Chichibu 34 Kannon Temple Circuit
Saitama Prefectural Government
The Chichibu pilgrimage in Saitama Prefecture is one of three circuits of the famous Japan 100 Kannon Pilgrimage. Unlike the other routes — Bando in western Japan and Saigoku in the east — which each have 33 temples, it includes an extra temple granted to the city during the 16th century.
Though a religious tradition, the Chichibu pilgrimage is one of historical significance and a beautiful hiking route that anyone can enjoy. Its 34 temples dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion, are believed to date back to the early 13th century. The temples on the Chichibu pilgrimage are known as fudasho, meaning “place of wooden nameplates,” as in the past pilgrims would nail wooden placards to the sides of temples to mark their visits.
A relatively short pilgrimage of 100 kilometers, the Chichibu circuit became particularly popular with visitors from nearby Edo (present-day Tokyo) during the 17th century. Today, visitors can still take the Edo Pilgrimage Road, the route once followed by pilgrims from Edo during the Edo Period (1603-1868).
The temples can be visited in order from 1-34, or in any order that suits you. Shimabu Temple is officially the first temple on the pilgrimage. It is 30 minutes by bus from Seibu Chichibu Station.
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