The best time for the Shikoku Pilgrimage

Matsuyama Castle (松山城) in the spring

The best time to travel is in spring and fall.

Spring: from mid-March to the end of May
Fall: from the beginning of October to the end of November

The best time for the pilgrimage

On Shikoku, the rainy season begins in early June. Accordingly, the most rainy days of the year occur in June (17 days) and July (17 days).

In midsummer, July and August, it gets very hot, with temperatures well over 85 °F / 30 °C during the day. And the temperatures also remain high at night. In these months it is too hot for demanding pilgrimages. Tropical cyclones (typhoons) hit Shikoku particularly frequently in these high summer months.

It can get quite cold in December, January and February. Snowfall can also occur on the higher parts of the pilgrimage route.

The Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail can basically be walked all year round, but temperatures are most pleasant in spring and autumn.
The cherry trees blossom on Shikoku in the second half of March to early April, with yearly variations due to the climate.
Many of Shikoku’s temples are famous for the magnificent colouring of the maple leaves in late November.
These are also the times when the vast majority of pilgrims are on their way.

Golden Week

During the “Golden Week” (ゴールデンウィーク), four fixed holidays are supplemented with weekends and bridge days to form a longer period. During this time, most Japanese take time off to travel or visit family. It is advisable to take this into account when planning and to book accommodation as early as possible.

The Golden Week holidays

April 29 – Birthday of the late Emperor Hirohito, also known as Shōwa-tennōwho reigned from 1926 to 1989 (Shōwa no hi).
May 3 – Constitution Day (Kempō Kinen-bi ).
May 4 – Green Day (Midori no hi).
May 5 – Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi).

Shikoku – Climate Table

Daytime high °F54° max56° max59° max66° max73° max77° max86° max88° max82° max75° max66° max56° max
Nighttime low °F36° min38° min41° min50° min57° min64° min71° min73° min68° min59° min50° min41° min
Daytime high °C12° max13° max15° max19° max23° max25° max30° max31° max28° max24° max19° max13° max
Nighttime low °C2° min3° min5° min10° min14° min18° min22° min23° min20° min15° min10° min5° min
Daily sunshine hours66810109101110666
Rainy days101113131117171615121011
Rainfall (in)1.14 in2.05 in2.52 in3.22 in2.83 in5.16 in3.58 in2.60 in3.90 in3.03 in1.73 in2.05 in
Rainfall (mm)29 mm52 mm64 mm82 mm72 mm131 mm91 mm66 mm99 mm77 mm44 mm52 mm
Snowy days2 1---------1

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