The Shikoku Adventure

Shikoku is very much an "inaka" place. It's rural, and definitely not one of the major cities. There's not a lot on it, but they have two hyakumeizan - and to visit those two I've decided to fly there. It's too far from Tokyo and night buses don't really go there (at least the decent one - which only goes to Hiroshima), and for 2020, buses are suspended due to the pandemic. Either way, I had a four day weekend, and here's how I spent it down at Shikoku.

*The first part of the post is the narrative, the picture narrative is at the end of the post

Budget Summary : JPY75,250 (~USD713)

  1. JPY17,780. September 18, Flight to Matsuyama
  2. JPY9,300. September 19, Matsuyama Castle and Cat Island
  3. JPY15,600. September 20, Mt. Ishizuchi
  4. JPY17,390. September 21, Mt. Tsurugi
  5. JPY15,180. September 22, Demon Island and Flight to Tokyo

Friday, September 18, 2020 - Flight to Matsuyama
Budget : JPY17,780 (~USD169)
  • JPY1,000. Bus, Tokyo Station to Narita Terminal 3.
  • JPY12,310. Flight, Tokyo to Matsuyama.
  • JPY470. Bus, Matsuyama Airport to Matsuyama Station.
  • JPY2,500. Accommodation: Guesthouse Casablanca near Matsuyama Station
  • JPY1,500. Dinner, restaurant near the station.
  • 03:10pm. Bus, Tokyo Station Yaesu Central Exit, bus stop 7. The line was long and with the limited buses due to covid, I might not make it to my flight if I miss my bus. By 03:15pm, they cordoned off the line with four people in front of me, and they asked us to wait for them to confirm if there were seats left. I was ready to beg, or run to take the JPY2,500 train. Thankfully, they had seats for 8 more people.
  • 03:22pm. Bus left the station. The seats had those plastic things covering them, which was quite interesting - how would that stop covid?
  • 04:12pm. Arrived at the terminal. As I have no bags and have checked in online, I went straight to the gate. Upon checking, I'm at gate 162.
  • 04:30pm. Sat down near gate 162, and waited for boarding. They weighed our bags before boarding.
  • 05:55pm. Flight, Narita Terminal 3 to Matsuyama Airport
  • 07:27pm. Landed at Matsuyama Airport. Upon exiting the baggage claim area, there's an information booth right in front. I exited the terminal and turned left. Close to bus stop 1 is a ticket vending machine, and I paid JPY470 to go to Matsuyama Station. The machine is turned on and off by the driver, so if the machine is off just wait for the driver to come. I then went to bus stop 1.
  • 07:38pm. Boarded the bus. It seems that IC card can be used on the bus, but not sure if PASMO is accepted in this part of Japan. Ticket to be provided when getting off.
  • 07:45pm. Bus departs for Matsuyama.
  • 08:00pm. Arrived at Matsuyama Station. Started walking to my hostel (simply followed google maps). Got a bit lost, and if you're staying in Casablanca too, then just look for Hotel Sunroute (ホテルサンルート) and the hostel is on the 8th floor of the building behind it. The hostel has two rooms with bunkers on it, separated by gender (Japan only recognizes two). One room has capacity of 4, another 6. So they just switch the rooms depending on the demand. It is owned and run by a retired Deloitte auditor, so if you want to chat he'll definitely be up for it.
  • 08:30pm. Had dinner at the nearby Chinese place - there are NOT a lot of options for food in Matsuyama.
Saturday, September 19, 2020 - Matsuyama Castle and Cat Island
Budget: JPY9,300 (~USD88)
  • JPY1,540. Train, Matsuyama Station <> Iyo-Nagahama Station (JPY770 one way)
  • JPY1,400. Ferry, Nagahama Port <> Aoshima Port (JPY700 one way)
  • JPY320. Tram, Matsuyamaekimae <> Dogo-onsen
  • JPY2,500. Accommodation: Guesthouse Casablanca near Matsuyama Station
  • JPY500. Snacks.
  • JPY1,540. Lunch, Goshiki-somen, cold noodles
  • JPY1,500. Dinner, Hojo taimeshi,
  • 09:00am. Started walking to Matsuyama Castle. I mainly followed google maps.
  • 09:30am. I arrived at entrance designated by google maps, only to find it closed due to soil erosion and fallen trees. There are three entrances, so I started walking to the other one. Here's the map, with the X marking the place I first went to.

