The japanese pilgrim has a special symbolic clothing to walk
ou can take what you want, there is a great tolerance on
classic clothing is made of a white jacket, a rucksack, a walking
stick, white trousers, a "chinese hat", a bell, a white bag and a
A/C buses' henros have often
the complete kit, wrapped with transparent
plastic to protect stick and hat from the dirt: they will be exposed at
home in the tokonoma. Walking pilgrims (歩
き 遍路) often have hiking or sport clothes, but always covered with the
white jacket, with or without sleeves.
white jacket Hakue ou Byakue 白衣 (はくえ, びゃくえ) is
marked at the back Yu (sanscrit sacred syllable for Maitreya) +
Namu Daishi Henjo Kongo 南無大師遍照金剛 (Ave Daishi shining diamond), to
honnour Kûkai. it is white like those of the dead to mean
renunciation, and dead henros were buried with it. Bijas, Kukai and sanskrit
Maitreya Yu bija
It's the only "obligatory" piece of cloth. Essential to be known as a
henro on the road. The henro is respected on the road, much more than
the simple passing stranger. It changes completely the relations with
henro is considered to
be somebody who has left his obligations and family to make an effort
for himself or for the others (after a death for exemple), he is
respected and eventually helped by offerings (o-settai). The o-settai is a way to
participate in the pilgrimage, and it cannot be refused. If it is
too much (money) or too heavy (pounds of mandarins), you'll share it
with other henros.
The rucksack is
normal, all rucksack adapted to long walking stages (Compostela type)
difficult to keep clean on muddy paths, so many walkers are wearing
jeans or dark trousers. Some wear leggings to protect the shoes of the
water durind heavy subtropical rain.
"chinese hat" Sugegasa 菅笠 (すげがさ) is common, it drains sweat off, air
passes through (theorically because not to be hurt you
have to protect your head from the osier frame, rolling an Onsen
towel around your head or on the frame). Covered whith plastic, it's a
good rain protection. But it is cumbersome and personnally I feel in
fancy dress with it. Bob sunhat is classic, white or other colour. Cap
with a flap on the neck is practical also.
Vu de dessous
The pilgrim's staff Kongozue 金
made of wood, with a colored and golden cover at the top, often with a
bell to be heard from the other pilgrims on the way, and to frighten the
"wild animals and the bad spirits" away. It is marked Dougyou
Ninin 同行二人 (both walking together), the stick representing
walking with the henro, exactly like Compostela's "bourdon" stick
represents St James walking with the pilgrim.
stole Wagesa 輪袈裟 (わげさ), on the neck. It's written
四国八十八ヶ所巡拝 Shikoku Hachijuuhachi kasho junpai "= Shikoku 88 temples
pilgrimage" et Namu Daishi Henjo Kongo 南無大師遍照金剛, like
on the jacket.
Two websites to see equipment and prices, individually or by set
2. MAPS and ACCOMODATION DIRECTORY
One book is absolutely necessary
to the henro:
hitori aruki dougyou ninin" 四国 遍路 ひとり 歩き 同行 二人 (Shikoku
pilgrimage alone walking together going) by Mr MIYASAKI Tateki 宮崎建樹. The first
volume contains maps and accomodation directory, the second gives advice to
pilgrims (only japanese, it will be useful only for those
understanding japanese, others can lighten the rucksack). A new edition
was printed, it seems you can now buy the map book separately for 2500
yens and the text book for 1000 yens. Verify the map book you buy
contains the hotel hotel address directory (see below, right photo).
The new edition contains more accomodation, but less contour lines.
Watch for the differences of altitude (for exemple between temples 19
You can find the book at temples 1, 11,21, 24, 29, 54, 75.
Japanes Internet websites where you can order seem difficult if you
don't speak japanese:
henro hitori aruki dougyou ninin
3. NOTEBOOK, RITUAL OBJECTS ...
notebook where you will collect stamps and calligraphy at each temple
is called Noukyouchou 納経帳 (のうきょうちょう), book for noukyou
(sutra's copy). You can find it large, small, white or with a drawing
or phot of each temple on the other side, practical not to make
mistakes in the order of the temples if you don't read fluently
at the temple, you go to the office Noukyoujo 納経所 to obtain the Houin
宝印 (temple's seal), commonly known as Noukyou, and let write a
calligraphy on the page, for 300 yens at each temple, which represents
a little sum if you're walking the whole the pilgrimage: 300 x 88
soit 180 Euros or 200 US$. Some strangers go without, and you can see
japanese people take a photo at each temple and go away immediately.
Some let put stamps on a
roll 掛軸 (かけじく), or on their white jacket.
Meaning of the Calligraphy in the Nokyocho
札（おさめふだ）are small paper strips wher you can write your name. You can
put one at every temple in the boxes in front of each Hondo and each
Daishido. They are sold by 200. As everything on the henro trail, it is
You can also give one samefuda to people giving you an o-settai, to
Mr Kushima recommends not to be too precise with name and address, not
to be followed or annoyed by false henro friends when you're back home
(spam even on pilgrimage!).
surname in katakana and eventually the name of your country is enough
(Amerika アメリカ Great Britain (igirisu) イギリス Kanada カナダ Australia
are white for henros who walk around the island for the 4 first
green from 5 to 7 times,
red from 8 to 24 times,
silver from 25 to
49 times, golden from 50 to 99 times, and embroidered (called
nishiki) from 100 times, that means 100 times 1200 km (750 miles) =
120000 km (75000 miles)!
inhabitants are collecting high colour cards as a luchy charm.
Some henros carry
samefuda in a special box marked "Travelling with daishi on the 88
temples of Shikoku".
天下泰平 (Tenka taihei) Peace on Earth
家内安全 (Kanai anzen) Safety in the household
年 year 月 month 日 day
姓名 name and "christian" name
八十八ヶ所靈場 (hachijuu hakka sho reijou) 88 sacred places
順拜 ou 巡礼
In the bag zudabukuro
頭陀袋（ずだぶくろ）henros carry the pilgrim's noukyouchou, samefuda,
incense, etc... Walking henros with rucksack often have none.
The buddhist rosary Juzu 数珠 (じゅず) is intended to buddhist
you can have religious books 経本（きょうほん） with the prayers to say at the
temple o-tsutome お勤め (おつとめ) or general text to study on the way. the
classic book is
est "The teaching of Buddha" from Bukkyo dendo Kyokai (BDK) in japanese
and english. BDK is the buddhist equivalent of christian
and put this book in hotels, waiting romm, schools... BDK