Planning for the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage

四国八十八ヶ所

What is the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage?
What do pilgrim’s wear and carry?
Flora and Fauna (or things to watch out for!)
Japanese Signs and their translations
Pilgrim accommodation
List of the 88 Temples in English and Japanese
Glossary
Getting to Shikoku and Sim card / phone rental

 

Blogging from the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage

Gear List

Expenses – How much did it actually cost?

Elevation Profiles

Video Gallery

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16 responses to “Planning for the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage

  1. Thank you .. arigato gozaimasu for the wonderful blog. I walked henro in 2013 spring and will walk again in Spring 2015 March to may. Your words and feelings brought back many wonderful memories.

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  2. HI, good to find your blog. I walked part of the henro trail as part of an improvised 30-day walk through Shikoku in 2008. I’m finally getting around to blogging about it pretty soon & without my journals (they’re in America, I’m in Brisbane – long story) was having a hard time matching pictures to temples. Your words & beautiful pictures have proven immensely useful – and are also tempting me to head back to do it properly, which has been eating at me off on ever since!

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  3. This sounds amazing, I walked the Camino Frances in 2014 and also visited Japan later in the year as a tourist. I’m wondering what a journey like this costs roughly and maybe a comparison to the Camino daily costs so I can gage approximately how much i may need to save 🙂

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  4. Hello 😊
    I want to do the 88 temples .. But there are some few things I need to know before I do it and I can’t find it on line..
    I hope you can help me.
    1) is there always a place to sleep in the end of the day or I can get stacked outside with ought a place to sleep..?
    2)do I need to take a food with me every day or that there are a place to eat in the way?
    3)how much money more or less I need if I want to do all the way?
    4)if I don’t know japanis can I travail on my own?
    5) is it safe for a women to do the trail on her own?
    6) are there’s marks on the way? Is it easy to walk?
    Thanks!

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    • Hi Racheli,
      These are definitely great questions! Have a look at the following links as these should answer your questions:
      1. Where to sleep: https://followingthearrows.com/2014/09/22/pilgrim-accommodation/
      2. Food – this will depend on the day, if you buy the “Shikoku Japan 88 Route Guide” the maps show you where there is a convenience store or restaurant so you can prepare each day. There were a few days where I needed to carry food for that day, but no longer than one day at at time.
      3. How much money: https://followingthearrows.com/2014/12/07/expenses-how-much-did-it-actually-cost/
      4. Travelling on your own in Japan – I’ve lived and traveled on my own in Japan with no problems and I know lots of other women who have to, I consider Japan an incredibly safe place but you have to always trust your instincts when traveling.
      5. Is it safe for women – I started with a friend and he left after a few weeks so I walked most of the Shikoku Pilgrimage by myself – my one fear was sleeping in the huts by myself but to be honest I was more scared of the mamushi (venomous) snakes and mukade (dangerous centipedes) than humans.
      6. The markings were generally very good as are the maps in the guidebook – I had a GPS with me but I don’t think it’s necessary.

      I hope this helps. Have a wonderful time!

      Kat

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  5. Thank you for such a detail & informative blog. We will be following your advice closely. We plan to commence mid August until end of November to do the pilgrimage. Could you please advise how heavy you pack was & if during your travels was there any free wifi available like they have in South America in the Plazas or cafes. In your gear list there is no tent listed but we noticed tents in your photo gallery is it necessary to take a tent. Thanks again for your inspiring blog. Karry & Mark

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    • Hi Karry & Mark,
      Mid-August & Sept will be quite hot & humid (it was still very humid when I started at the beginning of October), just as long as you’re aware of this 🙂 Wifi was very sporadic along the trail, the only places I really found it were from some convenience stores so I would often sit outside them trying to check emails / weather forecasts etc. 7-11 convenience stores, Starbucks & McDonalds all have free wifi but after Tokushima they all but disappear.
      My pack was probably around 15kg but I could definitely go lighter if I was to walk it again. Depending on what type of accommodation you’re planning to stay in, you may or may not need a sleeping bag & mat. Wet weather gear is a must and if starting in August it will be very hot, but finishing late November will be cold so you’ll need a good layering system of clothes.
      I started the trail with a friend who brought a tent with him and we stayed in this as much as possible (to save on costs), but he had an injury and had to leave and my pack was too small to carry the tent so I started staying in the free/cheap accommodation. You definitely don’t need a tent as there is accommodation all the way but it depends on your budget.
      I hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any other questions.
      Kat

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    • Hi Alexandre,
      I met a few people who were walking at the same time I was and they didn’t speak Japanese but were getting around just fine and I’ve since spoken to others who’ve also walked it without knowing Japanese and again, were fine. If you’re planning to stay in accommodation, you can always ask the hosts to call ahead and book accommodation for you for a few days ahead (use google translate if they don’t understand!) or if you’re camping or staying in huts etc then you won’t be needing to use any Japanese. It will be a challenge, but as long as you’re up for a challenge, you’ll be fine 🙂

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  6. My husband and I will be walking this summer in July and August. We know it will be steamy hot… But that’s the time we have! Any advice for us?? We plan on camping at least half of the time.. Any idea on what night temps to expect? Your blog will certainly help along the way. Thanks!!

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    • Hi Licia,
      As long as you’re prepared for steamy hot, then you’ll be fine 🙂 maybe take with you electrolyte tablets (nuun etc) that you can add to water to keep hydrated because you’ll be sweating buckets. (I hiked in Oct/Nov but I lived in Tokyo for 7 years previously so I know hot hot/humid it is during summers in Japan but as for nighttime temps, it will depend on where you camp (by the beach, on top of a mountain etc) but I can’t imagine it getting much lower than 20C).
      Have a wonderful time, enjoy the Japanese hospitality and delicious food and email anytime if you have any questions.

      Kat

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  7. Hi Kat,
    Thank you for your feedback. I am planning for walking the trail from mid-sept to beginning nov (apprx 9 sept-4 nov, 54 days) this fall. I noticed that you walked at a quite high pace with few rest days. Any reason for that? Should I plan for extra days (ex: for weather)?

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    • Hi Alexandre,
      I was trying to walk on a budget so each day I would try to walk to a hut or the free/cheap accommodation, but sometimes they were few and far between so I walked long distances. I also lived in Japan and had the chance to visit Shikoku many times so I had seen most of the cities the trail passes through.
      My best advice would be to walk at your own pace and be open to all the wonderful experiences that will come your way 🙂

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