  • 09:38am. Arrived at the other entrance. Started hiking up. Yes, hiking.
  • 10:00am. Sum- er, arrived at the castle. It's a big flat spot with restaurants at lining one side, and some benches on the left, overlooking the city. If you wish to enter the castle, it'll be JPY520 per head. I, however, decided to skip the castle and just walk around. Going down, I had the option to turn left to the ropeway/chair lift, or go back the way I came. I decided to go to the route of the ropeway, though I did not take the ropeway/chairlift.
  • 10:18am. Arrived at the chairlift boarding area. The ropeway boarding area is about 5 meters to the right of it. There are also some stores nearby. I've decided to just continue walking down.
  • 10:29am. Arrived at the foot of the hill, turned right and immediately saw the building for the ropeway/chairlift. I decided to just walk in the direction of Matsuyama Station, and look for a good place to eat lunch in. I stumbled on the shopping street, which was mainly closed either because it's not 11am yet or the covid, I don't know.
  • 10:53am. I decided to eat at Sushimaru, as they have the goshiki somen, which my search says is a local dish. They open at 11am, but allowed me to go in.
  • 11:30am. Done with lunch, paid JPY1,400 plus 10% taxes. It was a surprisingly cold dish, but the noodles did taste good. Not my type of food, but the texture was definitely unique and fresh. I walked past the other side of the castle, to a huge park with locals playing.
  • 12:20pm. Arrived at Matsuyama Station. Right outside the entrance is the counter to buy tickets at. I bought my limited express tickets to Iyo-Saijou Station (valid for any train on the identified date), then also bought roundtrip tickets to Iyo-Nagahama Station (valid for any train on the date itself and the day after).
  • 01:02pm. Train, Matsuyama Station to Iyo-Nagahama Station, platform 3.
  • 02:01pm. Arrived at Iyo-Nagahama Station. Just cross the street, and the boarding area is about two blocks away. Here's the google maps pin for the boarding place.
  • 02:30pm. Ferry, Nagahama Port to Aoshima Port. Go in the ferry, and pay the fare directly at the little office inside the boat, cash only.
  • 03:05pm. Aoshima Port. There are quite a lot cats waiting for you. Play with cats! There's about 20-30 meters of alley that was cordoned off, so residents can have their private splace.
  • 04:15pm. Ferry, Aoshima Port to Nagahama Port.
  • 04:47pm. Arrived at Nagahama Port. Walked back to Iyo-Nagahama Station, and waited for the train.
  • 05:35pm. Train, Iyo-Nagahama Station to Matsuyama Station.
  • 06:52pm. Matsuyama Station. Transfer to the tram to Dogo Onsen Station. The platform to Dogo Onsen can only be accessed by the underpass, so I had to go to one station, go down the underpass and go up to the middle stop.
  • 07:24pm. Arrived at Dogo Onsen. Near the tram stop, I bought some take-out Hojo Taimeishi at JPY1,500ish. Unfortunately, since the lines were long, I had no other choice.
  • 08:15pm. Went to the main onsen, where they give out "seiriken" or ticket numbers. However, they have run out for the day, and I couldn't get in anymore. I decided to spend time in the foot onsen, and go back to my hostel.
