The Shikoku Ohenro Pilgrimage
Pilgrims have walked along the beautiful Shikoku Ohenro Pilgrimage for over a thousand years. This spiritual circuit stretches more than 1,200 kilometers and passes 88 temples (you can hike a shorter section — you don’t have to complete the entire journey). Completing the loop takes you through the four prefectures of Shikoku: Tokushima, Kochi, Ehime, and Kagawa. The revered monk Kobo Daishi (774–835) founded many of the temples along the route and is considered the spiritual father of the pilgrimage. Even now, pilgrims, called henro in Japanese, wear special clothing marked with the characters for dogyo ninin, meaning “two traveling together,” the second traveler being the spirit of Kobo Daishi. Henro are treated with great reverence in Shikoku as they journey on their way to enlightenment.
Discover Shikoku helps travelers incorporate part of the pilgrimage into their travel plans by booking accommodation and providing transport and outfitting. Hiking a part of the pilgrimage lets you into a world of tradition and ritual, from wearing the white pilgrim’s robes to practicing the centuries-old tradition of osettai, or hospitality towards pilgrims along the route. It’s an enchanting experience that merges nature with spirituality and allows visitors access to a very different side of Japan.