Shikoku Henro-michi Pilgrimage Trail: 1200 years old and 1200 kilometres long
Following on from the Tohoku Basho walk, we headed south to Shikoku island to walk selected highlight sections of the famous Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail, which circumnavigates Shikoku, least visited and smallest of Japan’s four main islands.
Starting in Tokushima, with some trepidation due to the trail’s reputation, we set off. We loved it! The long trail covers many different landscapes in Shikoku, from flat valley road walking through rice paddies and villages, to mountain forests. It was varied, interesting, beautiful and best of all, a true pilgrimage. The atmosphere of the ancient temples on top of sacred mountains was unmistakeably spiritual – we felt the serenity!
The Japanese Henro pilgrims wear white robes which will become blessed once they complete the 88 temple circuit – and they will use these as their funeral robes.
Trail-markers come in different forms on Shikoku: