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The Shikoku Pilgrimage founded by Kukai

Photo by Shikoku Tours

Posted: April 28, 2021

The Shikoku Pilgrimage, or Henro in Japanese, is a pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist saint Kukai. It has a history dating back over 1,200 years. The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot, and the 1,200-kilometre path takes about 40 days.

Shikoku Pilgrims, known as ohenro-san, undertake the journey around Shikoku island to atone for sins, to pray for health and success, in pursuit of enlightenment, and to experience the mysteries of Japan’s least developed island. On their hats, they write characters reading dogyo ninin, expressing their faith that Kukai is walking with them.

Some of the best walking trails in Shikoku are on the pilgrimage route. Of course you don’t have to walk the whole thing, nor do you have to worship at temples. The Henro is just one of many unique cultural aspects that makes Shikoku a special adventure destination within Japan.