Ohenro Ambassadors

On this page I would like to introduce to you other people who are out there on the Ohenro trail, or who have come through already. Everyone that I put on this page is here because I found their information useful, or their perspective charming and fun, or because I liked the cut of their jib.

I like the term, “Ohenro Ambassador” and I am borrowing it from Tim Voors, whose experience on the trail, Youtube video, and written account I particularly am fond of.

If you have an account of your experience on the Ohenro Trail that you would like to share, please send me a note. I will be delighted to add it here.

1.   Tim Voors

I was browsing through Youtube videos of people who have been on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. His video just jumped out at me. It is very fun, beautifully assembled, and has great music too.

 

You should also check out Tim’s website as well where he gives a “slower” account of his travels around Shikoku.

http://www.randomtrailtales.com

After I checked out Tim’s material, and I wish there was more of it, I had to think about why I instantly liked it so much. Then I figured it out. I like Tim’s account of being an Ohenro in Japan because it felt very authentic. When you read what Tim writes you get a very good sense that he has no intention of “teaching” you something important that will “change your life”. He just heads on down the trail, and if you like, you are welcome to come along. These are his experiences, and he does not grade them or qualify them. It is just honest and straight-forward.

Tim is a world traveler, and he has hiked all over the place. If you are a hiker, you may want to check out how Tim gets it done.

2. Gabriel Begun

 

I got in touch with Gabriel to ask him if it would be okay to put his video on this site. He kindly agreed. I simply love this video. The visual style of Gabriel literally “taking us by the hand” to come with him through his walk is so very appropriate. I love that. He looks so enthralled as he looks around, just taking it all in, and very much “in the moment”.

And the music is divine.

I would like to get some more information from Gabriel of his experiences, and I hope to hear from him more in the days to come. In the meantime, take Gabriel’s hand, and go for a walk!

3. Sherry Yamamoto

Sherry is located in Ehime Prefecture where she lives and works. She is very active in promoting not just the Shikoku Pilgrimage, but all kinds of good things about Ehime Prefecture, and Japanese life. She is an ambassador in several ways.

I really enjoy this video that she has about the Shikoku Pilgrimage. You get some step by step guidance for temple procedures, and it is done in such a kind and charming way. You get a nice peek into Ishiteji (temple 51), a beautiful temple in Matsuyama City.

4. Kat Davis: www.followingthearrows.com

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Prepare to get blown away. Kat Davis made a most unbelievable website that is so dense with material and helpful advise, that if you are an ohenro going to do the whole 88 temples on foot it BEHOOVES you to check on her material. She has done, in marvelous detail, spelled it all out for you for what you need to do to hike the 88 Temple Pilgrimage. Her website is DEEP with knowledge about what you need to hike well, be safe, know how much things cost, how to get around, and TONS of important things you need to read. I am an instant fan. If there is anything missing, it is that her Ohenro gear needs to have a cape flapping majestically in the wind. She is just super. Super Ohenro. No. Doubt.

Another thing that I am discovering that I just love love love about her site is that it lacks the “well… I know it all, and this is how you need to do the ‘Ohenro’…” tone. I was deeply impressed with her breakdown of her budget (this is something you need to calculate carefully should you come this way!) She also identifies in detail ALL her hiking gear. That is also essential information you need to know.

The site is so charming, and the tone is particularly friendly and kind. Easy to read, and the photos are also wonderful. This is the perfect kind of blog/site that I like to discover. Please do check it out, and let Kat know what a fabulous job she did.

Kat says that she hikes all over the world, and checking out her other pages from this main site, you will be impressed. As tough as they come, and as friendly as they come too. Great work, Kat. When you come my way, you must give me a shout, okay?

5. Jasbir: http://88again.weebly.com

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This website, written by a gentleman who calls himself Jasbir contacted me the other day and let me know about his really marvelous website. Having traveled the pilgrimage not once, but TWICE, on foot, he really knows his stuff. The second time through proves to be invaluable as it verifies his first experiences where necessary, and provides deeper insight as he comes through the second time. I like very much that Jasbir took with him a stack of photos to pass to people on the way, as a token of goodwill and friendship. That was really cool, and a terrific idea.

I loved the self-reflections throughout the site. Thoughtful and insightful, Jasbir takes us along with him in a very humane and gentle way. The narrative is very personal, and I am still in the midst of reading through it. Very enjoyable so far!!

One awesome feature of this website is that it has EXTENSIVE information about lodging on the Ohenro Route. This is really worth its weight in gold and for traveling Ohenro you need to bookmark this on your computer and phone as you travel. No doubt the very hard work of many days and nights. Thank you VERY much for the detailed information, Jasbir.

This is the greatest “reverse settai” I have seen so far. Thanks a million!

6. Marc Sutton: http://wasaking.com

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Marc has created such a beautifully designed website at http://wasaking.com. You will, no doubt, enjoy cruising around the elegantly constructed site. I like very much the personal style of writing, and the very touching dedications he makes of each day to people in his life. Personal, and unapologetic, Marc makes the pilgrimage “his own”, and I found that tremendously inspiring.

