Located in the center of the town stands Kochi Castle and its well-preserved keep. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the keep from the entrance by walking up the stone steps. The area in front of the gate is surrounded by moats to allowed those inside the castle to defend by firing arrows from three directions. It is interesting to think about how battles played out. It is only in Kochi Castle that you can capture the gate and keep in a single picture. In the castle you can enjoy beautiful cherry blossom viewing around from the end of March. In Autumn, red-colored leaves make for a wonderful landscape.
|Address or Location||1-2-1 Marunouchi Kochi-city, Kochi|
|Opening Hours||9:00 – 17:00 (Please come before 16:30)|
|Closed||from Dec. 26 to Jan.1|
|Fees||Admission fee: 420 yen|
|URL||http://kochipark.jp/kochijyo/ （Japanese only）|
|Transportation||10-minute ride by bus or 25 minute walk from Kochi station|
Chikurin-ji Temple is the most famous temple in Kochi, modelled after Mt. Wutai in China. The Emperor Shomu bid Gyoki, a Buddhist priest, to set it up in 729. The temple has one of Japan’s three most important Manjusuris, and welcomes many visitors as No.31 of the 88 temples along the SHIKOKU HENRO pilgrimage. Lots of other must-see sights include the sanctuary, a beautiful five-storied pagoda, 17 Buddhist statues recognised as National Important Cultural Properties and the nationally-designated garden of scenic beauty.
|Address or Location||3577, Godaisan, Kochi-city, Kochi|
|URL||http://www.chikurinji.com/ （Japanese only）|
|Transportation||approx. 25-minute drive from Kochi IC 30 minutes by the My-Yu bus from JR Kochi station to Chikurin-ji bus stop|
If the weather is clear, make your way up to the 8th station on Shiroyama, a mountain at a height of 132 meters above sea level, by lift and enjoy walking in the sky and the beautiful landscape! Matsuyama Castle is one of the 12 remaining castles with intact keeps in Japan. The panoramic view of Matsuyama-city from the keep makes you experience the same feeling that a lord would have felt hundreds of years ago. In addition to the impressive keep, there is also a stone wall that exceeds the 14-meter high palace, and with an attractive curve, you will see that it not only served a purpose militarily, but also is a work of art in itself. At the castle, you can try on Japanese armor for free! The experience will make your trip unforgettable. In spring, the cherry blossoms bloom, which creates a beautiful contrast against the castle.
|Address or Location||1 Marunouchi Matsuyama-city, Ehime|
|Opening Hours||9:00 – 17:00 *Open 9:00 – 17:30 in August; 9:00 – 16:30 in December and January (Last admission 30 minutes before closing)|
|Fees||Castle admission fee: 510 yen|
|URL||http://www.matsuyamajo.jp/ （Japanese only）|
Ishite-ji Temple is located not far from Dogo Hot Spring, and the covered road leading to the temple features shops selling Buddhist altar fittings and souvenirs, as well as local specialties (such as oyaki). The temple is visited not only by traveling pilgrims, but also by people who have come to bathe in the hot spring, and sightseeing tourists. The Niomon Gate was built in 1318, and is a designated National Treasure.
|Address or Location||Ishite 2-9-21, Matsuyama City, Ehime|
|Transportation||1. Exit the Matsuyama Expressway at the Matsuyama Interchange, then drive approx. 12km via route 33 and the Matsuyama Tobu Kanjo highway. 2. 25 minutes by Iyotetsu Bus from JR Matsuyama Station. Get off at Ishite-ji-mae.|
Ozu Castle & Cormorant Fishing (Ukai)
Ozu Castle, located by the Hiji River, has long been an icon of Ozu. Reconstructed exactly as it was in the Edo period, the castle preserves the traditional style of Japanese architecture of the four-storied wooden castle tower. Ozu is also known as one of three major cormorant fishing locations in Japan. Its signature is that a pleasure boat and a fishing boat run in parallel, and you will have a rare opportunity to closely look at the cormorant master’s skilful technique, while enjoying the view of illuminated Ozu Castle and on-board meals and drinks.
