own Katsuo-no-tataki! Watch as the straw-fed flames sear and smoke the delicious fish.

Ohenro-san pilgrimage experience

We will explore two of the 88 Ohenro-san pilgrimage temples:

Zenraku-ji Temple (No. 30)
Chikurin-ji Temple (No. 31)

Procedure of worship

 

  1. Bow at the main gate
  2. Rinse hands and mouth
  3. Ring the bell
  4. Place a charm in the main hall
  5. Light a candle and/or incense stick, and make a money offering
  6. Join our hands and chant sutras
  7. Pay to get a red seal in sutra book
  8. Bow once more at the gate before leaving
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Kochi Castle
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Chikurin-ji Temple

Day 3: Cape Muroto in Eastern Region

Today, you’ll tour the Eastern Region of Kochi!

After meeting your Tour Escort and private vehicle at your hotel, you will head to Cape Muroto in Eastern Kochi.

You can experience many outdoor activities here, including Sea Kayak!

If you are interested famous Japanese animations, you must visit the Ampanman Museum, which is based around one of the most popular anime ever!

Ohenro-san pilgrim experience:

Hotsumisaki-ji Temple (No. 24)
Shinsho-ji Temple (No. 25)
Kongocho-ji Temple (No. 26)

You will stay overnight in Muroto.

Our suggested hotel: Hoshino Resort in Cape Muroto

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Cape Muroto
Cape Muroto

Day 4: Eastern Region

Today you will visit Dolphin Center to meet the Dolphin Trainers and swim with Dolphins! You’ll also meet Marine Turtles in Ohama Coast in Muroto.

After further exploring the Eastern Region, you’ll head to the Farm House in Ino-cho Village in the North Central Region and stay at a traditional farm house.

Ohenro-san pilgrim experience:

Konomine-ji Temple (No. 27)
Dainichi-ji Temple (No. 28)
Kokubun-ji Temple (No. 29)

The Kochi coast

Day 5: Traditional Farm Stays in Rural Japan

It’s your second day in Ino-cho, located in North Central Kochi.

Ino-cho is a natural paradise, a palace of nature studded with nature parks and waterfalls. Some 90% of its area is wooded, with many villages clinging to steep slopes.

But there’s nothing imposing about the people, as Kochi people are known for their friendliness! They are very approachable and easy to make friends with. Your tour guide will facilitate, helping you to discover just how great the people here are.

The Greatest Experiences in Ino-cho:

In Spring (April – June) experience Sumiyaki (Charcoal Making), Soba-uchi (Soba noodle Making), Katsuo-no-tataki, Taue (Rice Planting), and Fishing

In Summer (July – September) experience Inekari (Rice Harvest), Hotaru gari (Catching Fireflies), Kawa asobi (Enjoy a river), Yasaishukaku (Harvest the vegetables), Swimming pools, and Konchusaishu (Insect collecting)

In Autumn (October – December) experience Yama aruki (Tramping), Shiitakekari (Collecting Shiitake Mushrooms), Inekari (Rice harvest), Mochitsuki (Rice cake making)

In Winter (January – March) experience Yasai shukaku (Harvest the vegetables), Yuki Asobi (Play in the snow), Mochitsuki (Rice cake making)

All year round (January – December) experience
Yasaizukuri (Growing Vegetables), Tsukemonotukuri (Making Japanese pickles), Shizen ochatumi (Wild Tea Picking), Hoshigakitukuri (Making Dried Japanese Date Plum)

Please tell us what activities you would like to try!

Ohenro-san pilgrim experience:

Kiyotaki-ji Temple (No. 35)
Shoryu-ji Temple (No. 36)

Ino-cho
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Japanese sweets
Ino-cho road

Day 6: "Japan’s last pristine river", The Shimanto River

After Ino-cho, you will head for Shimanto River with your Guide.

The 196-kilometer Shimanto River is said to be the last clear stream of Japan and it is also the longest in Shikoku Island. The entirety of the region where it flows is designated as an important cultural scenery of the country.

People have resided by this river for a long time, running their everyday lives always beside it in pace with the pastoral time of the nature.
Shimanto Time passes by softly and gently, just as it is does over the surface of its fresh waters.

Experience Japan in the traditional Yakatabune (pleasure boat) as you slowly drift through the river. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and Shimanto’s Chinkabashi (flood bridge) while eating Shimanto’s best bento lunch box.

You’ll stay three nights at Hotel or Ryokan in Shimanto.

Our suggested lodging: Hotel Seira Shimanto, Shimanto Iyashi no Sato

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Shimanto River
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Shimanto River

Day 7: Shimanto River Sports

Today you’ll enjoy outdoor sports on Shimanto River! Try your hand at kayaking, touring by canoe, paddling a Canadian canoe, rafting, bicycle riding, and even tree climbing.

