- Location: Located around the island of Shikoku in Japan.
- Attraction Type: Pilgrimage Route.
- Significance: It is the most famous pilgrimage route in Japan that covers 88 temples in a 1,200 km circuit.
- Best time to Visit: April and October.
- How to Reach: The city of Naruto is the starting point of the pilgrimage. You can take a bus from the Kansai International Airport. Drop at Highway Naruto and reach Naruto railroad station by foot. Then take a train to reach Bando station. This station is pretty close to the Ryozenji temple.
- Nearest Airport: Kansai International Airport (KIX).
If you are the one who loves to learn various religions of the world, if you are the one who loves to explore various religious places throughout the world, and if you are the one who doesn’t mind traveling a lot for all these, then 88 Temple Pilgrimage would just be for you. The most famous pilgrimage route in Japan, 88 Temple Pilgrimage is a 1,200 km circuit around the Shikoku island where you cover 88 temples and also have the option to cover 20 more unnumbered temples, most of which were founded or restored by the monk Kukai, popularly known as Kobo Daishi. Though traditionally this pilgrimage is completed on foot, but modern-day pilgrims also use cars, bicycles, motorcycles, taxis and buses to cover their destinations. If covered on foot, it may take 30 to 60 days to complete the whole journey.
Pilgrims of 88 Temple Pilgrimage or Shikoku Pilgrimage, known as o-henro-san in Japanese, go for the tour wearing a white jacket emblazoned with the characters Dogyo Ninin. Sedge hats and walking sticks are also essential parts of their dresses. Traditionally the journey starts and completes at Mount Koya in Wakayama Prefecture. It is not necessary to complete your journey in a given order; rather you can cover all temples in reverse order as well.
In 88 Temple Pilgrimage, you will cover the following 88 temples:
For accommodation, you can stay at the temples, which provide lodging facilities for the pilgrims. However, it can be quite expensive. Those who don’t want to spend too much money, can stay at the henro houses. These are the houses owned by the locals, which they give on rent to the pilgrims. You can also go for wild camping, called nojuku in Japanese. This is spending the night anywhere as you wish without paying any charges. However, you should seek the advice and permission of the authority for your safety.