Hard Copy of Your Pilgrimage in Japan

Amazon is a speedy machine. I had put out the notice that the Kindle version was ready to go and when I woke up this morning I got the notice that the hard copy version is now also available.

I can’t describe how excited I am that this book is out there. I have written books before, and make a bunch of textbooks/homework books for our English student. But this one is a special book. It is one that I hope will serve as an inspiration to whet the appetite of people who are all over the world and thinking of doing something for their lives that may help them get “on a better path”.

Of course, no vacation or long walk through the woods and through temples will solve all your problems. But time away from the noise of things that drag you down, a bit of a disconnect from the white sound of television and media, and a chance to learn and explore the glorious Shikoku Pilgrimage may do one’s soul good.

So, if you are interested please get yourself a copy of the book. Available through fine internet connections everywhere:


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Party on Paul! Rocking the Ohenro

I must confess, sometimes I am not so reverent. I like this more than just a little.


Indeed there are some that approach each thing on the Ohenro Trail in trepidation and much quaking. But Paul Kumisaki might have a different idea. We all walk in our own way, I suppose. You can walk the path as you like, but sometimes you just gotta fight for your right to be a pilgrim.

Rock on Paul.

Calm Pilgrimage Video

I’m constantly on the look out for new quality video taken of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Some is really highly produced and carefully choreographed, and that can be great. But this video is very nice in the calmness and simplicity of its creation and production.

Check it out:

Some of the drone photography is simply superb.

Gareth Leonard in Shikoku!

A rather substantial and influential Youtube creator, Gareth Leonard, comes to Shikoku. At the behest of the Shikoku Tourism Board, Gareth puts together a series of pretty impressive videos to promote and show off the splendours of Shikoku.

I love the open-mindedness of Gareth, the desire and enthusiasm to learn and explore, and the pure enjoyment of the moment. I loved very much that he stated from the beginning of his videos that although he had greatly enjoyed the Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto experience of his first time in Japan, there was some “unfinished business”. That would be Shikoku!

Check out the above video, and the other two that make up Gareth’s Shikoku adventure.


Giving Advice to Ohenro

… I am not a number… I am a FREE MAN!

Hello and welcome from sunny Takamatsu! The weather is still a little warm, but summer seems to be lessening its grip. The evenings are cooling down, and my dogs don’t seem too much to walk outside as much as before. Autumn really is my favourite season. It is divine. And if you are considering coming to Japan for the walk of your life around Shikoku, THIS is the season to do it. Autumn just goes on forever, and when the typhoons have settled down for the duration, you have some of the greatest outdoor walking experiences of your life.

A few things have changed for me personally this year. The first is that I turned 50. I can’t believe it myself as I still sometimes feel like a junior high school student, and sometimes I feel like I really don’t know so much, or that I should have studied or tried more up until now. But the other side of being 50 is that I am on the cusp of being “respectable” or “seasoned” or “grizzled” or something like that… It’s a blast, and it’s a riot. But I feel good, and I am grateful for health and a sense of humour relatively intact.

Maybe there is something about being half a century that I am finding that “my advice” is sought out, and much more so than I expected, or particularly enjoy. It’s a new thing, and I do not particularly think I have much “advice” to give anyone, about anything. But life does seem to kick you down the road where you need to be sometimes.

At my half-century mark, I am a boss of a company my wife and I created. We run language schools and serve universities, high schools, junior highs, elementary schools, and daycares. I love it. I love our work, our team, our students, and every time I sit with kids and make them laugh while encouraging them, and revealing to them, how smart they really are.

In the past I’ve been a university professor (in another life), a teacher, a counsellor for street kids, a guide, a coach, a karate sensei, a writer, and a terrible guitar player. I’ve had a lot of hats on my balding head, but I never thought that I wore them to become “authoritative” or an “expert”. I still feel like I am flailing about in all my interests and professions. I’m still learning. I’m still “tripping up the stairs”.

I don’t think that this is particularly “modest”. I am just basically not a master at so many different things. But I have fun as I go along, stubbornly.

