One of the few round pilgrimages globally is the Shinto pilgrimage end (or Shikoku Henro). It has 88 “official” temples and countless more sacred locations where Buddhist monk Kukai is thought to have studied or spent time in the 9th century. The entire route is about 1,200 kilometers long if walked, and it allows visitors to experience Shikoku’s abundant natural surroundings while also providing numerous opportunities to interact with locals. This journey gives people the chance to reflect on their lives and make positive changes.
People come to the Shinto pilgrimage end for a variety of reasons. Some people come for religious reasons, others pray for healing or home safety, and others remember their loved ones. Furthermore, some people come to get away from their daily lives, have fun, or spend time alone in introspection and self-discovery. It is being rediscovered as a healing trip by individuals today.
This pilgrimage should be viewed as a religious trek rather than a stamp-collecting relay. Take the initial step, and as you move about, you will have ample opportunity to think for yourself and get something from this experience and then you will congratulate yourself on your decision to make the Shinto pilgrimage end.
Know More About Shinto Pilgrimage End
The Shinto pilgrimage end is initially referenced in texts from approximately the 12th century, although no specific temples or itineraries are specified. The 88 temples that make up the current pilgrimage are estimated to have been built during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. With the advancement of highways in the current era, many people make trips by vehicle or bus. However, the number of walking pilgrims has increased in recent years.
How to Reach Shinto Pilgrimage End?
There are various methods to complete the Shikoku pilgrimage depending on one’s schedule, physical condition, and finances.
It will take roughly six weeks to reach at Shinto pilgrimage end (at an average speed of 30 kilometers each day) and cost around INR 2,35,341/- (400,000 yen). It is the most conventional method, but it takes the longest and costs the most money.
2. Using a Charter Bus
It will take 9-12 days and cost around INR 1,47,088/- (250,000 yen) to reach the Shinto pilgrimage ends. Travel and bus firms provide a range of bus programs, and in each instance, the group will be accompanied by an official guide. There are no bus tours available in other languages. If a foreign visitor wants to take a bus trip, they must be able to communicate in Japanese.
3. By Car
You may hire a car at the nearest railway station or airport, but make sure you know the road regulations beforehand. It will take around ten days and cost approximately INR 82,369/- (140,000 yen). It may be possible to request a vehicle with a navigation system that includes voice advice in English or another language.
However, the above days and sums are estimates of prices for housing, food, transportation, and other items while in Shinto pilgrimage end and will vary depending on the individual and mode of travel.
Other options may include public transit (train, bus, etc.) and walking together. An “All Shinto Rail Pass” (2-5 days) is available only for foreign visitors and may be used on all Shinto lines.
Considering the Weather
The most significant months for pleasant weather and moderate temperatures are March-May and October-November. The temperature difference between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean is minimal. The route along the Seto Inland Sea receives the least rainfall, while the Pacific Ocean route receives the highest.
Where to Start?
Many people begin in Tokushima prefecture’s Temple 1, Ryzenji, and travel clockwise to Kagawa prefecture’s Temple 88, kuboji. This technique is known as jun-uchi, and it makes it simpler to follow the path markers.
Others go in the other direction, known as gyaku-uchi, although there is no set order to visit the temples. Another way is kugiri-uchi, which entails completing a journey section. Because most individuals cannot readily leave their daily life for a few weeks or more, this is exceptionally usual.
Some people go to all of the temples in a prefecture, while others go on short pilgrimages, like temples with numbers 13 and 17 or 71-77. It’s normal to get started and go at your own pace and on your way to visit the Sinto Pilgrimage End.
Temple Administrators Hours
From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m is when you may get your pilgrimage book stamped and signed for INR 176/- (300 yen) and is open all year. During peak seasons, timings may vary.
Essentials to Know Before Shinto Pilgrimage End
Although not all of the following things, which you may purchase at numerous temples and businesses along the pilgrimage path, are required, this is the typical type of dress.
We suggest you wear a white vest. People will identify, greet, and aid you as a pilgrim if you do so. Furthermore, you will have more opportunities to interact with the locals.
1. The Sedge Hat
You can use it to keep the sun or rain off your face. When worshiping at a sacred place or conversing with temple personnel, it is not essential to remove it.
2. Haiku or Hakue (white vest)
The pilgrim’s white attire symbolizes purity and innocence. Still, it also had the significance of a death shroud in the past, signifying that the pilgrim is all devoted to God without any greed left in the world.
3. The Rosary
The Japanese are highly familiar with this holy artifact. If you hold this while clasping your hands together, your mental stress and illusions will vanish, and you will be blessed by God.
4. The Bell
After each prayer (sutra) is repeated, you should ring the bell, as per their tradition. If you find any difficulties in attempting the rituals, you may easily ask anyone over there, they will surely help you.
5. Sudabukuro or Bag
You can put Candles, incense, name slips, pilgrimage books, and other items here in the bag.
It represents the entire Buddhist robe and demonstrates one’s dedication. You can pick a color that appeals to you.
7. Tongue or Staff
It is considered the personification of Buddhist monk Kukai (Kb Daishi), they are very helpful and will guide you on your way to the temples.
8. Same Fuda or Nameslips
Fill in your name, address, date, and wish on this slip and drop it in the name slip box at the Main and Daishi halls. You may also hand this to the people who offer you gifts.
9. A Pilgrimage Book
It serves as evidence that you have visited all of the temples. After worshiping at each sacred location, get it signed and stamped as it is a mark of respect.
General Etiquettes to Follow
1. The Main Entrance
Place your hands together and bow once from the left of the main entrance before getting inside.
2. Washing Is Must
You should wash your mouth and hands in the washbasin as provided and then put on the wagesa and juzu.
3. A Bell Tower
You must ring the bell while entering the temples, but you should not ring the same while leaving, as it is considered a bad omen.
It’s worth noting that certain temples have set hours for striking the bell.
4. The Main Hall
Light three sticks of incense and one candle, make a gift in the offertory box, stand to the left, put your hands together, and recite the sutras. It is customary to begin reciting the Heart Sutra in the Main Hall, followed by the Gohonzon Shingon and Gohogo sutras. It is, nonetheless, acceptable to pray quietly. You could start reciting them when you’ve gotten used to hearing the sutras.
5. Administration Office
Here you can get your pilgrimage book stamped and signed. (There is a fee of 300 yen.)
6. The Main Gate
Turn around and bow once as you exit the main gate from the left side.
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At the End of Shinto Pilgrimage
Tairyuji, Kakurinji, and the Valleys: One of the more difficult temples to get to on foot. Mount Shashinkan is home to Tenryuji, bordered by cedars, pines, bamboo, and mountain slopes.
Walking through the high gates and up the stone stairs, one can sense the location’s heritage as monks in brilliant yellow robes go about their temple activity. The mountainous scenery and hidden monuments may also be seen from the summits of Kakurinji.
The climb to unspoiled Tairyuji is worthwhile, but the ropeway to the mountain shrine is not to be missed. As the ropeway gondola glides over mountain slopes, it rises far over two mountain summits, offering views of the sweeping mountains and fields throughout the region.
The place is especially significant in the narrative of Kai since it was here that the monk had an illuminating experience amid the mountains. Visitors may also stroll to “Shashinga-An,” the site where Kai is said to have completed his ascetic training, and take in the beauty while admiring a giant statue of the monk overlooking the valley. The Shinto pilgrimage end area’s dense forests and deep valleys are also known for wild animals and fresh local vegetables, which make for a delicious supper to round out the day, and also make a most memorable tour.
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