previousnextWhat follows are my diary entries as I walked the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage…
Sep 30, 2013
Obviously I’ve lost my marbles… A week from today I will be starting the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage, a 1200km walk around the island of Shikoku in Japan, visiting as the name suggests… 88 temples. I will be joined by Dave, the guy I met on the coast to coast, and the only other person crazy enough to attempt this with me… I say attempt as we will be camping and carrying all our gear, fighting off wild boars, poisonous snakes and 20cm long venomous centipedes.
(There should hopefully be some sushi, sake and karaoke in the mix as well).
I keep asking myself why I’m walking again, haven’t I suspended reality for long enough? Shouldn’t I be working or studying, figuring out what to do with my life and where to live? And why didn’t the answers come to me on the camino?
And then I found this quote on a blog (http://henro2009.wordpress.com/) and fell in love with the Bohemian-Austrian poet, Rainer Maria Rilke:
“You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you… to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) from Letters to a Young Poet
Ok, so I’m not that young anymore, but I still like it!
Temple 1 here I come!
It’s so interesting to find out that you were inspired by the same Henro2009 blog! I used your handy free lodgings guide while I was completing it this summer. Thanks for being so thorough!
So glad it was useful 🙂
I’ve just finished reading your entire 88 temples blog – all I can say is WOW!
So inspiring and motivating!
My husband and I did the Camino Frances this year, since returning all we can talk about is going back to do another walk. I was on the Camino forum and came across a member sharing your link.
A Japanese friend we made on the Camino had suggested the Shikoku temple pilgrimage but until reading your blog we hadn’t seriously considered it. Now it’s definitely something we will attempt.
For non Japanese speaking pilgrims, how difficult would it be? I think that could be our biggest challenge.
Thank you for including so much detail and all the costs.
We live in Melbourne so our airfares at least will be minimal!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Nick, looks like you’ve got the bug too 😉
As for Japanese, if you can learn hiragana and katakana before you go (2 of the 3 alphabets), then you would be able to read and understand most menus in restaurants/shops etc… But if you’re not fussy with what you’re eating you’ll be fine without speaking Japanese 🙂 it might be worth asking your accommodation each night to call ahead and book for you the following night’s accommodation just so you know you have somewhere to stay (unless camping or staying in the huts). I met 4 Dutch people and various other foreigners on the trail when I was out there and they didn’t speak Japanese and were eating and finding places to stay so I think you’ll be fine 🙂 ask away if you have any questions, happy to help.
I’ve just discovered the Shikoku forum which I’ve been devouring.
I don’t eat meat – do you think I’d find enough veggie and fish dishes.
I’m sure I’ll have more questions as time goes on. We don’t anticipate doing the walk until at least 2017.
Where are you going next? We are in the process of thinking about next year – so many choices, we’re very lucky
We are actually doing the walk in September and October. I noted that you started in Oct and it was still hot and humid. Any tips on walking in such heat and humidity? Just start early and drink water?
Also, I note that you have camped a few days, we are not planning to take a tent or to camp out (but will look to stay in Henro huts and temple accomodation). Can you walk this pilgrimage without camping? E.g is there accomodation available throughout? Is it required to use a tent in the huts / temple accomodation?
Thank you very much for your help!
It was quite unseasonal to have such wet and humid weather but if you were to experience the same, then yes, definitely keep up your fluids and pack a rain jacket / poncho.
I started the walk with a friend and we were sharing a tent but he had to leave half-way so I continued without the tent and it wasn’t a problem because I still had a mattress and sleeping bag to stay on the benches/ground in the henro huts and on the tatami floors in the free temple accommodation – there’s a few pics of the huts on my blog for you to get an idea what you’d be sleeping in. It would have been fine to do the whole pilgrimage without a tent, but carrying one gives you more flexibility on where you can stay without having to walk long distances from one hut to the next.
There are also plenty of minshuku’s, ryokans and business hotels to stay in.
I hope you have a great time!