Shikoku Pilgrimage

The Shikoku Pilgrimage (Japanese四 国 八 十八 箇 所, shikoku hachijū hakkasho, to German as: " 88 places of Shikoku " ) with 88 holy places is an important Buddhist pilgrimage ( Junrei ) on the Japanese island of Shikoku. He is one of the most important elements of the Daishi faith (大师 信仰, Shinko Daishi ) in which the Buddhist monk and founder of the Shingon shū, Kūkai ( 774-835 ), is worshiped.


Popular myth has it that Kūkai said to have founded the pilgrimage itself, but for which there is no historically verifiable evidence. In fact, today's pilgrimage is likely to have developed by the pilgrimages of ascetic monks from Kōya -san in the footsteps of their master from the 12th to mid-17th century. The first written records about the pilgrimage in travel diaries, guidebooks and collections of legends date from the late 17th century.


To complete the pilgrimage, you have to visit the temple is not in order, in some cases it is even considered lucky to visit the temples in the reverse order. In addition, the pilgrim must also not be completed in a pilgrimage. One can go in time in several sections him quite.

The pilgrimage is traditionally done on foot, but modern pilgrims use, especially for the longer sections, including trains and buses, cars, and other transportation.

The tailgate is about 1,200 km long and may take 30 to 60 days. The pilgrims Henro (遍 路), the locals respectfully also o- henro -san (お 遍路 さん) called, are usually recognizable by their white dresses, Seggenhüten and walking sticks. Many Henro begin and end their pilgrimage with a visit to the Kōya -san in Wakayama Prefecture on the Japanese main island, a monastery, which was founded by Kūkai and is headquarters of the Buddhist Shingon shū. The 21- km-long pilgrimage route to the Kōya -san still exists, but most Henro use the train for the journey to the temple.

On the pilgrimage also include 20 Bangai (番外), ie "Extra ", ie temple without a number.

In addition to the main road on the island of Shikoku, there is a " miniature pilgrimage " on the island Shodoshima north of Takamatsu. Many such miniature Shikoku pilgrimage routes exist in Japan, some of them are just a stone with pictures of the main deities of each temple, others are quite large and require some hours of walking.

The 88 temples