Shikoku Pilgrimage

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Pilgrims at Zentsū-ji, Temple 75 and the birthplace of Kōbō Daishi
An aruki-henro or walking pilgrim, marked out by his distinctive sedge hat, white shirt, and kongō-zue. The henro-michi route passes through the countryside and a number of cities.

The Shikoku Pilgrimage (四国遍路 Shikoku Henro?) or Shikoku Junrei (四国巡礼?) is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) on the island of Shikoku, Japan. A popular and distinctive feature of the island's cultural landscape, and with a long history, large numbers of pilgrims (known as henro (遍路?)) still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic, pious, and tourism-related purposes.[1]

In addition to the 88 "official" temples of the pilgrimage, there are over 200 bangai — temples not considered part of the official 88. To complete the pilgrimage, it is not necessary to visit the temples in order; in some cases it is even considered lucky[citation needed] to travel in reverse order. The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot, but modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles, or motorcycles. The walking course is approximately 1,200 km long and can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to complete. "Henro" (遍路?) is the Japanese word for pilgrim, and the inhabitants of Shikoku call the pilgrims o-henro-san (お遍路さん?), the o (?) being an honorific and the san (さん?) a title similar to "Mr." or "Mrs.". They are often recognizable by their white clothing, sedge hats, and kongō-tsue or walking sticks. Alms or osettai are frequently given. Many pilgrims begin and complete the journey by visiting Mount Kōya in Wakayama Prefecture, which was settled by Kūkai and remains the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. The 21 km walking trail up to Koya-san still exists, but most pilgrims use the train.

Attesting to the popularity of the Shikoku pilgrimage, from the eighteenth century a number of smaller imitative versions have been established.[2] These include a 150km circuit on the island of Shōdoshima, northeast of Takamatsu;[3] a 3km course on the grounds of Ninna-ji in Kyoto;[4] a route on the Chita Peninsula near Nagoya;[5] and circuits in Edo and Chiba Prefecture.[2]



Pilgrimages have played an important part in Japanese religious practice since at least the Heian period. Typically centred upon holy mountains, particular divinities, or charismatic individuals, they are usually to Buddhist sites although those to the shrines of Kumano and Ise are notable exceptions.[1][2]

Kōbō Daishi[edit]

Kūkai, born at Zentsū-ji (Temple 75) in 774, studied in China, and upon his return was influential in the promotion of esoteric Buddhism. He established the Shingon retreat of Kōya-san, was an active writer, undertook a programme of public works, and during visits to the island of his birth is popularly said to have established or visited many of its temples and to have carved many of their images. He is posthumously known as Kōbō Daishi.[6][7]


The legends and cult of Kōbō Daishi, such as the episode of Emon Saburō, were maintained and developed by the monks of Kōya-san who travelled to expound Shingon and were active, along with other hijiri, in Shikoku.[8] In the Edo period, the policy of tochi kinbaku (土地緊縛?) restricted and regulated the movement of ordinary people. Pilgrims were required to obtain travel permits, follow the main paths, and pass through localities within a certain time limit, with the book of temple stamps or nōkyō-chō helping to provide proof of passage.[9]



Shikoku literally means four provinces, those of Awa, Tosa, Iyo, and Sanuki, reorganised during the Meiji period into the Prefectures of Tokushima, Kōchi, Ehime, and Kagawa. The pilgrim's journey through these four provinces is likened to a symbolic path to enlightenment, with temples 1-23 representing the idea of awakening (発心 hosshin?), 24-39 austerity and discipline (修行 shugyō?), 40-65 attaining enlightenment (菩提 bodai?), and 66-88 entering nirvana (涅槃 nehan?).[10]


The pilgrim's traditional costume comprises a white shirt (白衣 oizuru?), conical Asian hat (すげ笠 suge-kasa?), and kongō-zue (金剛杖?). This may be supplemented by a wagesa (輪袈裟?). The henro also carries a bag (ずだ袋 zuda-bukuro?) containing name slips (納札 osame-fuda?), prayer beads (数珠 juzu?) (also known as nenju (念珠?)), a nōkyō-chō (納経帳?), incense sticks (線香 senkō?), and coins used as offerings (お賽銭 o-saisen?). The more religiously-minded henro may also carry a book of sutras (経本 kyōbon?) and go-eika (ご詠歌?) set with a bell.[11]


Upon arrival at each temple the henro washes before proceeding to the Hondō. After offering coins, incense, and the osame-fuda, the Heart Sutra (般若心経 Hannya Shingyō?) is chanted along with repetition of the Mantra of the main image (本尊 honzon?) and the Mantra of Light (光明真言 Kōmyō Shingon?). After kigan and ekō prayers, the henro proceeds to the Daishidō. Coins and a fuda are similarly offered, and again the Heart Sutra is chanted, along with repetition of the Gohōgō Mantra, namu-Daishi-henjō-kongō.[11]

The 88 Temples[edit]

map of the Shikoku Pilgrimage and the 88 temples

Collectively, the 88 temples are known as Shikoku Hachijūhakkasho (四国八十八箇所?) or simply the Hachijūhakkasho (八十八箇所?).