  • Dogo Onsen fees: JPY420 per use, with a JPY50 fee for soap, and JPY50 fee for shampoo and hair conditioner. Business hours from 6am to 11pm, last admission at 10:30pm.
Sunday, September 20, 2020 - Mt. Ishizuki
Budget: JPY15,600 (~USD148)
  • JPY2,860. Train, Matsuyama Station -> Iyo-Saijo Station, unreserved.
  • JPY1,660. Train, Iyo-Saijo Station -> Marugame Station.
  • JPY2,040. Bus, Saijo Station <> Nishinokawa Bus Stop (JPY1,020 one way)
  • JPY2,000. Ropeway, roundtrip.
  • JPY500. Snacks and coffee.
  • JPY1,500. Dinner at Ikkaku.
  • JPY5,040. Accommodations, APA Hotel.
  • 06:13am. Matsuyama Station to Iyo-Saijou Station. Not all cars are valid for unreserved tickets, so look for "自由席".
  • 07:11am. Arrived at Saijou Station. On the left of the gates was a 7-11, where I got some snacks and coffee. Upon exiting, there's two bus stops, and the bus stop on the right says Mt. Ishizuchi, so I assume that's where my bus is. There were about five people waiting when I got there, and I put my bags to line up.
  • 07:47am. Bus, Saijou Station to Ropeway. The bus filled up fast and there were even some people standing, so earlier is definitely better.
  • 08:41am. Arrived at the bus stop to the ropeway. At the bus stop, walk towards the rusty arch that says "ロープウエイ入口". There's a flight of stairs right before the arch, and I went up there following the crowd. Soon there was a fork, with the left going down and the right going up. I went right.
  • 08:48am. Arrived at the ropeway boarding. There's already a long line for the tickets, and I immediately fell in line, and paid JPY2,000 for the tickets via credit card.
  • 09:00am. Boarded the ropeway. The ride is over in about 5 minutes, and I then took the time to get ready for the hike.
  • 09:15am. Start hike.
  • 09:35am. Arrived at the shrine with the big torii. There's only one path until the shrine, at which point there's a sign pointing to the left that says "登山口”, which means trailhead. I turned left then. Surprisingly, after I entered the trailhead, it started going down!
  • 09:54am. Arrived at the lowest point of the hike. From here on, it is just one straight ascent up til the summit. Soon enough the trail changed into stairs section, though "section" doesn't seem right as the stairs never ended until the summit.
  • 10:25am. Arrived at the first set of chains, but is not one of the official chain sections (there are three). As I planned to skip all chain sections to save time and for safety purposes since I'm hiking alone, I went around it. It's really an additional time, as they went up and then down.
  • 10:45am. I got into a marker, where it seems I'm halfway through my elevation gain.
  • 10:57am. First chain section. I skipped it.
  • 11:10am. Second chain section. Skipped it too.
  • 11:23am. Third chain section. Skipped it again.
  • 11:30am. Mt. Misen peak. It was utterly, utterly crowded. I sat down to eat the sandwich I bought at 7-11, and then headed out to Mt. Tengu, the highest point. The path between Mt. Misen and Mt. Tengu is utterly sketchy, and definitely not beginner friendly. There were sections where I had to walk across some rock, which has plenty of space for footing - except that it's a cliff on my left and on my right, and nothing to hold on to. Which means, a slip means quite a big fall. Hence, definitely NOT recommended if it's raining or if with strong winds. Though, there were young kids going up and down, so maybe I'm just too scared.
