- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Shikoku Temple Pilgrimage
The Shikoku Pilgrimage trail is a multi sight pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai on the island of Shikoku, Japan.
The Shikoku Temple Pilgrimage is a fully guided, level 3 to 4 tour suitable for anyone who is an occasional walker and can walk for more than three to four hours in comfort. In general, the route is gently undulating but also includes some steeper climbs of an hour or more.
The 88 Temple Pilgrimage, one of the oldest pilgrimages in the world, is completed by journeying from one charming temple to the next strung out along its circular route. The whole Pilgrimage stopping at each temple takes 40 days or more. During our 11 day tour we visit 27 temples on a route that leads us to the rugged, cliff-lined shores facing the Pacific Ocean, to Shikoku’s interior of towering mountains and deep valleys, and to the coastal plains abutting the Seto Inland Sea. Our physical journey covers over 1,000km (622 miles) but it is also a quest into the extramundane, into a metaphysical world eons old. In the words of Kukai, ‘On the way of the 88 Temples, anyone that you meet, anyone that you hear, anyone that you see; they are all manifestations of Buddha. Learn from their strengths and reform your own shortcomings. Whether sick or healthy, rich or poor, you will be saved through Buddha’s compassion and through the practice of faith and asceticism.
The Shikoku Temple Pilgrimage tour follows some of the most scenic, best-preserved and enjoyable sections of the famous 88 Temple Pilgrimage. Daily walking distances vary between an easy 9km through to a moderate 18.5km following mountain trails and pavement. There are several passes, some steep and long but these, as with all the walking, are climbed at a comfortable pace. If required, onward transport can usually be arranged for those who desire a more relaxed time. Each day our main baggage is sent ahead by vehicle so we need only take what we need each day in a small back pack.