No.TempleHonzon (main image)City/Town/VillagePrefectureImage
1Ryōzen-ji (霊山寺)Shaka NyoraiNarutoTokushima PrefectureJikuwasan Ryozenji 01.JPG
2Gokuraku-ji (極楽寺)Amida NyoraiNarutoTokushima PrefectureNishozan-gokurakuji-main.JPG
3Konsen-ji (金泉寺)Shaka NyoraiItanoTokushima PrefectureKonsenji 01.JPG
4Dainichi-ji (大日寺)Dainichi NyoraiItanoTokushima PrefectureP4022426ー4番大日寺夫婦遍路.jpg
5Jizō-ji (地蔵寺)Enmei Jizō BosatsuItanoTokushima PrefectureMujinzan Jizoji 01.JPG
6Anraku-ji (安楽寺)Yakushi NyoraiKamiitaTokushima PrefectureOnsenzan-anrakuji-tahouto.JPG
7Jūraku-ji (十楽寺)Amida NyoraiAwaTokushima PrefectureP4022616ー7番十楽寺本堂.jpg
8Kumadani-ji (熊谷寺)Senjū KannonAwaTokushima PrefectureP4022665-8番 熊谷寺山門から本堂への石段.jpg
9Hōrin-ji (法輪寺)Shaka NyoraiAwaTokushima PrefectureShokakuzan Horinji 01.JPG
10Kirihata-ji (切幡寺)Senjū KannonAwaTokushima PrefectureKirihataji 03.JPG
11Fujii-dera (藤井寺)Yakushi NyoraiYoshinogawaTokushima PrefectureFujiizenji 02.JPG
12Shōsan-ji (焼山寺)Kokūzō BosatsuKamiyamaTokushima PrefectureShozanji 02.JPG
13Dainichi-ji (大日寺)Jūichimen KannonTokushimaTokushima PrefectureOgurizan Dainichiji 03.JPG
14Jōraku-ji (常楽寺)Miroku BosatsuTokushimaTokushima PrefectureSeijuzan Jorakuji 06.JPG
15Awa Kokubun-ji (阿波国分寺)Yakushi NyoraiTokushimaTokushima PrefectureAwa Kokubunji 12.JPG
16Kannon-ji (観音寺)Senjū KannonTokushimaTokushima PrefectureKanonji, Tokushima 02.JPG
17Ido-ji (井戸寺)Yakushi NyoraiTokushimaTokushima PrefectureIdoji Hondo.jpg
18Onzan-ji (恩山寺)Yakushi NyoraiKomatsushimaTokushima PrefectureOnzanji 06.JPG
19Tatsue-ji (立江寺)Jizō BosatsuKomatsushimaTokushima PrefectureTatueji 03.JPG
20Kakurin-ji (鶴林寺)Jizō BosatsuKatsuuraTokushima PrefectureRyojuzan Kakurinji 05.JPG
21Tairyūji (太竜寺)Kokūzō BosatsuAnanTokushima PrefectureTairyuji 05.JPG
22Byōdō-ji (平等寺)Yakushi NyoraiAnanTokushima PrefectureByodoji 03.JPG
23Yakuō-ji (薬王寺)Yakushi NyoraiMinamiTokushima PrefectureYakuoji 02.JPG
24Hotsumisaki-ji (最御崎寺)Kokūzō BosatsuMurotoKōchi PrefectureHotsumisakiji 02.JPG
25Shinshō-ji (津照寺)Jizō BosatsuMurotoKōchi PrefectureShinshoji 04.JPG
26Kongōchō-ji (金剛頂寺)Yakushi NyoraiMurotoKōchi PrefectureKongochoji,龍頭山金剛頂寺 大師堂(室戸市)、26番札所 高知県室戸市元崎山 DSCF7169.JPG
27Kōnomine-ji (神峰寺)Jūichimen KannonYasudaKōchi PrefectureKounomineji 05.JPG
28Dainichi-ji (大日寺)Dainichi NyoraiKōnanKōchi PrefectureHoukaisan Dainichiji 05.JPG
29Tosa Kokubun-ji (土佐国分寺)Senjū KannonNankokuKōchi PrefectureTosa Kokubunji 04.JPG
30Zenrakuji (善楽寺)Amida NyoraiKōchiKōchi PrefectureZenrakuji01s3872.jpg
31Chikurin-ji (竹林寺)Monju BosatsuKōchiKōchi PrefectureChikurinji Kochi31s3872.jpg
32Zenjibu-ji (禅師峰寺)Jūichimen KannonNankokuKōchi PrefectureZenjibuji 05.JPG
33Sekkei-ji (雪蹊寺)Yakushi NyoraiKōchiKōchi PrefectureSekkeiji 02.JPG
34Tanema-ji (種間寺)Yakushi NyoraiHarunoKōchi PrefectureTanemaji 03.JPG
35Kiyotaki-ji (清滝寺)Yakushi NyoraiTosaKōchi PrefectureIozan Kiyotakiji 05.JPG
36Shōryū-ji (青竜寺)Fudō MyōōTosaKōchi PrefectureShoryuji 03.JPG
37Iwamoto-ji (岩本寺)Five BuddhasShimantoKōchi PrefectureIwamotoji 02.JPG
38Kongōfuku-ji (金剛福寺)Senjū KannonTosashimizuKōchi PrefectureKongofukuji 05.JPG
39Enkō-ji (延光寺)Yakushi NyoraiSukumoKōchi PrefectureEnkouji 01.JPG
40Kanjizai-ji (観自在寺)Yakushi NyoraiAinanEhime PrefectureKanjizaiji 07.JPG
41Ryūkōji (竜光寺)Jūichimen KannonUwajimaEhime PrefectureInarizan Ryukoji 04.JPG
42Butsumoku-ji (佛木寺)Dainichi NyoraiUwajimaEhime PrefectureButsumokuji 03.JPG
43Meiseki-ji (明石寺)Senjū KannonSeiyoEhime PrefectureMeisekiji 01.JPG