  • 12:00pm. Arrived at the summit. Where there were 10+ people in front of me lining up to take a photo with the marker.
  • 12:12pm. Finally, it was my turn!
  • 12:31pm. Back at Mt. Misen. It can get pretty crowded, and a good portion of the path is only passable by one person at a time. Given that priority was to people going up, people who were going back had to wait. But we can only wait so long, until we block the rest of the way. In those cases, we generally request the people going up to stop and let us pass. With the Japanese, I just waited until one of the Japanese does so. I then went back the way I went up.
  • 02:40pm. I arrived at the ropeway boarding area, just in time to be allowed in.
  • 02:58am. I arrived at the bus stop back to Saijou Station. An old guy called me, and told me to buy the ticket from him beforehand. So I paid him JPY1,020 (cash only), and went back to the line. He said that the last bus typically gets crowded with people with "weak feet" (tldr=slow), so it's good I was am getting on the 3pm bus.
  • 03:17pm. Bus back to Saijou Station.
  • 04:11pm. Back at Iyo-Saijou Station.
  • 04:31pm. Local Train, Iyo-Saijou Station to Marugame Station. The transfer at Kan-onji Station to go to the train to Tadotsu was a tad confusing - I had to go up the overpass to the platform across where we got off, and there are two trains in there - one going to Matsuyama (blue) and another to Tadotsu (red). The trains are right next to each other, but were not connected. So I simply had to walk to the red one and board.
  • 06:20pm. Arrived at Marugame Station. I took the North exit to eat at Ikkaku Restaurant. That line was at least 20 meters, but I figured I would never go back to this place, so I fell in line.
  • 07:50pm. I was finally seated. That was a LONG wait. The restaurant has one main item on the menu - chicken on a bone. Now, I was given the choice of the soft one, or the chewy one. I chose the soft one.
  • 08:25pm. Done with dinner! I asked them if reservations are available at this place, and they said it was on a day-to-day basis. There are days where reservations are allowed, days it's not. For holidays, generally no reservations allowed.
  • 08:45pm. Checked in at my hotel. Dropped my bags, and started walking to Marugame Castle.
  • 09:00pm. Arrived at Marugame Castle, and went until the top. There's nothing much in there, but I got lucky, as they had some "light up" at the castle from September to November.
  • 09:33pm. I started walking back to the hotel, went to the onsen, and rested. It was a long day!
Monday, September 21, 2020 - Mt. Tsurugi
: JPY17,390 (~USD165)
  • JPY970. Train, Marugame Station to Awa-Ikeda Station.
  • JPY500ish. Snacks at 7-11.
  • JPY3,170. Bus, Awa-ikeda Station > Minokoshi.
  • JPY1,050. Chairlift up.
  • JPY1,380. Bus, Minokoshi to Kubo.
  • JPY1,280. Bus, Kubo to Oboke Station
  • JPY2,500. Express train, Oboke Station to Marugame
  • JPY1,500. Dinner, random izakaya near my hotel.
  • JPY5,040. Accommodations, APA Hotel

