Get a real taste of Shikoku Henro in a short amount of timeAuthentic training pilgrimage

Take a tour, or a pilgrimage, of the 88 sacred sites in Shikoku that were the training sites for Kobo Daishi (Kukai). In addition to offering prayers, many people today go on this trip for health and healing. We will now introduce an authentic training-style Shikoku Henro (pilgrimage) experience where you can be totally immersed in the enjoyment of a pilgrimage even in a short amount of time.

If it’s your first pilgrimage, challenge yourself to try the most difficult site: Henro Korogashi!

A one-day walk that was taken by Kobo Daishi 1200 years ago

Most pilgrimages start at the first site, Ryozenji, but you can actually start wherever you like. In this tour, we recommend the path between Temple No. 11 Fujidera, and Temple No. 12 Shosanji. The hard-going hills and valleys on this 13km walk are the most difficult part of the pilgrimage. You will be fully immersed in the real meaning of training pilgrimages, which is to walk, so we recommend this course even for first-time pilgrims. While paved roads are on the increase today, this walk goes along precious ancient routes. This course offers a spiritual experience as you follow the path taken by Kobo Daishi 1200 years ago.

An elevation of 700m. The actual total elevation is even greater as there are many hills and valleys.

Henro Korogashi is a difficult site that makes pilgrims fall over. The path between No. 11 Fujidera and No. 12 Shosanji is said to be the most difficult part of the 88 temple pilgrimage.

The reception will touch your heart precisely because the journey is so difficult

On the mountain road that ascends from the very start, you can lose yourself in your thoughts, and just as you start to feel free, you should get a sense that unnecessary things are being removed from within you. The final ascent is particularly hard, which makes the sense of achievement at Shosanji even greater. Along the way, there are no restaurants or vending machines, although there are toilets next to rest areas, which you will be glad to make use of when you’re tired. Most of these rest areas are free to use as a sign of the hospitality of local people. The feeling of being welcomed in Shikoku will touch your tired body and mind.

This rest cabin is near Ryusui-an, which is a Buddhist temple exactly halfway along the course. It offers simple lodging.

The peak of the course offers amazing views. Although there are many hills and valleys, there are no dangerous places where you might fall.

You will feel a great sense of achievement and relief as you reach Shosanji.

Information on Fudasho (temples where amulets are collected)

Sacred Shikoku Temple No. 11 Fujidera, Mount Kongo, Ichijo-in

Main shrine:
Sakya Nyorai (Shakyamuni)
1525, Kamojima-cho, Iio, Yoshinogawa, Tokushima

Sacred Shikoku Temple No. 12 Shosanji, Mount Maro, Shoju-in

Main shrine:
Koku-zo-Bosatsu (Akasagarbha)
Jichu Shimobun, Kamiyama-cho, Myozai-gun, Tokushima

A pilgrim’s fashion item that you will want to take home No. 1 “White robe”

As white clothing represents the deceased, it used to be worn as a symbol of one’s willingness to give up one’s life during the pilgrimage. Pilgrims are free to wear what they choose, but, as a symbol of the pilgrimage, wearing a white robe will naturally stir your feelings.

Extraordinary accommodation and training experience Stay in the temple and help with the duties!

The sound of chanting from lots of people vibrating through the temple is an incredible experience

There are various types of lodging on the Shikoku 88 temple tour, but we recommend staying at a temple to get a real feeling for the pilgrimage. Temple lodging facilities are set up on the temple grounds for priests and pilgrims, and of the 88 temples about 15 have such facilities. As an example, let’s take a look at a lodging experience at temple No. 6, Anrakuji. In the extraordinary experience of staying at a temple, the absolute highlight is participating in training, which are called duties. At Anrakuji, it’s possible to participate in the evening duties, the highlight of which is the sutra chanting performed by the chief priest and the pilgrims called “o-henro san.”

In the main building at Anrakuji, your feelings will be stirred as you enter. The duties here include reciting the Heart Sutra and listening to Buddhist sermons.

Another highlight is talking to the other pilgrims

Staying in a temple is also part of the training, so the facilities are naturally much more simple than when staying in a hotel. Most have shared dining spaces, toilets and bathing facilities. Even so, recently, accommodation is becoming more comfortable, and the lodging at Anrakuji offers a Kobo Daishi-related hot spring, and all of the rooms offer air conditioning and televisions. Another unique benefit of temple lodging is the opportunity to talk and share information with other pilgrims, and Anrakuji offers a lounge for that purpose. Why not purify your heart by performing duties, and spend a night getting to know Kubo Daishi better in a temple lodging experience?

