Mount Tsurugi (剣山, Tsurugisan) is a 1955 meter high mountain that lies at the eastern end of the remote Iya Valley. The second tallest mountain on Shikoku, Mount Tsurugi is one of Japan's "100 Famous Mountains" and a center of Shugendo, a Japanese folk religion based on mountain worship. It 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 30-45 minutes to hike the most direct route to the peak, while an alternate route via Otsurugi Shrine takes just a little bit 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 uphill hike takes about two hours.
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, 1380 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).