This is an important question to ask for people coming on the Ohenro/Pilgrim trail. This is essentially two questions.
- What should I wear for proper hiking comfort if I am walking for an extended period of time. To answer this question I would refer to you to hiking pros and to bloggers who have bought and used a myriad of gear and who can guide you properly. This list I found quite extensive: https://www.walking-henro.net/gear-list.html
- What should I wear as a pilgrim? There is the hat, and the white clothing, and the staff. What is that all about? Great questions all. Here is a quick link to some helpful information on that specific question: http://www.shikokuhenrotrail.com/shikoku/walkingWhatToWear.html and http://www.omotenashi88.net/en/how/equipment.html
When I first traveled to experience the Ohenro trail I did it by bus tour over the course of a year. I simply wore clothing that was comfortable and did not purchase any of the white pilgrim gear. For me, the first time through, the trail was a chance to study and learn. But the next time I go, I will walk or ride a motorcycle so will get the pilgrim wear that is practical and “gets me more in the spirit” of the experience.
There is sage advice from experienced travellers that you should be comfortable and protected. What is more important on the pilgrimage is not so much what you wear, but rather, how you behave and treat others and the experience as a whole.