|Address or Location||Ozu Castle: 903 Ozu, Ozu-city, Ehime Cormorant Fishing: Ozu, Ozu-city, Ehime|
|Phone||Ozu Castle: 0893-24-1146 Cormorant Fishing: 0893-57-6655 (Ozu Tourist Information Centre)|
|Opening Hours||Ozu Castle: 09:00-17:00 (last admission 16:30) Cormorant Fishing: Night-time 18:00-20:30 (every day between June 1 to September 20) Daytime 12:00-13:30 (every Sundays between June 1 to September 20, August 13,14,15)|
|Closed||Open every day during the season|
|Fees||Ozu Castle: Adult 500yen, Child (under 15s) 200yen Combination ticket for Garyu Sanso and Ozu Castle: Adult 800yen, Child (under 15s) 300yen Cormorant Fishing: Night-time: Adult (over 13s) 6,000yen, Child (ages 3-12) 4,500yen Daytime: Adult (over 13s) 4,000yen, Child (ages 3-12) 2,500yen *A short city tour and on-board meal included|
|URL||Ozu Castle http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~ozu_jou/index.html （Japanese only） Cormorant Fishing (Ukai) http://www.kurarinet.jp/ozu-ukai/index.html （Japanese only）|
|Transportation||Ozu Castle: approx. 20-minute walk from JR Iyo-Ozu station, 5-minute walk from Ozu Honmachi bus stop on the Iyotetsu Bus, approx. 10-minute drive from Ozu IC Cormorant Fishing: approx. 20-minute walk from JR Iyo-Ozu station, approx. 10-minute drive from Ozu IC|
Kotohira-gu (Konpira) Shrine/Konpira Hot Springs
Kotohira-gu is the Shinto shrine complex known as Konpira-san, dedicated to the guardian god of seafarers. The renowned long front approach consists of 785 stone steps to the main shrine, and 1,368 steps in total to the inner shrine. Climbing along these steps, you will pass by O-mon (the main gate), Gonin Byakusho (traditional sweet stalls) under their parasols and Shoin (the art museum) designated as an Important Cultural Property (ICP). Other historical buildings in the vast precincts include Asahi-sha, another ICP, and Homotsu-kan (the treasure house) exhibiting top-class arts and cultural properties. On the way back, stop by Konpira Hot Springs at the foot of Konpira-san. The traditional town, which flourished during the Edo period, is now filled with hot-spring inns. The spring water is gentle to the skin, containing sodium, calcium, chloride and a little iron. Refreshing footbaths are available and day visitors are welcomed!
|Address or Location||(Kotohira-gu Shrine) 892-1 Kotohira-cho, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa (Konpira Hot Springs) Kotohira-cho, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa|
|Phone||(Kotohira-gu Shrine) 0877-75-2121 (Kotohira-cho Tourist Information Centre) 0877-75-3500|
|URL||Kotohira-gu Shrine http://www.konpira.or.jp/ （Japanese only） Konpira Hot Springs http://www.kotohirakankou.jp/ （Japanese only）|
|Transportation||To Kotohira-gu Shrine: 20-minute walk from Kotohira station, 50-minute drive from Takamatsu Airport (an airport shuttle bus service to Kotohira is available. Contact the airport for more info.), approx. 15-minute drive from Zentsuji IC To Konpira Hot Springs: approx. 10-minute walk from Kotohira station, approx. 15-minute drive from Zentsuji IC|
Zentsuji is the 75th point along the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, known as the birth place of famous monk Kukai (Kobodaishi). The grounds cover 45,000 square meters, and are divided into an east area called “Garan” and west area called “Tanjoin”. Garan has the main temple structure and a five-story pagoda. The pagoda has an interesting design in that it is a wooden structure which holds a large central pillar which hangs down from the top by a chain, stopping 6 centimeters from the foundation of the structure. The grounds are very quiet and peaceful place. Many visitors enjoy the area around a 1000 year old camphor tree, which is famous as spiritual place.