And maybe there is something in my half-century old spine that is still that teenager in the 1980’s that could not be told what to do. I have always rejected authority. I never like being told what to do and often ignore “sage counsel”. I have defied both church and state. I have “rocked the Casbah” and I might do it again.  I’m not an anarchist, but I’d rather die free than live in a cage. I rage against the machine, but now with dad jokes, mirth, and pint of beer.

So, as we are working on this Ohenro project with local business, government, and financial institutions, and there are various groups and interested individuals, who have proffered themselves as “experts” and “authority” on what newcomers to the experience of pilgrimage ought to know and ought to do and ought to feel. They clamber for adulation and spotlight. They bow their heads in mock obsequiousness, chant the “Heart Sutra” in public, yet backbite, make ultimatums, and gossip in private. They enter the room and it’s much more of a “waving about their flimsy credentials” than figuring out how together we can work best towards a common purpose. Honestly, it’s gross.

It’s a sad state sometimes when “politics” and jockeying for position distract us from the important task of making this incredible Shikoku Pilgrimage project something accessible, enjoyable, and meaningful for those who come to walk the miles. I don’t want to have my time and energy wasted in vain and frankly, vulgar, pursuits.

I’m too old to be baited out for public nonsense, but am still stubbornly set on trundling ahead, and just doing my job. And that job is to be of service to my fellow human creatures, unapologetically, unflinchingly, and to see whatever project I am in to completion. I cannot be deterred. There’s a lot of people out there who would love to learn more about this incredible thing in Shikoku. My job is to get to as many of them as possible.

So, if you are a soon-to-be, or already-here-in-Shikoku pilgrim, you are most heartily welcome here. You do not need to bow to authority. I don’t think that is what a pilgrimage of “self-discovery” and “self-exploration” is all about. You just may want to get on the road and find your own way. You don’t need to be told how to show respect, how to show kindness and gratitude, how to appreciate the culture and how to be a good person. I’ll bet that you already have a good handle on most of that. And if you don’t know yet, you’ll find out just fine, all by yourself.

And I’ll cheer for you! I always do.

If you need additional information to read or watch, please come out and check out our Facebook GROUP (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318545221639576/) or our Facebook PAGE (https://www.facebook.com/Shikoku-Pilgrimage-Your-Spiritual-Journey-in-Deep-Japan-101681104549470). I would love to hear your experiences, see your photos, enjoy your videos, and learn from you.

Because isn’t that we ought to be doing anyway, learning from one another?

Your comments are most welcome, and feel free to email me if you are so inspired:


Thanks for listening to me rant a little here.

Travel safe and travel well dear pilgrims.


Oliver Dunskus: For Germany with Ohenro Love

If you are German, or can read the language, and are interested in the adventure of a lifetime, you might consider reading a book by Oliver Dunskus “Die 88 Tempel von Shikoku: Ein Reiseführer für Pilger – Ausgabe 2019″. Here are links for the book and for the author (He has also written about Wes Montgomery! How cool!)



The number of pilgrims coming to Shikoku is beginning to increase. And there is perhaps a little anxiety on both sides of the equation. Incoming travellers may have a lot of questions about what to do, how to do it, how to travel, how to be a good pilgrim, where to stay, what is ok and what is not? And on the Japanese side of the question, locals throughout Shikoku may be concerned about an increase of non-Japanese people coming through their neighbourhoods and communities.

It is reasonable to say that both sides have concerns. But as with so many other things, information and education can solve a lot of these worries. I want to thank Oliver for putting out his book to make things clearer, and helpful for German visitors (hopefully for English speaking visitors too as a possible translation is coming…). It’s a great service, so if you can read the language, please check it out.

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Walk Japan

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.


Truly Excellent Pilgrimage Video for Youtube

You must check this out. The video quality is simply stunning. Youtube creator, Evaldas Karalius, makes this marvellous video (called the “short version”) of his astonishing trek through the temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

The music is so appropriate and calm throughout. The video is very natural and very much what you would see and do yourself when you come to Shikoku.

Evaldas captures some incredible moments with other pilgrims on the path, and some of the sounds and visuals are so impressive. I think that this is one of the absolute best videos I have see on the pilgrimage.

Not telling you what to do. Not giving you a lecture. Just showing. Just looking. Just being in the moment.

I’m deeply impressed.