Private Luxury Tour of Shikoku’s Art, Culture and Nature 4 Nights
A mixture of culture, religion, people and food, Shikoku has more to offer than anywhere else in Japan. While onShikoku you will get up close and personal with history, become a chef for a day, tread ancient pilgrimage trails, and even dance with the locals. What more could you want? Come and explore this beautiful island filled with the unexpected.
Day 01: Takamatsu – Yashima – Noguchi Museum – Yashima – Takamatsu
Your tour starts at Takamatsu. Upon arrival, you will be picked up by a local representatives at Takamatsu Station by private car and continue to Ritsurin Garden to explore one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens.
Continue your trip with a visit to Mount Yashima to walk the land where a famous 12th century battle occurred and take in the sweeping scenery of the Seto Inland Sea. Yashima Temple is one of the popular temples to visit and the sunset views from Yashima are a wonderful experience.
Continue your visit to Shikoku-Mura where houses and structures as old as 200 years old are on display.
The Isamu Noguchi Museum contains more than 150 sculptures made by the famous architect Isamu Noguchi with some of them still unfinished.
Finally, drive back to Takamatsu and freely experience downtown Takamatsu.
Overnight in Takamatsu
Day 02: Takamatsu – Naruto – Otsuka Art Museum – Awa Dance Hall – Hiwasa
Take a private car in the morning and transfer to Naruto to enjoy one of world’s famous whirlpools by cruising right up to them. Formed from the meeting between the Pacific and the Seto Inland Sea, some can reach a size of 30 meters in diameter.
Otsuka Museum is one of largest exhibition halls in all of Japan with more than 1000 ceramic replicas of famous masterpieces on display.
Your trip to the Awa-Odori Hall offers a chance to observe locals performing the traditional Awa Dance. The original Awa Dance Festival is held in August with hundreds of dancers and thousands of people watching every year in Tokushima.
After the festivities, drive to Hiwasa, a peaceful seaside town in Tokushima with beautiful old houses and temples.
Overnight in Hiwasa
Day 03: Hiwasa – Indigo Dying Experience – Muroto Cape & Hotsumisakiji Temple (Short Hiking) – Kochi
Start your day by visiting Yakuoji Temple, 23rd of the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage temples in Hiwasa. The temples Otokozaka (42 stairs) and Onnazaka (33 stairs) are said to get you rid of bad luck while a tunnel below Yakuoji Temple is said to bring happiness and prosperity.
After this, continue with a traditional indigo dying experience at a local indigo dying shop and make your very own unique souvenir.
Muroto Cape is one of the many places Kukai, a much beloved monk from Japanese history, trained in his youth. The scenery and sweeping view from Muroto Cape are incomparable with Hotsumisakiji Temple, 24th of the Shikoku’s 88 Pilgrimage temples offers a view from the top of the cape. A short hike through a small forest to the temple is recommended.
Continue your drive to Kochi City, where after checking in the hotel, we will take you to Hirome Market a 300 year old market with open food court to have dinner. Here the seating is open so you may end up making a new friend over dinner!
Overnight in Kochi
Day 04: Kochi – Kōchi Castle – Chikurinji Temple – Iya Valley
Start your day with a visit to one of Japan’s few original castles, Kochi Castle. By visiting the towering Kochi Castle, you will learn more about how the early rulers protected themselves from their enemies. Once you climb up, there are beautiful views of Kochi city from the castle tower.
Chikurinji Temple is one of the more popular temples along the pilgrimage circuit Shikoku’s having old gardens and even a collection of rare Buddhist statues preserved through history. Interested participants can also walk from the base of Goshiki-Dai to experience how pilgrims reached this temple in the past.
After Chikurinji Temple, enjoy a 2-hour drive through the rolling hills to reach the mountains of the beautiful Iya Valley.
Overnight in Iya Valley
Day 05: Iya Valley – Kotohira – Takamatsu – Trip ends
Start the morning by appreciating the beautiful view of Iya Valley right from your hotel. Depending upon where you stay, you can experience an optional village walk in the morning.
Transfer to Iya’s Vine Bridge to see an ancient bridge made in late 12th century with a small waterfall nearby. Here, you will see how the Taira Clan who were defeated in the Genpei-War reached Iya Valley and how they spent time here.
Continue with a house-boat experience at Oboke Gorge where you can admire the natural beauty of this area as you float along with the stunning clear blue water.
After, continue your drive to Kotohira, where you can stop for lunch. After lunch, walk around old streets of Kotohira visiting charming shops hidden along the street as you absorb the local culture. You will be able to see some local breweries, udon noodle houses, and many small temples tucked along the streets.
You trip ends after arriving to Takamatsu where you can transfer to Okayama to take the Bullet Train to Osaka or Tokyo or simply take a bus to your next adventure.
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