The Shikoku Pilgrimage is a circular shaped pilgrimage visiting temples and sacred sites where Kukai known as Kobo Daishi are believed to have trained around the 9th century. The island of Shikoku has a beautiful coastline, splendid scenery from the hills and mountains. Shikoku is known as the 88 temple trails. The route is 1.200 km covering most of the coast line. It is a very long hike if a person should do it in one time it will take anywhere from 6-8 weeks. Many break it up in a few years or span it through their lifetime.
Best starting point will be Ryozen-ji in Naruto. Either March-May or September through October is the most popular time. Best for the foliage and the blossoming seasonal flowers.
First purchase your white outfits, wear them over your own clothing if you wish, stamp book and name slips to use to drop off at various temples. Walking stick is a must and sedge hat, now you are a perfect HENROSAN. After you get all the items and get set up you are on your way starting off the second day.
Second temple would be Gokurakuji, then Konsenji. With the book you purchased when stopping at each temple where the priest will stamp their famous stamps and hand write beautiful calligraphy. The fourth stop would be Dainichiji followed by Jizoji. Then there is Anrakuji followed by Jurakuji and finally Kumadanji and finish the second day. Find a place to stay with your sleeping bag. Each stop the temple priests will give out some drinks and treats to all.
The first encounter with steps would be the 333 steps up the mountain leading to Kirihataji. There are more to come but this is probably the longest and steepest.
Enjoy your Zen hiking and take in the beauty of the temples and the landscape of Shikoku Island.
If there should be a time besides the hike to the temples and wanting to visit other venues in Shikoku , you should visit the following spots. Ritsurin Garden, Matsuyama Castle,
Dogo Onsen ( which was the model for Anime Spirited Away ). There are many more, it’s up to you to explore more.