Every journey starts with a first step. So how can you get from where you are to Shikoku to experience this pilgrimage?
There are several ways to do this, so the first decision is for you to decide how long you would like to be on the pilgrim trail.
As mentioned here, and other sources, the pilgrim (ohenro) trail is as long or short as you like. The path is a zen circle around Shikoku and you can start and stop wherever you like. Many start at temple number one, Ryouzenji, and it is located in Tokushima prefecture here on Shikoku Island.
There are several options open to you.
Would you like to be a pilgrim for a day? How about this program (insert link-coming soon! I promise.)
Would you like to be a pilgrim for two-three days? How about this one (insert link)
Would you like to walk for five days to a week? (insert link)
Would you like to do the pilgrimage in four steps (Tokushima prefecture, Kochi prefecture, Ehime prefecture, Kagawa prefecture)? Click HERE
Would you like to do the whole pilgrimage in one go? (Click here). As you might know, the usual route by foot will take between six to eight weeks depending on your pace.
This option is very do-able, and a good way to travel around the whole of Shikoku, make enough time to enjoy each and every temple, and preserve your legs and feet so you won’t “suffer” as much as the walking pilgrims. JR Shikoku is an excellent way to see the land, the fields, the small towns and villages, and keep you in good spirits and shape as you can go at your own pace.
This is a great combination of rail travel and hiking. We have a travel agency that we like that can get everything arranged for you.
(insert information for JR Shikoku experience)
How about renting a car? This is very possible and a great way to just take control of your travel by yourself. You can have your lodging arranged through a travel agent, and we have some that we would recommend for you. You can decide what level of accommodations you would like to have, and are completely free to come and go as you like. We have been working with car rental companies who can provide navigation systems for the vehicle and continuous Wifi connectivity so you don’t have to worry about getting lost.
Traveling about by car over a two week period would be a great get-away, and a very unique road trip.
RECOMMENDED TOUR PROVIDERS
I want to recommend some reputable travel consultants whose job is to make sure you are well taken care of. This list may grow over time, but for your first experience on the pilgrim trail I would suggest:
Oku Travel: https://www.okujapan.com
To see what they offer for new pilgrims please click here: https://www.okujapan.com/trip-finder/?destination=Shikoku%20Island&type=Self%20guided&page=1
Walk Japan: https://walkjapan.com
And to see what they offer click here: https://walkjapan.com/destinations/shikoku
As mentioned in the blog section I really like Walk Japan and I was very impressed with the CEO, Paul Christie. He comes highly recommended and vouched for by associates here in Kagawa-ken.
In any way that you are thinking of trying the pilgrimage trail, it is best that we do what we can to minimize the stress of traveling in a place where we don’t know the language, and to maximize the experiences you can have at each location. There is much to discover in deep Japan, and a little planning to make it smooth can go a long way.
If you have questions regarding what kind of trip or tour might suit you feel free to send us an email query. We can connect you with good people on our side to get your first steps on the pilgrim trail.