44Daihō-ji (大宝寺)Jūichimen KannonKumakōgenEhime PrefectureSugozan Daihoji 03.JPG
45Iwaya-ji (岩屋寺)Fudō MyōōKumakōgenEhime PrefectureIwayadera temple.jpg
46Jōruri-ji (浄瑠璃寺)Yakushi NyoraiMatsuyamaEhime PrefectureIozan Joruriji 03.JPG
47Yasaka-ji (八坂寺)Amida NyoraiMatsuyamaEhime PrefectureYasakaji 03.JPG
48Sairin-ji (西林寺)Jūichimen KannonMatsuyamaEhime PrefectureSeiryuzan Sairinji 01.JPG
49Jōdo-ji (浄土寺)Shaka NyoraiMatsuyamaEhime PrefectureJodoji-matsuyama 01.JPG
50Hanta-ji (繁多寺)Yakushi NyoraiMatsuyamaEhime Prefecture50番繁多寺本堂P1010126.jpg
51Ishite-ji (石手寺)Yakushi NyoraiMatsuyamaEhime PrefectureIshiteji 05.JPG
52Taisan-ji (太山寺)Jūichimen KannonMatsuyamaEhime PrefectureRyuunzan Taisanji 06.JPG
53Enmyō-ji (円明寺)Amida NyoraiMatsuyamaEhime PrefectureEnmyoji 02.JPG
54Enmei-ji (延命寺)Fudō MyōōImabariEhime PrefectureChikamizan Enmeiji 04.JPG
55Nankōbō (南光坊)Daitsū-chishō ButsuImabariEhime PrefectureNankobo 01.JPG
56Taisan-ji (泰山寺)Jizō BosatsuImabariEhime PrefectureTaisanji 04.JPG
57Eifuku-ji (栄福寺)Amida NyoraiImabariEhime PrefectureEifukuji 03.JPG
58Senyū-ji (仙遊寺)Senjū KannonImabariEhime PrefectureSenyuji 03.JPG
59Iyo Kokubun-ji (伊予国分寺)Yakushi NyoraiImabariEhime PrefectureIyo Kokubunji 02.JPG
60Yokomine-ji (横峰寺)Dainichi NyoraiSaijōEhime PrefectureYokomineji 06.jpg
61Kōon-ji (香園寺)Dainichi NyoraiSaijōEhime PrefectureKoonji 02.JPG
62Hōju-ji (宝寿寺)Jūichimen KannonSaijōEhime PrefectureHojuji 01.JPG
63Kichijō-ji (吉祥寺)BishamontenSaijōEhime PrefectureMikkyozan Kichijoji 02.JPG
64Maegami-ji (前神寺)Amida NyoraiSaijōEhime PrefectureMaegamiji 03.JPG
65Sankaku-ji (三角寺)Jūichimen KannonShikokuchūōEhime PrefectureSankakuji 01.JPG
66Unpen-ji (雲辺寺)Senjū KannonMiyoshiTokushima PrefectureUnpenji 05.JPG
67Daikō-ji (大興寺)Yakushi NyoraiMitoyoKagawa PrefectureDaikoji 07.JPG
68Jinne-in (神恵院)Amida NyoraiKan'onjiKagawa PrefectureJinnein 03.JPG
69Kannon-ji (観音寺)Shō KannonKan'onjiKagawa PrefectureShippozan Kanonji 08.JPG
70Motoyama-ji (本山寺)Batō KannonMitoyoKagawa PrefectureMotoyamaJi,Kagawa-01.jpg
71Iyadani-ji (弥谷寺)Senjū KannonMitoyoKagawa PrefectureIyadaniji-hondou02.jpg
72Mandara-ji (曼荼羅寺)Dainichi NyoraiZentsūjiKagawa PrefectureGahaishizan Mandaraji 03.JPG
73Shusshakaji (出釈迦寺)Shaka NyoraiZentsūjiKagawa PrefectureShusshakaji 05.JPG
74Kōyama-ji (甲山寺)Yakushi NyoraiZentsūjiKagawa PrefectureKoyamaji 04.JPG
75Zentsū-ji (善通寺)Yakushi NyoraiZentsūjiKagawa PrefectureZentsu-ji in Zentsu-ji City Kagawa pref23s5s4500.jpg
76Konzō-ji (金倉寺)Yakushi NyoraiZentsūjiKagawa PrefectureKonzoji 03.JPG
77Dōryū-ji (道隆寺)Yakushi NyoraiTadotsuKagawa PrefectureDoryuji 04.JPG
78Gōshō-ji (郷照寺)Amida NyoraiUtazuKagawa PrefectureGoshoji 04.JPG
79Tennō-ji (天皇寺)Jūichimen KannonSakaideKagawa PrefectureTennoji Koshoin 02.JPG
80Sanuki Kokubun-ji (讃岐国分寺)Jūichimen & Senjū KannonTakamatsuKagawa PrefectureSanuki Kokubunji 05.JPG
81Shiromine-ji (白峯寺)Senjū KannonSakaideKagawa PrefectureShiromineji 09.JPG
82Negoro-ji (根香寺)Senjū KannonTakamatsuKagawa PrefectureAominezan Negoroji 03.JPG
83Ichinomiya-ji (一宮寺)Shō KannonTakamatsuKagawa PrefectureIchinomiyaji 03.JPG
84Yashima-ji (屋島寺)Jūichimen & Senjū KannonTakamatsuKagawa PrefectureYashimaji 06.JPG
85Yakuri-ji (八栗寺)Shō KannonTakamatsuKagawa PrefectureYakuriji 01.JPG
86Shido-ji (志度寺)Jūichimen KannonSanukiKagawa PrefectureShidoji 01.JPG
87Nagao-ji (長尾寺)Shō KannonSanukiKagawa PrefectureNagaoji 04.JPG
88Ōkubo-ji (大窪寺)Yakushi NyoraiSanukiKagawa PrefectureOkuboji 07.JPG

