The Pilgrimage Part III
After descending from the hills, the pilgrimage ran along the busy costal highway.
The Old Coast Road
It was often possible to get off of the highway and onto the old road,
which went through small coastal villages.
I hiked for three days with two pilgrims friends. David Moreton, on the
left, is a teacher at Bunri University in Tokushima and researches
pilgrimages. David Turkington, in the middle, maintains an extensive
site in English about the Shikoku Eighty-Eight Temple Pilgrimage at
After two days of riding, I arrived a the southernmost cape of the island
where the temple was shrouded in mist.
There are a set of rules that have been handed down over the generations
about how to behave on the pilgrimage. Among other things, pilgrims are
not to eat meat or consume alcohol. These two rules are routinely ignored.
Also, "inappropriate sex" is forbidden. If anything inappropriate was going
on during the pilgrimage, I certainly wasn't invited.
Lost and Found
As many of the pilgrims are advanced in age, they are forever forgetting
things. One person even left his denture on a bench in the temple grounds.
Some of the temples can be quite spectacular.
Tour of Kochi City
I met up with my long time friend Dr. Masahito Sakioka. Mieko came
down for the weekend and the Sakiokas showed us around the city.
This picture was taken in front of Kochi Castle.
Mieko visited one temple with me and said that was enough. I was left
to do the remaining eighty-seven on my own. We are seen here standing
in front of an abandoned youth center in a small fishing village. The youth
have apparently all gone off to the big cities.
Hot Spring Resort
We spent a night at a hot spring resort before heading back to Tokyo.
Mieko is seen here broiling bonito over an open flame. After a total of
eleven days, I had covered 100 miles on foot and 150 miles by bicycle.
I will be returning in the fall to continue my pilgrimage.