  • 06:00am. Started walking to the station. They don't accept IC card, so I had to go to the ticket machine and pay JPY970 in cash. I then went to platform 1 to wait for the train.
  • 06:33am. Train, Marugame Station to Kotohira Station.
  • 06:54am. Transfer at Kotohira Station. Had to go up the stairs to cross to platform 3. Entrance to the train is on the door farther from the stairs.
  • 06:58am. Train, Kotohira Station to Awa-ikeda Station.
  • 07:47am. Awa-ikeda Station. There's only one exit. I stopped by the 7-11 to buy some food, then started walking to the bus terminal. Upon exiting the station, it's to the right. About my 2 o'clock. The bus stop is right next to the flickering stop light (the one that just kept blinking orange haha). You'll see a restroom and the bus stops are next to it. Go to bus stop 1.
  • 07:55pm. Got into the bus stop. Fare has to be paid in the bus, and the bus does not have change for bills other than JPY1,000. The bus company's office is right next to the terminal, and I changed my JPY10,000 bill to JPY1,000 ones. There are a couple of buses that use the same bus stop, one goes to a ropeway and another to Kobe. Wait for the one that goes to Kubo at 8:15am.
  • 08:15am. Bus, Awa-ikeda Bus Terminal to Kubo.
  • 09:00am. One of the stops, Oboke Station, had a lot of people boarding the bus that the bus actually was standing room only. Most of them got off in the middle though - mainly the famous bridge, and soon enough the bus was left with the original group.
  • 10:06am. Paid JPY1,790. Transferred at Kubo Stop (here's the google maps pin for reference). Just get off the bus and wait for the small shuttle.
  • 10:08am. The small shuttle to Minokoshi arrived. We just boarded and that was it. Fare is JPY1,380.
  • 10:36am. We stopped at Nago (名頃) where the shuttle got full. On the next stop, the driver refused the passengers waiting as the shuttle was full. Hence, even if you go wait hours for the shuttle, there's no assurance you'll get in. In which case, you'll have to call a special taxi, which the nearest establishment can help you with.
  • 10:58am. This was the ETA to Minokoshi, but with the excessive traffic jam, we got off the bus at 11:30am. Not even a the bus stop - we stopped about 100 or so meters away, as all cars were not moving at all. So we decided to get off and walk the rest of the way.
  • 11:35am. Arrived at the chairlift, where I bought a one way ticket.
  • 11:50am. Arrived at the end of the lift, I started getting ready. The restroom was, uhm, the normal mountain restroom which is basically a toilet that is really just a hole. So, if you can, take the restroom break before going up. I got ready for my hike.
  • 11:55am. Start hike. Once I got off the chairlift, the quickest way to summit is the steep route to my left - which is easy to spot, as it's the only path going up. It was a rather decent slope up, with minimal flat spots, and no descent.
  • 12:17pm. The clouds started covering the view. Drats.
  • 12:27pm. I arrived at the plateau, where people spend most of their time just enjoying the view. I needed to summit, so I turned right.
  • 12:30pm. Summit! There are a couple of markers, so pick whichever spot is good for you. I took plenty of pictures, because this place was so picturesque. I was lucky enough that the summit had a clear view, as opposed to the cloudy section on the other side.
  • 12:40pm. I was done with my pictures, and started heading down. I took a different trail, the less steep one this time. Basically any trail that leads back to the bus stop has more or less the same expected time.
  • 01:34pm. I passed through underneath chairlift.
  • 01:43pm. Arrived at the bus stop. A bit difficult to find, here's the google pin for it. I was trying to get to use the bus to Anabuku, but they were apparently not running for the entirety of September for 2020.
  • 02:55pm. Bus, Minokoshi to Kubo.
  • 03:25pm. We stopped at Nago, where half of the people got off. It seems like it's common to do Mt. Misen, whose trailhead is Nago, and Mt. Tsurugi on subsequent days.
  • 03:45pm. Arrived at Kubo stop. The next bus is at 4:44pm, so we have an hour wait.
  • 04:44pm. Bus, Kubo to Awa-ikeda Bus Terminal. Based on my discussion with some Japanese folks while waiting, it is faster to stop at Oboke Station and take the limited express train, rather than go as far as Awa-ikeda. As that will change my ETA by at least an hour and a half, I decided I'd pay the net additional ~JPY1,000 haha.
  • 05:57pm. Arrived at Oboke Station. Went straight to the ticket machine - it is in English, so that helped given the rush. Bought two tickets - one for the train ride and another for the premium charge for the express ticket. There's a guide on the machine on how much to pay depending on where you're getting off. But if you cannot buy the ticket, no worries, you can just buy at the train guy that'll be checking tickets while you're inside the train. Just tell him where you got on and where you're getting off.
  • 07:00pm. Marugame Station. I walked around to a couple of places trying to find a place to eat at, but everywhere was full. So I went to the hotel, rested for 30 minutes, and found a place nearby. I ate, went to the onsen, and was out like a lamp.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - Megi Island Trip
Budget : JPY15,180 (~JPY144)
  • JPY560. Marugame Station to Takamatsu Station.
  • JPY740. Ferry, Takamatsu Port <> Megijima Port
  • JPY400. Bus, Megijima Port <> Cave
  • JPY600. Cave entrance fee.
  • JPY800. Udon lunch.
  • JPY1,000. Parfait dessert.
  • JPY720. Bus, Takamatsu area to Takamatsu Airport.
  • JPY9,360. Flight, Takamatsu to Tokyo
  • JPY1,000. Bus, Narita Airport to Tokyo Station.

