Walk Japan. Walk Shikoku
Walk Japan is a very interesting company and I think a great way to get your first Shikoku Pilgrimage experience in Japan. While a lot of people, when talking about the experience, say that they are “all in”, as in planning to walk for two months around Shikoku, are really impressive there is a huge majority of people who just cannot dedicate that kind of time and energy.
But… they would still LOVE to have a pilgrimage experience. But… the worry they can’t walk so long, or get away from their home and work for such a long time, and are not sure it is a thing they want to spend so much energy doing. They need an experience, but they are not ready for “the whole meal deal”.
Very reasonable, and very sensible. And very much within the contexts of what the Shikoku Pilgrimage can be all about. Most pilgrims (ohenro) walk the pilgrimage at their own pace, their own speed, and complete it (or not) in their own good time. This is the most sensible and natural thing in the world.
There are no “obligations”. You can try the pilgrimage for a couple days, a weekend, or even for a single afternoon. Why not? If you like it you can do more, and if you discover that you would rather explore other parts of Japan instead you should be free to do that too.
And you are.
Walk Japan offers immersion experiences, guided and self-guided, for a range of reasonable budgets. I had a chance to meet Paul Christie, Walk Japan CEO, on his visit to Takamatsu and I immediately liked him. Not a “sales guy”, not a pushy blabber mouth, but just kind and cheerful, with a ton of incredible information and insight.
I like Paul because he “got it” right away about what the nature of visiting Japan is about. People want to experience Japan, see cool things, try new things, get information about things, have their questions answered, and not feel pushed or pulled along the way. What you see on the Walk Japan site are images that are taken by regular cameras by regular people. What you see there will be what you see when you come for yourself. I like that approach a lot. It is respectful to the visitors who come, and is balanced and sensible.
I want to note for you here that this plug for Walk Japan is completely without their knowing. I don’t receive anything from the company for plugging their cool site, or recommending them to you. If Paul sees this blog he is very welcome to come back to Takamatsu for a visit and I hope we can just have lunch together and continue our very interesting conversation. That would be great.
But in the meantime, if you are looking and thinking about a pilgrimage experience I cannot recommend these guys enough. Check them out, send them an email, and see if you can connect with them.
Travel safe. Travel well.