On the gentler path, there is also many a nice forest walk to be had, along with other great activities! Your tour guide will be by your side, assisting you as needed.

Shimanto River canoeing

Day 8: Shimanto Area

Today you will be met a Local Guide and visit Little Kyoto in Tosa.

The townscape was modeled on Kyoto, spread out in a grid-like manner, and also given famous street names such as Gion, Kyomachi, Kamogawa, and Higashiyama—all famous places from the real Kyoto. It was therefore just a short matter of time before this area came to be called the “Little Kyoto of Tosa.”

You’ll enjoy a relaxing walk through the streets and visit the many historical sites as you trace back the times and relive history.

Ohenro-san pilgrim experience:

Iwamoto-ji Temple (No. 37)

Little Kyoto

Day 9: Cape Ashizuri, Southernmost Tip of Shikoku Island

Today you head for Cape Ashizuri

A two kilometer walking path follows the coastline and around a lighthouse, with the Ashizuri Observatory and the Tengu-Nose Observatory also along the way. These vantage points offer a view of not only the lighthouse and the Pacific Ocean, but also of the arc of the distant horizon. Such wide open spaces!

You’ll also witness the power and beauty of the Japan Jetstream’s waters as they make their closest approach to land, crashing onto the rocks below.

Nearby is the Hakusan Do-mon, a 16-meter-high, 17-meter-wide rock arch. The pounding waves of the Pacific have carved out a donut hole, thus forming this gorgeous natural landscape. Embarking on a sunset cruise is a perfect end to this day.

You’ll stay at Nest West Garden Tosa, Irino Beach.

Ohenro-san pilgrim experience:

Kongofuku-ji Temple (No. 38)

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Kochi coast
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Cape Ashizuri

Day 10: Okino-shima Island

Explore Okino-shima Island, Uguru-shima Island, and Hime-jima Island by chartered boat.

You can enjoy a multitude of marine sports here, including diving, snorkeling, fishing, and more. 

The water’s clarity truly is a sight to behold, enabling you to have up-close encounters with coral, various tropical fish, and large-sized migratory fish. All levels of from beginner to veteran can enjoy this aquatic wonderland.

After Okino-shima Island, you’ll stay at a hotel in front of the Irino Beach.

Ohenro-san pilgrim experience:

Enko-ji Temple (No. 39)

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Kochi seaside

Day 11: Kamikoya in Yusuhara-cho, a village in the Northwest Region

This morning, you’ll head to a solitary house in the midst of mountains in Yusuhara Village. You will stay overnight at Kamikoya Guest House and experience life in the mountains.

Kamikoya is a small family-run Guest House, located in the mountains of Yusuharacho in South Western Kochi. Mr. Rogier Uitenboogaart is the owner of Kamikoya who came from Netherlands in 1980. He makes handmade Japanese paper (Tosa Washi)—you can experience how to make Tosa Washi, too!

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Tosa Washi

Day 12: Yusuhara-cho

Spend all morning at Kamikoya in Yusuhara-cho before going back to Kochi City in the afternoon.

The town of Yusuhara-cho is called a town above the clouds. The tiers of the terraced rice field in this town are very spread apart and you can enjoy the imposing view of such a tall structure. This magnificent structure was created by the pioneers who carried stones from the river far below and piled them up the mountain one by one.

Yusuhara-cho is also famous for the architectural structures of the internationally well-known architect Kuma Kengo. He designed Yusuhara Town Hall. The square shaped town hall with its wooden constructions impresses viewers the environmental friendliness of Yusuhara.

You will stay in Kochi City tonight and experience traditional regional cuisine “Sawachi-Ryori” for dinner.

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Yasauhara-cho

Day 13: Departure

Meet your Travel Escort and leave Kochi Airport for Osaka or Tokyo International Airport, or to your next destination.

Ohenro-san pilgrim experience:

Tanema-ji Temple (No. 34)
Sekkei-ji Temple (No. 33)
Zenjibu-ji Temple (No. 32)

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A temple in Kochi

Travel With Kids

We offer exciting tours that can be enjoyed along with your children.

We can also arrange for child care, as well as a doctor or nurse should the unfortunate need arise.

Our Pricing

The total tour cost will be based on the hotel rooms you have selected, and include transfers, a private vehicle with driver, an English-speaking private tour escort, specialized field guides, travel insurance, activities and entrance fees, and breakfast at the hotel. (Room prices at ryokans typically include breakfast and dinner in the room, or in some cases in the hotel’s dining room.) 

Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. 

Some personal expenses, including lunches, dinners, alcoholic beverages, and spa treatments will need to be directly paid at the time of consumption. 

Prices may vary depending on the season and chosen level of accommodation.

The approximate price of this tour: JPY 1,700,000 (USD 15,630) and up for two people.

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If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us at +81-80-3310-3620 or send a message to contact@luxury-travel-japan.com.

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