  • 05:30am. Started walking to Marugame Castle. Sunrise is expected at 5:53, so I am trying to be there by 5:45am.
  • 05:50am. Arrived right below the summit, and decided to stay there to enjoy the view.
  • 06:03am. The majestic ball of light has peeked over the mountain. The positioning of course changes throughout the year, but seeing it made me glad I woke up early to see it.
  • 06:30am. I was back at my hotel, and soon enough was asleep....
  • 10:07am. Train, Marugame Station to Takamatsu Station.
  • 10:45am. Arrived at Takamatsu Station. I spent a good portion of my time looking for a recommended udon restaurant, but most of them were closed on Sundays and holidays.
  • 11:12am. Finally found a place, which is close to Takamatsu Station.
  • 11:25am. Done with my udon, and started walking towards the port.
  • 11:45am. Arrived at the port (google maps pin). You can easily see the ferry, but tickets have to be bought prior to boarding. Just go to the building next to it and you'll see the sign for the ticket office, which is on the far end. Paid for the tickets, cash only.
  • 11:50am. Boarded the ferry.
  • 12:00pm. Ferry, Takamatsu Port to Megijima.
  • 12:20pm. Arrived at Megijima. Upon exiting, I turned right and there's the ticket office. At the entrance, to the right, was the counter to buy bus tickets. The bus supposedly leaves at 12:20pm, but they would wait for everyone who got off the ferry to buy their tickets and board.
  • 12:24pm. Bus leaves for the cave. Near the entrance is a machine to buy tickets to enter the cave, JPY600 per head. I bought the tickets, and went to the cave. One employee stays at the entrance and basically takes your photo (using your phone) at the cave entrance. The cave was BIG, and I can imagine it being a shelter years and years ago. They have demon masks on it, and if you read on the history there's probably something there. There are quite a couple of corners where they would have those colorful statues or masks, or even a treasure section. I just went to explore the cave, and followed the route.
  • 12:43pm. Exited the cave. Right outside, is a sign in English that says don't forget to look back up. So I did, and up there were some "basalt columnar joints". I turned right and went up the viewing point.
  • 12:43pm. I ended up summiting their mountain! At 187meters, this is not my lowest peak haha. When I went down, the guide says it's Mt. Washigamine (鷲ヶ峰). The highest point of the island was Mt. Takato (タカト山) at 216meters, whose trailhead was right at the bus stop next to the cave, so I could have had gone straight for it. Here's a sample route. It is about 4 hours, 7.8kms, with a 500m elevation gain/loss.
  • 12:54pm. I was back at the bus. The bus will leave at 1:05pm, so I had a bit of time to spare.
  • 01:05pm. Bus, cave entrance to port.
  • 01:20pm. Boarded the ferry.
  • 01:40pm. Back at Takamatsu Port. I then walked around, spent some time at a cafe eating parfait, then sat in one of the benches reading a book, waiting for the bus from Takamatsu to the airport.
  • 03:45pm. Bus, Takamatsu to airport. I paid JPY720 when I was getting off using my IC Card. At the terminal, the sunset was amazing so even if I was already at the gate, I asked permission to leave so I can walk around. There's also a restaurant with udon and the chicken with a bone, but all are outside the departure areas so make sure to buy what you want to buy before going past security.
  • 07:25pm. Departure, Takamatsu Domestic Terminal
  • 08:50pm. Arrival, Narita Terminal 3. Exited, bought my bus ticket to Tokyo.
  • 09:20pm. Bus, Narita to Tokyo.

