Mount Tsurugi (剣山, Tsurugisan) is a 1955 meters high mountain that lies at the eastern end of the remote Iya Valley. The second tallest mountain on Shikoku Island, Mount Tsurugi is one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains and a center of Shugendo, a Japanese folk religion based on mountain worship. Mount Tsurugi is a popular hiking destination and, despite its name which translates to Sword Mountain, far from a challenging climb.
A relaxing chairlift takes visitors most of the way up the mountain to a station near the summit. From there it takes about 30 minutes to hike the most direct route to the peak, although there is an alternate route via Otsurugi Shrine which takes just a few minutes longer. At the top you will find a shrine, mountain huts, weather towers, and wooden boardwalks that lead to various viewpoints with panoramic views out over the surrounding mountains.
More dedicated hikers can climb the entire mountain from the trailhead at Mi no Koshi near the lower chairlift station. The hike crosses the chairlift at one point and takes about two hours one way.
A rental car is recommended for visiting Mount Tsurugi.
Alternatively, take a bus from Awa Ikeda Station to Kubo (2 hours, 1790 yen, 4 buses/day), transfer to another bus bound for Tsurugisan (剣山) and get off at the final bus stop (50 minutes, 1350 yen, 2 buses/day) near the lower chairlift station. Buses from Kubo to Mount Tsurugi operate only on weekends and during peak seasons from April to November. Peak seasons include Golden Week, the summer holidays (mid July through August) and the autumn color season (October to early November).