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  3. 7. Ehime Walking Pilgrimage Highlights from Sacred Mountain Sites to Dōgo Onsen

7. Ehime Walking Pilgrimage Highlights from Sacred Mountain Sites to Dōgo Onsen

Visit 8 temples, soak in hot springs, and do some sightseeing. You can enjoy Ehime in its entirety on this 4-day tour.

There are 26 temples in Ehime Prefecture, numbered T40 to T65, and this course covers a well-walked section of the Ehime Pilgrimage Route, where 8 of the Shikoku 88 Sacred Sites are located.

On day 1, begin your walk from Kuma Kōgen, which is cool even in summer. Visit T44 Daihōji, considered the halfway point of the Shikoku Pilgrimage circuit, and then head in the direction of T45 Iwayaji. This is an area of great scenic beauty called Furuiwaya, with its characteristic strange-shaped rocks that look like a beehive. Walk along the path through the forest and you will come to Furuiwaya Fudo, where Fudo Myoō (Acala) is enshrined in a large hole in the rock.

On day 2, first go to Iwayaji. This is a must-see sacred mountain site where the Buddhist temple has been built into the side of a huge rock. At the top of the rocky hill where you climb a chain ladder between the rocks, you will find “seriwari-zenjo,” the site of Kobo Daishi’s ascetic training. The key to the door of the ascetic site is available from the temple office (for a fee), and is recommended for those who like rock climbing. Once over Misaka Pass, with a short cut by bus, all that remains is the descent. After descending a steep path covered with trees for a while, you will find yourself in a rural landscape with wildflowers blooming along the roadside.

On day 3, visit T46 Jōruriji and T51 Ishiteji in this order. Jo-no-Fuchi, the inner sanctuary of T48 Sairinji is especially recommended. The park is a beautiful place with clear spring water, nishikigoi carp, and water plants. The day ends with a visit to Dōgo Hot Spring. Rest your tired body after a long day of walking.

On the last day, you are free to explore Matsuyama City by rental bike. Matsuyama Castle offers many sights, including the three-storied castle tower constructed in 1820. Matsuyama has also produced many haiku poets. Issōan is where famous free verse haiku poet Taneda Santōka lived in later life. He wrote haiku that departed from the norm of requiring a seasonal word or a strict 5-7-5 syllable pattern. It is worth a visit if you are interested.

DAY1 Kuma Kōgen Bus stop → Michino-eki Tenkuunosato Sansan→ T44 Daihōji → Furuiwaya , Furuiwaya Fudo
DAY2 T45 Iwayaji → Misaka Pass → Sakamotoya (rest area) → T46 Jōruriji
DAY3 T47 Yasakaji → T48 Sairinji → T49 Jōdoji → T50 Hantaji  → T51 Ishiteji → Dōgo Hot Spring
DAY4 Explore Matsuyama City by bicycle → JR Matsuyama Station

Model Course name
7. Ehime Walking Pilgrimage Highlights from Sacred Mountain Sites to Dōgo Onsen
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