The Pilgrimage Part I


I started walking the Eighty-Eight Temple Pilgrimage around the island of Shikoku in

the middle of April, 2003. It covers a total of about 700 miles and I hope to do the

entire course on foot and by bike over the next year or two.



The Course

Shikoku is the fourth of Japan's four major islands, and is less

than half the size of West Virginia.



The Great Teacher

The pilgrimage was originally started 1200 years ago by the

famous Buddhist priest Kobo Daishi, who brought esoteric

Buddhism to Japan from China.



The Pilgrims

Pilgrims in traditional dress stop at each temple and chant prayers.



Stamp Book

In every temple there is a priest who will put a stamp in your book,

certifying that you have been there.




Every year about 100,000 people do the pilgrimage, most by bus or car.



Biker Pilgrim

Younger pilgrims can be seen on bicycles and motorcycles. This

young man  was proud to have his picture taken with his motorcycle.



On Foot

A hearty 1000 people each year walk the entire 700 miles.



Family Affair

Most pilgrims are retired. These two tagged along with grandmother

and grandfather for the trip.



Alternate Life Style

Some devout Buddhists make a life of the pilgrimage. In any

other society they might be considered homeless.



Into the Wilderness

After two days I had visited 11 of the 88 temples, but covered only

about 25 of the 700 miles. The course from here headed into the

mountains for two days of serious hiking.