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Reader, Ian (1999). "34. Legends, Miracles and Faith in Kōbō Daishi and the Shikoku Pilgrimage". In Tanabe, George J. Religions of Japan in Practice. Princeton University Press. pp. 360–9. ISBN 0-691-05789-3. 
  2. ^ a b c Kitagawa, Joseph M. (1987). On Understanding Japanese Religion. Princeton University Press. pp. 127–136. ISBN 0-691-10229-5. 
  3. ^ "Shodoshima Guide Book". Organization for the Promotion of Tourism in Shikoku. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Hachijūhakkasho". Ninna-ji. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Chita Hachijūhakkasho". Chita 88. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Hakeda, Yoshito S. (1972). Kūkai: Major Works. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-05933-7. 
  7. ^ Miyazaki, Tateki (2004). Shikoku henro hitori aruki dōgyō-ninin. Matsuyama. 
  8. ^ Reader, Ian (2005). Making Pilgrimages: Meaning and Practice in Shikoku. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 42ff. ISBN 978-0-8248-2907-0. 
  9. ^ Kouamé, Nathalie (1997). "Shikoku's Local Authorities and Henro during the Golden Age of the Pilgrimage". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies (Nanzan University). 24 (3/4): 413–425. 
  10. ^ Reader, Ian (2005). Making Pilgrimages: Meaning and Practice in Shikoku. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 52f. ISBN 978-0-8248-2907-0. 
  11. ^ a b Miyata, Taisen (2006). The 88 Temples of Shikoku Island, Japan. Koyasan Buddhist Temple, Los Angeles. pp. 15–18. 

Further reading[edit]

Books written in English about the Shikoku Pilgrimage:

External links[edit]