Preparation

Getting to Shikoku

Stations near Temple 1: Public transportation near Temple 1

  • Bando train station (JR Tokushima line) - 15 minute walk
  • Naruto-nishi bus station (Intercity bus service) - 20 minute walk
  • Ryozenji-mae bus station (Local - Tokushima Bus) - 2 minute walk

Hiroshima

  1. Take the express bus to Naruto-nishi Station from the Hiroshima Bus Center.
    * The Hiroshima Bus Center is located near Kencho-mae station behind Mielparque Hiroshima Hotel. *

Kyoto Station

  1. At Kyoto Station, take the JR Shikoku Bus (Takamatsu Express Kyoto) or an express bus located at the Kyoto Station JR Kōsoku bus terminal outside the Karasumaguchi exit.

Osaka

Kansai International Airport

  1. Take the bus to Tokushima Station.
  2. Take the JR train (Kotoku Line) from Tokushima Station to Bando Station.

Osaka (Itami) Airport

  1. Take the bus from Osaka Airport to Shin-Osaka Station
  2. Take the express bus to Naruto-nishi station.

or

  1. Take the bus from the airport to Tokushima Station (Japanese-only website)
  2. Take the JR train (Kotoku Line) from Tokushima Station to Bando Station.

Osaka Station

  1. Take the JR Shikoku Bus (Takamatsu Express Osaka) or the express bus located at the Osaka Station JR Kōsoku bus terminal to the Naruto-nishi station.

or

  1. Take the bus from Osaka Station to Tokushima Station (Japanese-only website).
  2. Take the JR train (Kotoku Line) from Tokushima Station to Bando Station.

Shin-Osaka Station

  1. Take the express bus to Naruto-nishi station.

Tokyo

Tokyo Station Bullet Train

  1. Take the Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) at the station.
  2. Take the express bus to Naruto-nishi station.

Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station

  1. At Tokyo Station, take the express bus to Tokushima Station located inside the Kajibashi parking lot, which is outside the Yaesuguchi exit. At Shinjuku Station, take the South exit to get on the same express bus.
  2. Take the JR train (Kotoku Line) from Tokushima Station to Bando Station.

Tokyo Port

  1. Take the Tokyo Ocean Ferry that departs Tokyo Port every night. The ferry departs at 19:10 and arrives at Tsuda Port in Tokushima at 13:10 the next day. Reservation required.
  2. At the port, take a bus to Tokushima Station.
  3. Take the JR train (Kotoku Line) from Tokushima Station to Bando Station.

Wifi & Data

Getting phone service in Japan as a foreigner is no easy task. Since the “Mobile Phone Improper Use Prevention Act” was enacted in 2006, any person who purchases a SIM card with voice calling capabilities must show proper identification proving that he/she has a permanent residential address in Japan. Foreigners must have an alien registration to purchase a voice SIM, meaning you won't be able to get one with a tourist visa. B-Mobile and Softbank are the only exceptions, which you must purchase at airport service counters in Tokyo (Narita/Haneda), Nagoya, or Osaka (Kansai). However, these options are expensive and you can end up spending more than $200USD by the end of your pilgrimage, even if you call only when necessary.

Since the above legislation does not apply to data services and data-only SIM cards, the more economical way is to get data service. You can do this by (1) purchasing a data SIM, or (2) rent a portable pocket wifi. If you intend to use a data SIM, make sure your smartphone is unlocked from your carrier before you arrive, or else it won't be able to read and use any other sim card. Because most places of business in Shikoku accept phone reservations only, if you opt for a data-only SIM, consider using apps like Skype that offer cheap calling rates to international phone numbers. A portable pocket wifi is a device about the size of an iPhone 5, which you can carry around and use it in a similar way as a wifi hotspot. Pocket wifis tend not to have limits on data usage, so you won't have to worry about using up your data service.

Data-Only SIM Cards

  1. Order a prepaid SIM card online and have it delivered to you either before you leave, have it delivered to your hotel, or collect it once you arrive at the airport.
  2. Purchase a data SIM from at the airport you arrive at. Narita, Osaka, and Kansai International Airports sell them at various vending machines, Yodobashi electronic stores, BIC, and other retailers.
  3. Purchase prepaid SIM for smartphones provided by NTT DoCoMo network, the largest telecommunications network in Japan. They can be purchased at Xcom Global counters at Haneda, Narita, Kansai, and Chūbu Centrair airports as well as from a machine located inside the Narita Excel Hotel Tokyo or at a Yodobashi camera chain.
  4. Purchase prepaid smartphone data SIM cards provided by MVNO B-mobile. They must be purchased either at a branch of AEON, Yodobashi Camera or BIC Camera chains or online at the b-mobile website or Amazon.co.jp. Items purchase online can be delivered to hotels, post offices at major airports, or any Japanese address in 2–4 days.
  5. For a list of other options, visit this Wikia page.

Pocket Wifi

  1. Global Advanced Communications seems to provide the most reliable service. You can rent a pocket wifi online and have it shipped to your airport or a post office.
  2. PuPuRu's pocket wifi rental service
  3. eConnect Japan

Baggage Storage

If you are coming from overseas, you might need to store the rest of your luggage so you can go on the pilgrimage with just the essentials. Luggage storage services can be found at most international airports. Alternatively, you can also use coin lockers at airports or in large cities.

Leaving Your Baggage with a Place of Lodging

The biggest disadvantage of the options below is that if you do the full pilgrimage on foot, instead of using public transportation or doing a partial pilgrimage, you might need to store your baggage for longer than what is allowed. Even if the duration of storage is not limited, spending ¥300-¥500 a day will cost you about ¥13,500-¥22,500, excluding surcharges for long-term storage. Having someone send it to you after the pilgrimage from your home country can be cheaper depending on where you're from and the weight of your belongings. Another option is to call your first place of lodging near Temple 1 ahead of time, and ask if you can leave your baggage with them until you get back to Temple 1.

Baggage Services

You can find baggage storage counters at each international airport in Japan. Different airports have different restrictions on weight, size, and the duration of storage. Narita International Airport, for example, limits baggage size and weight to 1 cubic meter and 30kg, and will only allow storage of up to 30 days. Also, check the opening hours beforehand, as they may differ from the airport's opening hours.

Coin Lockers

Coin lockers at airports charge based on the number of days and locker sizes. Locker sizes come in small, medium, and large. This a good alternative only if you are doing the pilgrimage for a short period of time. Many airports restrict the number of days you can keep your baggage in lockers. Narita International Airport, for example, allows a maximum duration of use of only 8 days. JR (Japan Railway) train stations allow only up to 3 days, with prices ranging from ¥300 to ¥500. Prices listed for the coin lockers are tax included, and charges for the next day begin at midnight each day. Read the policies carefully, as prices will generally go up after a few days.

Fee Schedules

Airport/Station Baggage Storage Services (Per Day) Coin Lockers (Per Day)
Narita International Airport ¥310-820 (max. 30 days) ¥300-500 (max. 8 days)
Osaka International Airport N/A ¥300-500 (extra charges after 5 days)
Kansai International Airport N/A ¥300-600 (max. 10 days)
Shin-Osaka Station ¥410 (¥820 after 5 days) ¥300-500
JR Osaka Station ¥400-500 ¥300-500
JR Kyoto Station ¥420 (¥840 after 5 days; max 15 days) ¥300-500

Links