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Shikoku Pilgrimage

The long and culturally rich Shikoku pilgrimage was founded by a renowed Japanese Buddhist named Kukai or Kobo Daishi.  Stretching for approximately 1,200km, this route is one of the few circular shaped pilgrimages in the World. 

Pilgrims, who are known as Henro, undertake the 88 Temple journey for a variety of reasons.  Some are religious, some come for healing, some in memory of loved ones who have transitioned.  There are also pilgrims who come for quiet reflection in natural surroundings and to learn more about themselves.  Whichever it is, they can be sure that life will be different when they return.  As T.S. Eliot so wonderfully says:

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

Recently, an increasing number of people complete the pilgrimage by car, bus or even bicycle, yet the traditional way to take the journey is on foot. The average time to do the pilgrimage this way is between 40 and 50 days.

Henro (pilgrims) carry special equipment on their walk and follow certain procedures at each temple.  You can learn more about this by clicking on the links in this paragraph or on the left. 

Tatusro Muro, in the book Journey of the Soul, which documents information about each temple, says of the pilgrimage:

"This lengthy journey, which transcends all religions, allows you to receive both material and non-material gifts from others, to experience nature around the island of Shikoku, and to visit numerous sacred and religious sites - all of which act as a catalyst to purify your mind and spirit."

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