The Shikoku Pilgrimage

A pilgrimage to reconsider one’s own life as you walk the path of the Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi

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Following in the footsteps of Kobo Daishi, this is a pilgrimage of the 88 temples on the island of Shikoku. It brings an endless number of people from all over the nation wanting to rid themselves of the 88 sins (a concept of Buddhism) and contemplate on their lives.
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126 Oasachobando, Naruto-shi, Tokushima

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The pilgrimage involves a tour ringing around Shikoku of 88 temples that Kobo Daishi opened as part of his religious duty. The journey from the 1st to the 88th temple involves a trek of 1400km. It is said that 1200 years ago, Kobo Daishi opened holy sites on Shikoku to rid the people of calamities, after which his disciples undertook the pilgrimage of these 88 temples. People from all over Japan, regardless of gender, age or religion come to visit the temples as pilgrims in the hopes that if they walk in the steps of the great monk they will be fortunate enough to receive miraculous virtue. Humans deal with 88 sins and it is said that visiting these 88 temples will rid them of these sins and grant them their wishes. As well, there is the custom of worshiping nature gods since the ancient times in Japan, and especially the phenomenon of worshiping objects such as mountains, seas and forests in the remote areas. The Shikoku pilgrimage continues to attract people where you can journey through the sites as you feel the harshness and kindness of nature, the trials of Buddhism, and the warmth of humanity. It’s popular with people in their 60s and 70s, but right now, the number of young people and foreign visitors undertaking the pilgrimage is growing as they try to reconsider their own lives. To undergo the whole pilgrimage is best but since the rigors of the trip will take time, physical stamina and financial costs, you can easily participate in the trip through methods such as bus tours through the 88 temples, something that is often accomplished by many pilgrims. Among these tours, there is one that goes through the 23 temples within Tokushima Prefecture. Starting with the first temple of Ryozen-ji Temple in Tokushima, it is also considered the starting point for the pilgrims to prepare themselves for the journey ahead.

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