The photos throughout are great, and the ones with other people met on the road evoke such a sense of friendship and camaraderie. I thought that was delightful. Our journey’s really are valuable in the people we meet on the path, and the moments we can have together. Marc captures this so eloquently. Just wonderful!

He is the kind of guy you want to meet on the road. Very nicely done, Marc. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

7. Elly Jührend:

http://www.ellyjuhrend.nl

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My family is Dutch. They immigrated to Canada when they were kids in the 1950’s. They grew up in Canada and most of my relatives settled in the Vancouver Island area. Dutch culture (Canadian style) is something that I am very familiar with, so it was a marvelous pleasure to correspond with Elly Jührend and learn about her pilgrimage.

The website is all in Dutch, which I still must learn to read and speak in this lifetime, but you can still check out her photos and enjoy the NHK video of her as well. That was very cool, Elly! She also very kindly has an important page about lodgings on the route:

http://www.ellyjuhrend.nl/lodgings.html

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Elly is so kind in our correspondence and is serious about coming this way again. She has found herself as a mentor in the Dutch Ohenro community. That is absolutely fascinating. I believe that her site will be a growing, multi-layered, experience as she travels the pilgrim’s path again and again in the years to come. Inspired. And inspiring.

It is a great pleasure to have her site here on this page. Thank you Elly!!

8. Lu Barnham:

 http://www.lubarnham.com

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Meet Lu Barnham, an international author and travel writer. Lu takes us on her journey around Shikoku in a very well crafted narrative. Her book, “The Cicada’s Summer Song” is an excellent read. Stephen King tells us that the absolute best writing comes from a place of empathy. I think that Lu Barnham captures the essence of empathy and engagement with her readers very effectively.

Coming to Japan and just trying to get a handle on day-to-day life is quite enough sometimes, but Lu has a way of taking us along with her on the journey in the Ohenro world that feels entirely seamless. Her internal dialog with us is completely engaging and feels completely authentic. I was completely captivated with her writing, the intelligence of it, and the fluid style with which she engages the reader. I highly recommend this book to any would-be Ohenro, those on the trail already, and really anyone who is interested to learn what the 88 Temple Pilgrimage is all about.

There are many challenges on the road, but Lu is neither brought down or matter-of-fact about them. She moves forward, aware of her own thoughts and feelings, and honest with her experiences. Very refreshing and truthful, “The Cicada’s Summer”, is a terrifically written book, and a good touchstone for pilgrims coming out to take their first steps out on the pilgrim’s path.

Check it out. Available on Amazon and Kindle!

https://www.amazon.com/Cicadas-Summer-Song-Lu-Barnham-ebook/dp/B00XYDRAHG

9. Athena:

 https://thecupandtheroad.com

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Massively intelligent, articulate, insightful, and completely disarming, I am very much in love with this website.

Athena, a Canadian from Vancouver (another plus!), has put together this rather incredible site. Within the multi-folded fabrics of text, photos, menus, maps, and diary entries, we see Athena’s journeys through Shikoku, through coffee shops around Japan and Canada, farming, advocacy for others, and a host of insights about entrepreneurship. She is a tidal wave of information and style. I just love it.

Regarding the Ohenro experience, Athena has a very good page on her site that organizes here day by day:

https://thecupandtheroad.com/shikoku-pilgrimage-diary/

I really enjoyed the telling of the tale. There are parts that are very focussed within, and self-reflective. I feel that this blog and site is a form of catharsis, and a rounded lens through which the author sees herself, sometimes on the edge of the experience, an oblique figure moving through rooms lit dimly. Superb style.

Beyond this though, and this is my absolute favorite part, is the Henro Afterword. The writing here is absolutely electric. Athena gave me jarring flashbacks to my old writing professor, Dr. LeDressay, who weighing in this world about 90 lbs soaking wet in a turtleneck sweater, has Muhammad Ali type jabs, and a writing style that hits like a hammer on anvil. Full of sparks, blinding, and alive. I thought that this was truly inspired writing. Nicely done, Athena. Really. Thank you.

 

10. www.atypicalcommute.com

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This is a nice website, written by a lad named Jesse. He takes us on his journey through Shikoku. The website is very nicely constructed and the tone is very congenial. There is a lot of self reflection throughout, and it is great to see another very thoughtful and well written site. Jesse is a world traveler and an international hiker. If you are a hiker as well, check out this site. Thank you Jesse! Nicely done!

11. https://randomwire.com

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David Gilbert is the host of this excellent website. He is a long term traveler, and has spent several years in Asia. He studies a whole pile of languages, and you can tell through his writing and style that he is one of the sharper knives in the drawer. The photos throughout are also extremely good.

I like David’s style in that he is indeed, as he states, working on being in the “present moment” and focussing on the things that are right here and now. Indeed, the pilgrimage from an objective view is rather huge, daunting, and there are a million things to see and do and observe and comment about. But David picks his spots, and is often spot-on.

In addition to the travel information, and the inspirational photos and write-ups, David is also very helpful in terms of technical advise and suggestions for travellers to get the most out of their journeys. A GREAT resource for pilgrims and a highly recommended site.