Friday, September 18, 2020 - Flight to Matsuyama

Bus from Tokyo Station to Narita. They have these plastic thingies. I don't know how it'll help with the pandemic. 

The plane! It's been half a year since I got on a flight! O.O

Landed at Shikoku. First time in this remote, remote place. 

The bus from Matsuyama Airport to Matsuyama Station. 

My JPY2,500 a night hostel. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020 - Matsuyama Castle and Cat Island

The blocked off entrance to Matsuyama Castle. 

The trek up the Castle Hill...

...affords gorgeous views of the city. 

The beautiful castle. In black and white. Coz why not?

The way down. 

Passing under the chairlift. 

The entrance to the castle, the one near the chairlift. 

The shopping street I stumbled on. 

I ate at Sushimaru, where they have an aquarium right at  the counter. 

Here's the menu. 

Rice on the left, noodles on the right. Very heavy lunch. 

Walking back to Matsuyama Station, with a nice view of Matsuyama Castle on a hill. 

Just some cute mascots at Matsuyama Station. 

The ticket is surprisingly valid for two days. 

The train - which is only one car. 

The boat to Aoshima. 

The ticket is paid inside the boat. 

Just one of the cute cats. 

Blog posts say there was cat food in the island, but that's a fixed thing, as there was nobody there selling anything. Actually, there was nobody there but the tourists. haha. 


Some people brought their own cat food. 

And the cats would definitely follow the food. 

The restroom is right next to the dock. 

Sunset on the boat going back. 

One of the onsens at Dogo Onsen. 

The main onsen of Dogo Onsen. 

At the entrance to Dogo Onsen there's this.... red thing. Every hour (at least it did at 8pm sharp), it has a little show with the characters moving. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020 - Mt. Ishizuki

Time to go to Iyo-Saijou Station!!!

The view from the train is amazing!

Upon exiting, you'll see two sheds. The one on the right says Mt. Ishizuchi. 

The bus was full!

See that arch? That's the entrance to the ropeway. 

To the right of the arch is the stairs leading up to it. 


Long line! And I came on the first bus! Obviously, plenty of people come via private vehicles. 

This is the view at the top of the ropeway. 

Just follow the main road (there's only one), and it'll split soon enough. On the right is the chair lifts - which is used mainly for skiing in winter I believe. 

The shrine. See that little sign at the left of the torii? That points to the trailhead. 

That on the left is the trailhead. 

What surprised me was that the path was going DOWN. 

Until I reached this point, and then it's all uphill now. 

The trial chain. Maybe to know if you want to do the chain segments later on? I am hiking solo in a far away land during a pandemic. I'm not taking more risks than I have to, so I skipped all the chain segments. 

Pretty good view going up. As the weather is never certain, I decided to take pictures as much as I can. 

Non stop stairs. 

Another marker - this time telling me I'm halfway there. 

You can see Mt. Misen. The summit is behind that. 

The first chain section.

The alternative to the chain section. 

They have this split for the steel stairs - left for those going up, right for those going down. 

The third chain segment is not as well marked. But that little white thing is it. 

Mt. Misen. It was surprisingly crowded at the summit. But then the summit was pretty small too. 

The highest point! I was iffy on whether I'm gonna go or not. But... since I'm not planning on coming back to Shikoku, I decided to just do it. 

This is the trail. You can see the parts on the rock where people step on. As someone with a fear of heights, this was NOT fun. 

The line to the summit. 

A common pose (for women, it seems). Putting the marker on their butts. 

Finally it was my turn! Here's the summit! No, I did not put the marker on my butt.

And here's the way back. Single file only. You can see the white arrow painted on it. Definitely not a good place to walk on when it's raining. or windy. or anything really. 

When I got back, it was utterly crowded!

Take a peek back! And back to the trailhead I go!

Back to the stairs. 

And with the crowds, even the stairs have lines. 

So let me enjoy the view. 

Soon enough I'm back at the ropeway.

And at the bus stop. Bye bye Mt. Ishizuchi....

The confusing transfer. The left train goes to Matsuyama, the right one goes to Tadotsu. 

The LONG line for Ikkaku's Chicken. 

I waited more than an hour for this!

The light-up at Marugame Castle. 

And going up, up, and up. 

I do love light-ups. 

I was a tad disappointed with how little the "castle" is. It's even smaller than the storage units of other castles.

But it does look pretty from afar. 

Monday, September 21, 2020 - Mt. Tsurugi

Going to Marugame Station. Right in front of the South Exit is this... art... thingy.

Upon exiting Awa-Ikeda Station, the bus terminal is a couple minutes' walk. 

The bus terminal. The building to the left is the bus company's office - which doesn't sell tickets, but will change JPY10,000 bills. 

The view at the bus was gorgeous. I recommend sitting on the left side of the bus. 

A mere two hours later, we get to transfer at Kubo (久保)

Here's the shuttle, that doesn't have a lot in terms of capacity. Plus the middle area have seats, so if there are too many people boarding, you can't squeeze in. Hence, there is a risk that you won't be able to get in the shuttle. Which merely twice a day. 

