Japan |Multiple regions
The Ohenro is a pilgrimage that visits 88 holy Buddhist sites throughout Shikoku. The goal of the pilgrimage depends on the person. Aside from tourism, some pilgrims on the Ohenro pray for good fortune and love, while others are looking for self-discovery, health preservation or stress reduction. The Ohenro is a good opportunity to reflect and refocus on yourself.
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Approximately 1,200 years ago, the Buddhist monk Kukai consecrated sacred grounds in Shikoku to ward off misfortune. It was later reported that Kukai’s leading disciple toured the sacred grounds, which has in turn developed into the well-known pilgrimage of the present day.
Starting the pilgrimage in order from the first temple is called jun-uchi, while starting in reverse from the 88th temple is called gyaku-uchi.
The total journey through all 88 temples is around 1,400 km. It takes an average of around 50 days to walk the entire pilgrimage. Some routes use buses and taxis, so you can pick a method which suits your schedule and level of fitness.
There are no set clothing requirements. However, the combination of a white hakue pilgrim’s coat to prepare yourself mentally, a wagesa stole for discipline, and a kongo-zue pilgrim’s staff that embodies Kukai is recommended.
Yakuoji Temple in Tokushima Prefecture holds a number of events where you can experience Buddhist teachings.
Ajikan meditation class (reservation required)
Ajikan is a Shingon Buddhism meditation practice where practitioners attempt to instill Buddha into their bodies, filling themselves with his essence.
Shakyo sutra copying class (reservation required)
Buddhist sutras are said to bestow favor just by being seen and heard. Keep the Buddha in mind with each character as you slowly copy out the sutras.
Shojin-ryori Buddhist cuisine (reservation required)
Buddhist monks are forbidden to consume meat, fish, and alcohol. Their food is plant-based and uses seasonal vegetables as raw ingredients. Why not give it a try?
Shukubo are lodgings that cater to pilgrims and worshippers.
Zentsuji Temple in Kagawa Prefecture, where Kukai was born, contains a Shukubo. Deepen your relationship with Kukai and relieve some of the tiredness from your journey.
Shukubo are within the temple grounds, and some rooms look out over the temple itself. By staying within part of the temple, you can feel the traditions and culture of Japan soaking into your skin.
Daishi-no-Satoyu Onsen is a large natural hot spring bath. Relax and stretch out in this generously proportioned bathing space.
Photos courtesy of: TABI NET SHIKOKU Co., Ltd., Yakuoji Temple, Zentsuji Temple
This information is current as of January 16, 2020 and may be subject to change without notice. For further details and the latest information, please inquire directly to the relevant establishments.