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(3nts) - Koya San (2nts) - Tokushima (1nt) - Shishikui (1nt) - Muroto Cape -
(2nts) - Uwajima (1nt) - Matsuyama - Dogo Onsen
(1nt) - Kotohira (2nts) - Iyadani Valley
- Ritsurin Garden - Osaka (1nt)
start dates: 9th May 2015
* Sunday Market
Shikoku, smallest of Japan's four main
islands, has throughout history maintained its isolation
well. Even today, with the construction of bridges that
connect it to the rest of Japan, so few travellers make it
this far that it remains one of the last essentially
undiscovered places in Asia. Those who do make the effort to
leave the bustle of Japan's city life behind soon find themselves rewarded by an
island of immense natural beauty, steeped everywhere in
colourful legend and history. Not least, deep in the centre
of the island are the stunning valleys of Iyadani, the "Tibet
of Japan", to where, 800 years ago, the remnants of the
Heike clan fled after their defeat at the hands of the Genji.
Everywhere are ancient broad-leaved forests, idyllic hot
springs (including, at Dogo, the country's oldest spa resort
dating from the 8th century) and timeless rustic hamlets all
framed by some
of the finest coastal scenery in all Japan.
For the Japanese, Shikoku is perhaps most famous for its
pilgrimage tour of the 88 Sacred Temples and it is the dearly
held ambition of almost all to
complete a circuit of the island at some point in their
lives, following in the footsteps of the country's greatest
saint, the revered Kobo Daishi. It is from this pilgrimage that The Oriental Caravan has taken
inspiration and direction for its latest exclusive
offering and, in keeping with pilgrim tradition, we intend to complete the
circuit of the island, albeit by train and bus, in a
clockwise manner. This pioneering journey will reward participants
with a rare glimpse into the last vestiges of a mysterious, rural Japan
where the pace of life slows to the rhythm of the seasons,
and where natural and spiritual treasures unfold at every
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|Day 1 - Kyoto
|Day 2 - Kyoto
of Kyoto (Hotel)
|Day 3 - Kyoto
||Free day. (Hotel)
|Day 4 - Mount Koya
10th Century Byodo In Temple in Uji to the ‘Mount Athos of Japan’, Mount
|Day 5 - Mount Koya
||Full day to explore Mount Koya including
|Day 6 - Tokushima
||By train and ferry to Tokushima. Visit
Ryozen-ji Temple, first on the 88 Temple circuit. (Hotel)
|Day 7 - Shishikui
||Pass through fishing villages, including
Hiwasa, on the coastal line to Shishikui. Opportunities for swimming.
(Beachfront Spa Hotel)
|Day 8 - Kochi*
||By coach to Kochi via Cape Muroto.
Afternoon free in Kochi.
|Day 9 - Kochi
||Visit Kochi's Sunday market.
Kochi Castle and botanical gardens. Possible afternoon scenic train ride through Iyadani
|Day 10 - Uwajima
||Continue to Uwajima. Visit Taga Jinja Fertility shrine (and museum!).
Explore Uwajima and its surroundings.
|Day 11 - Dogo Onsen
||Continue to Matsuyama and Dogo Onsen spa resort.
Visit Ishite-ji Temple. (Ryokan)
|Day 12 - Kotohira
||By train to Kotohira. Visit Kompira-san
|Day 13 - Kotohira
||Daytrip to explore the Iyadani valleys
with their amazing vine bridges.
|Day 14 - Osaka
||By train, via Ritsurin Garden, to Osaka,
for a farewell Saturday night in one of Asia's liveliest cities. (Hotel)
23rd May 2015
We stay in a variety of styles of
accommodation, both western and Japanese. In
Dogo Onsen we stay at the elegant, modern
Funaya ryokan, an exclusive
establishment of some
history, and once favoured by author Soseki
Natsume. On Koya San we stay in comfortable
temple shukubo accommodation,
sleeping on tatami mats and enjoying
excellent shojin ryori vegetarian
meals. In Kyoto we stay at The Oriental
Caravan's longstanding base, the New Miyako
Hotel. In Kotohira we stay in a traditional, family run ryokan. Elsewhere
we stay in comfortable hotels, some of them
in the Japanese style. The tour is sold on a
twin share basis. A single supplement is available at a cost
Meals are included in the
price except in Kyoto, Tokushima, Kochi and
where you should allow around £15-25 a day. Where we eat at our lodgings, for
example on Mount Koya and at Dogo Onsen,
meals are expected to be of an excellent
As always the tour leader will be on hand to suggest
restaurants and, where necessary, assist
with ordering meals.
|Mode of travel
full use of Japan’s highly efficient rail system using both both
'bullet' and local trains. In Shikoku the trains are often small and local
but travel through some stunningly
picturesque scenery. We also make occasional
use of taxis and buses and travel by ferry
between Wakayama and Tokushima. Some of the
sightseeing is done on foot.
The tour is escorted throughout by an
experienced Japanese-speaking leader from the UK
accompanied by local guides where applicable.
6 - Maximum 12
information on insurance and flights please contact The Oriental Caravan.