The accommodation along Shikoku Pilgrimage Route is one of the most discussed topics in relation to this journey. There are all types of facilities along the route including free temple stays (tsuyado) or locally funded accommodation (zenkonyado), paid temple stays (shukubo) and various other paid categories ranging from hostels to high-end hotels.
During a recent trip to Shikoku where I covered only part of the pilgrimage route – I stayed at paid accommodation including hostels, guesthouses and a wonderful old school building converted into a hotel. Given the very difficult year that the accommodation owners went through, I wanted to write up this post to do my very small part to contribute to their publicity. Some of these accommodations are located right along the pilgrimage route whereas some other require a short detour (by train/or private pick-up by facility owners) but are all worth a trip on their own. This post (and none of the other posts on my site) is not sponsored.
I was generally very amazed with the high spirits of the accommodation owners along the Shikoku Pilgrimage Route and creative ways that they each found to better connect with the surrounding community during the pandemic. I hope you will also find the opportunity to experience their unique style of hospitality.
Shimanto Riverside Hideaway
Shimanto Riverside Hideaway operated by Kenji-san – who has a lot of experience in the field of tourism and hotel management – is located right by the beautiful Shimanto River. The lodge occupies an old traditional Japanese house and has three rooms including one cottage located outside of the main building. Kenji-san will pick you up from Nakamura Station and will often go out of his way to make your stay a perfect one. You can bring in your food and cook in the fully equipped kitchen. On the alternative, you can also ask for sashimi dinner (famous bonito) to be catered from the nearby fish store. Shimanto River is wonderful with kayaking, swimming, mountain biking and walking opportunities and sufficient on its own for a short trip. The misty early mornings will also please the photography lovers. However, if you have extra time, Shimanto Riverside Hideaway is located within an hour distance of some of the most wonderful sites in southern Shikoku including Cape Ashizuri and Ryugu Shrine for a pleasant full day or half day trips.
Kochi no Ya Hostel
I already wrote a separate post for Kochi no Ya Hostel located in Aki – Kochi prefecture. One of the best hostel experiences I had in Japan where the quality of most of the hostels are already very high. The owner and her attention to detail makes this hostel almost too good to be true. The accommodation is not limited to dorm rooms and you can also book a single or family rooms. The cafe area in the hostel becomes a bar three nights in the evening giving you a great opportunity to mingle with the friendly locals.
Ichi the Hostel
Another wonderful hostel in Shikoku. Located in beautiful Hiwasa town in Tokushima prefecture, Ichi the Hostel makes a very ideal base if you want to take a day break from walking and want to explore a small fishermans town with surprisingly large selection of sights given its small size. There are many eating options within mere steps of the hostel including Hiwasaya where you can get a teisyoku kind of meal including a locally sourced sashimi set.In addition to the immaculately kept rooms, the hostel has also a very cozy common area where you can cook or socialize with other guests. There is also a pub attached to the hostel, which opens every night at 8 pm. Hiwasa is definitely one of the towns that I want to get back to to have more opportunity to explore the surroundings without being tied to a pre-set walking schedule.
Fureai no Sato
Fureai no Sato was one of the most surprising discoveries of my trip. Referred to by an area tourism specialist, it turned out to be a perfect first nights stop for my trip to set the tone of the whole journey. Converted form an old school building, the building is very well equipped and very large single rooms cost 4000 Yen/night. You can also get a dinner, breakfast or even a bento lunch for your walk the next day if you pay a little extra and let them know when making the booking. They also offer free pick up and drop off service from the nearby Michi no Eki. Overall, a wonderful place to get a good nights sleep before the steep but beautiful hike to Temple 20 – Kakurin-ji the next day.
Kurashi no Nekko
I could not find this facility if it was not for the help of Kenji-san of Shimanto Riverside Hideaway. Kurashi no Nekko is located in wonderful Susaki town and has a very reasonable pricing policy to also accommodate the solo travelers. I had the whole traditional Japanese style house to myself for 4000Yen/night. They were also incredibly responsive during the booking process. The house is very large and unsurprisingly very well kept. It is also located in the center of town within walking distance of many eateries and one of the most un-industrial looking fisherman’s wharf along the coast. I really enjoyed my two nights stay in Shikoku town at wonderful Kurashi no Nekko. Staying at the same place for two nights also allowed me to cover both Soemimizu and Osaka trails on the way to Temple 37 – Iwamoto.
Another wonderful, beautifully located lodge right by Ohki Beach on your way down to Temple 38 – Kongofuku-ji in Cape Ashizuri. This eco-lodge run by a wonderful family (for two generations now) is not an ordinary beach-side facility. The owners commitment to sustainable life is reflected in every part of the facility including the onsen with magnificent views. Kaiyu Inn also offers long term accommodation plans, which is very ideal in this new era of remote working. I really enjoyed my short stay in this inn, getting to know the family and taking long walks by the beautiful Ohki beach and watching the surfers. There is a bus stop right in front of Kaiyu Inn, which makes it easily accessible even in the absence of private vehicle. If the season is right, the nearby town of Toshimizu is only one hour away on foot via a very pleasant route.
Pavilion Surf Lodge
Last but not the least. What can beat a right on the beach facility where you hear the sounds of waves all through the night? I unfortunately spent very little time at this facility due to my schedule but Pavilion Surfe Lodge is a wonderful surf oriented accommodation located in Shishikui town in Tokushima Prefecture. I could get a private room for 3600 Yen a night and it was large by Japanese standards. There is also a convenience store which is steps away from Pavilion Surf Lodge – a fairly important aspect for walkers. The owners will pick you up from Shishikui Station if you need a ride. Otherwise, the facility is located within a mere 15 minutes walking distance from the station and the walk takes you through streets occupied by traditional style old Japanese houses.