With minimal public transport access, everyone brings cars. Hence, the entire place is packed with cars, even at the road, turning the last couple of kilometers' road into a one way one. The traffic here was the worst I've ever had in my four year stay in Japan. 

So we've decided to walk, and soon enough I got into the chairlift. I wasn't planning on using the chair lift, but I've already lost 30 minutes due to the bad traffic. 

To be fair, the view at the chairlift was pretty nice. 

Once I got off, there's a path in front to the restroom, and a path to the left to hike up. 

I'm surprised that Mt. Tsurugi is a rainforest. At least I think it is?

Beautiful, mossy path. 

There's the summit!

View from the summit. 

One of the summit markers. 

After taking lots of pictures, I now have to head down to catch my bus. 

There's a fork close to the summit - the path on my right is the one I took going up, which is shorter but steeper. The path on the left is longer and less steep. Going down, I took the path to the left. 

Feels like Mt. Tanzawa.

The rather gentle descent. 

Still gorgeous views though.

Thankfully the clouds on this side have lifted. 

There's a shrine in here, and a building that I thought was an emergency hut (the one on the left). Yet when I tried the door, it was locked. Guess it's not an emergency hut. 

This fork goes to the same place, but one is longer than the other. I chose the shorter route. 

This is so relaxing to me. 

The little tunnel to go under the chairlift. 

And soon I was done! The bus stop is to the left. 

Bus stop! The bus will come here on time, so just make sure to wait. If in doubt, call them. 

This is a sign while we were at Kubo stop - for those who cannot get in the shuttle, you'll have to get a taxi. Since the trip took an hour, I don't think that's gonna be cheap. 

Oboke Train Station. 

Apparently this is a famous bridge and people go here to see this bridge. Unfortunately, with how far Mt. Tsurugi is and the rarity of the public transportation, I wasn't able to stop by. 

But look at those vines!

Back at Marugame, I had the local food - udon and chicken on a bone. Yum!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - Megi Island Trip
Upon seeing the light in behind the castle, I felt a little stupid for not getting up earlier to watch the sunrise. I had to remind myself that sunrises take time, and I should still try going up. 

Thankfully, the little ball of fire wasn't up yet when I got there. 

And there she is! I'm so glad I got up early to see the sunrise. 

I don't know what's up with this building belching so much smoke. Either way, I went back to the hotel for my nap. 

Near Tokushima Station is the port. The red ship going to Megijima is easily spotted. 

The ticket counter. 

I bought a roundtrip ticket - I provided one stub when I got off the ferry at Megijima, and gave the return stub before getting on the ferry at Megijima. 

Once I got off, people were either gong left or right. I wanted to take the bus straight up, so I followed the red arrow to the right. 

The ticket counter. They had a piece of paper with English translation, so it is English friendly, surprisingly. 

The bus awaits right outside. I was a tad worried coz it took me about 5 minutes to fall in line and buy the tickets, but the bus will wait for the passengers. 

The entrance to the demon cave. 

One of the most common pictures I saw when I google Onigashima. 

Ticket machine. I was surprised that there was a fee to enter, but oh well, I was already there. 

The inside of the cave has a couple of these colorful demon statues. Honestly, I think their concept of demon is not as scary as the western one...

Demon masks everywhere!

They even had a path surrounded by it. Now, this i would believe as scary. Not the colorful, happy looking ones. 

Once I exited, there's a sign in English that said look back and up. Sheep that I am, I looked back and up. I'm glad to be a sheep in this case.

I then proceeded to the top of the island. 

Pretty nice walk up.

I am surprised there's a marker in here! Did I just hike?!

Beautiful view at the top. ON the left is the summit of Mt. Takato.

The demon guardian.

I had some 5 or so minutes to kill waiting for the ferry, and so I walked around the port. 

And as I got closer, it seems that the little baby demon is mocking me. 

Yep, it is. Mocking me. 

The beautiful sunset at Takamatsu Airport.