|Address or Location||3-3-1 Zentsuji-cho Zentsuji-city, Kagawa|
|Opening Hours||7:00 – 17:00 （Treasure museum: 8:00 – 17:00 ※Please come before 16:30. Charm house: 9:00 – 16:00）|
|Fees||No admission fee is required. Admission fee for treasure museum: Adult 500 yen|
|Transportation||・By car to Zentsuji10minutes from Zentsuji interchange of the Trans Shikoku expressway ・15minites from Kotohira ・20minutes walk from JR Zentsuji Station|
Old Konpira Kabuki Theater “Kanamaruza”
This is the oldest existing theater in Japan! Every spring, the Konpira Kabuki Theater show draws in kabuki fans from all over the country.
|Address or Location||Otsu 1241 Kotohira-cho , Nakatado-gun, Kagawa|
|Opening Hours||9:00 – 17:00|
|Fees||Adults: 500 yen|
|URL||http://www.konpirakabuki.jp/index.html （Japanese only）|
|Transportation||Approx. 40 min. by car or 1 hour by bus from Takamatsu Airport. A 10-min. walk to Sekidan Noboriguchi from Kotohira Station. Approx. 10 min. (7 kilometers) by car from Zentsuji Interchange.|
Marugame Castle is the city’s most famous landmark which has beautiful stone wall called “Ougi no Kobai (shape of a folding fan)”. Marugame Castle still remains its appearance of the early times such as a wooden dungeon (There are only 12 wooden dungeons remain in Japan) and magnificent castle gates “Ote Ichi no Mon, Ni no Mon” etc. From the dungeon, you can enjoy beautiful view of Shiwaku Islands, Seto Ohashi Bridge and Sanuki Plain.
|Address or Location||Ichibanncho Marugame-city, Kagawa|
|Opening Hours||Castle tower 9:00 – 16:30 (Please come before 16:00)|
|Fees||Castle tower Adults: 200 yen|
Located at the summit of Mt. Tairyuji, 600 metres above sea level, Tairyu-ji Temple is known as the Mt. Koya of the west. This is temple No.21 of the SHIKOKU HENRO pilgrimage, allegedly founded by Kobo Daishi. Shashingatake, where legend has it that Kobo Daishi repeated the Ākāśagarbha’s mantra a million times to gain extraordinary memory skills, is within walking distance.
|Address or Location||2 Ryuzan, Kamo-cho, Anan-city, Tokushima|
|URL||http://www.88shikokuhenro.jp/tokushima/21tairyuji/ （Japanese only）|
|Transportation||approx. 50 km drive from Tokushima IC on the Tokushima Expressway via Route 55 and Prefectural Highway 195 Or take the Tokushima bus for Kawaguchi via Nyudani, get off at Wajiki-higashi bus stop and walk 10 minutes to the Tairyu-ji ropeway station.|
Ryozen-ji, Gokuraku-ji, Konsen-ji
To this day, Shikoku retains Buddhist training paths and sacred places as they were hundreds of years ago. It’s only in Shikoku that a spiritual belief such as the pilgrimage has existed unchanged for over 1000 years. The 88 official temples of the pilgrimage “ohenro” attract people from a wide variety of backgrounds. It takes some time, but a number of overseas tourists have come to Japan and completed the pilgrimage of the 88 temples. In Shikoku it is believed that the spirit of Kōbō Daishi still visits those temples and you will be able to receive his charity by performing the pilgrimage. Kōbō Daishi is a Buddhist monk who took on the name “Kūkai”. He was born in Kagawa Prefecture and established a monastery in the mountains at Mount Kōya. His pupils aim to achieve enlightenment by following in his footsteps, which is considered to be the origin of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Now that you are in Shikoku, how about visiting the first 3 temples?
|Address or Location||Ryozen-ji Temple 126 Oasa-chobando tsukahana Naruto-city, Tokushima Gokuraku-ji Temple 12 Oasa-chohinokidannoue Naruto-city, Tokushima Konsen-ji Temple 66 ItanochoOterakameyamashita Itano-gun, Tokushima|
|Phone||Ryozen-ji Temple 088-689-1111 Gokuraku-ji Temple 088-689-1112 Konsen-ji Temple 088-672-1087|