Temple lodging at the 400 year-old Anrakuji. Accommodation for up to 200 people is offered.

The clean rooms are equipped with televisions and air conditioners.

Kobo Daishi said that Anrakuji was a location of healing hot springs. After you are worn out from the pilgrimage, heal your tired body in the Daishi-related hot springs.

Information on Fudasho (temples where amulets are collected)

Sacred Shikoku Temple No. 6 Anrakuji, Rurikou-in, Onsenyama

Main shrine:
Yakushi Nyorai (Bhasajyaguru)
Accommodation fee:
7,200 yen per night (with two meals) (reservation required)
8, Hikino, Kamiita-cho, Itano-gun, Tokushima

A pilgrim’s fashion item that you will want to take home No. 2 “Bamboo hat”

It acts as a convenient umbrella for protection against the sun and rain. The rule is that the characters meaning Kobo Daishi in Sanskrit (as shown in the photograph) must be at the front. Although any other hats must be removed when visiting the temples, it is okay to keep on wearing the bamboo hat. However, it must be removed at the same places where shoes must also be taken off.

A wild training experience in the temple’s inner sanctuary!

Deep within the temple is a place called the “Oku-no-In” (inner sanctuary). It is a place deep within the main temple grounds where Buddhist images are enshrined on steep mountains. Here, we will introduce the inner sanctuaries of the 88 sacred sites where you can experience wild training. If you’re interested, please add it to your course!

Meditation under a waterfall in the sight of Acala No. 61 Koonji Inner Sanctuary “Shirotaki”

The inner sanctuary of No. 61 Temple Koonji is located among the mountains 2km from the main building, and “Shirotaki” flows about 200m from there. Here, you can experience meditation under a waterfall all year round, a type of training that purifies the mind and body as the waterfall flows on top of you.
While the statue of Acala accompanied by two boys keeps strict watch from the top of the waterfall, this training experience will lift your spirit. It is a popular spot for waterfall meditation that has a high water volume and a cabin for changing one’s clothes.

Information on Fudasho (temples where amulets are collected)

Sacred Shikoku Temple 61 Koonji, Kyooin, Mount Sendan

Main shrine:
Dainichi Nyorai
19 Komatsu-cho Minamigawa, Saijo-shi, Ehime

The peak where Daishi trained No. 45 Iwayaji Inner Sanctuary “Hakusan-gyoba”

No. 45, Iwayaji, located in rugged mountains, is the site of several training grounds of Kobo Daishi. The highest of these is Hakuzan Gyoba, which is located about 300m up a mountain road behind the daishi-do (Great Teacher’s Hall). Opening the gate with a key borrowed from the location where contributions are made, a great rock divided into two towers up in front of you. After climbing some rocks using ropes and chains, and ascending the wooden ladder, Hakusan Gongen is enshrined at the pointed, precipitous peak. This is a valuable part of Kobo Daishi’s difficult training, but if you miss your footing it could lead to a serious accident. Please be careful and reasonable if you go to the top.

Information on Fudasho (emples where amulets are collected)

Sacred Shikoku Temple No. 45 Iwayaji, Mount Kaigan

Main shrine:
Fudo Myo-O (Acala)
1468 Nanatori, Kumakogen-cho, Kamiukena-gun, Ehime
Ehime Hakusan Gyoba Climbing Fee (including votive card):
300 yen

A pilgrim’s fashion item that you will want to take home No. 3 “Pilgrim’s bag”

A pilgrim’s bag, sometimes called a “zuda-bukuro” (carrry-all bag”) is used to carry the items needed when visiting temples, including the book of sutras, book of stamps, candles and incense sticks. Formally, it is worn diagonally across the body. It can also be used as a bag, so it is a valuable item to take home.

Browse basic information and guide maps for the Shikoku pilgrimage of 88 tempes at TOURISM SHIKOKU.

Tokushima Awaodori Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

75 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 4※

Takamatsu Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

80 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 6※

Matsuyama Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

95 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 6※

Nagoya Chubu Airport

70 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 3※

Osaka International Airport

55 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 9※

Kochi Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

90 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 5※

Osaka International Airport

45 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 6※

*Information correct as of December 18 2015

Details correct as of end of November, 2015.