The Shikoku Pilgrimage on the island of the same name is one of the few circular pilgrimages in the world. At 1,200 kilometers in length, the trail includes 88 temples and passes through diverse countryside such as idyllic bamboo groves, deserted beaches and ordinary Japanese neighborhoods. There is a long tradition of pilgrimage in Japan, dating back at least to the time of the renowned monk, poet and philosopher Kobo Daishi (774-825) who is particularly associated with this trail. John Lander, long-time resident of Japan, author and photographer, has visited and recorded every temple in evocative images, as well as providing fascinating details about the origin of the trail and what the pilgrimage means to the thousands who undertake it every year. The pilgrimage is undertaken for many reasons – to have a time of reflection away from everyday life, as a spiritual journey or as a healing period after a traumatic life experience. Along the way, pilgrims will encounter ordinary Japanese people and learn to understand the custom of o-settai, or charitable giving.
Targeted Age Group: 18-75
Written by: John Lander
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