Head south by bus and pre-paid taxi from Matsuyama to Temple 45 Iwaya-ji, a temple closely linked to Kobo Daishi – the priest who founded Shingon Buddhism and Mount Koya. Climb the iconic ladder to his meditation spot, with its spectacular views over the surrounding region. From Iwaya-ji, enjoy a lovely forest hike to Temple 44 Daiho-ji before returning by bus to Matsuyama in the evening. Overnight in Dogo Onsen.
Walking distance: 11.7km / 7.3 miles
Elevation gain: 650m / 2,130 feet ascent and 580m / 1,900 feet descent
Time required: About 4 hours
Accommodation: Hot-spring Ryokan (Travellers Inn)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
This charming inn in the heart of Dogo Onsen is run by a friendly family with exceptional service, beautiful Japanese rooms, exquisite cuisine, and lovely thermal baths.