SHIKOKU PILGRIMAGE PLANNING


Differences with St james's Way

The path:
The GR65 in France is a nature hike bypassing all cities, Camino a wide gravel road through some towns. The Shikoku pilgrimage is in the life of every day, through cities and villages: 80% asphalt, often on bike paths beside the road (left), or sidewalks on sewer plates (pictured right), 20% on steep mountain trails in the forest.
You are not ON the main road, and the Japanese drive very slowly, so no fears as in Italy's Francigena, but you're often walking with cars next to you, sometimes all day long.
Mountain paths are much more physically demanding than Compostela, and slippery in wet weather
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Pilgrims
Walkers are a minority, seldom more than 10 per day, usually 4-5, but you can go a week without seeing anyone, and staying alone at the inn. Comparable to the Path beetween Geneva and Le Puy, or Francigena.
Many walk a few days, and you'll see just a few where distances between temples are important.
By cons on arrival at the temple, buses are there with large groups of pilgrims in white dress.
Pilgrims walk in general alone, but you'll meet them at noon or at the hostel.
Very few speak English, learn a minimum of Japanese.

Accommodation
No dormitories or hostels . Accomodation in minshukus (family hostels) half-board , breakfast is almost as complete as the evening meal. If there are other pilgrims , meals together, but sometimes each served in his room , so that night, you can feel alone.
The Japanese are quite reserved: Camino's large tables for a beer and early arrival to visit the city are not common in Shikoku . They often walk from morning to evening and arrive at bath time , half an hour before going to table ( 17:30 or 18h ) 20h everyone sleeps.
Food is only Japanese rice, raw fish ( sashimi) , vegetables, mushrooms .

In towns , there are also business hotel and restaurants. Outside the high season minshuku are reluctant to open for one people ( Yasumi no hi " day of rest" or Ippai " we are full ! " ) , And it is sometimes necessary to go to business hotel at the nearby town by bus or train and return back to resume ones way on the next day.
3 books in English (David C. Moreton)
 
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When?

In SPRING (March to May) or in AUTUMN (October to November)

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The rainy season is in June
The summer is very wet and moist, it is painful to walk,
paths are gullied and slippy and 3-4 typhoons are possible
Typhoons in august - september
In winter it snows in the mountains

It rains 4 times higher in southern Shikoku than in London,
and 2 times more than in Bangkok in full monsoon.
Compare the climates in Kochi on  Kochi climate


88 temples on the Net

 

*** All you really need to know is on David Turkington's website:

Shikoku henro trail

*** Chonta henro: The most complete website for the stages, with photos. I prepared my trip with it.
Description of the author's stages with photos. A good walker, 40 km stages don't frighten him!

Chonta henro

*** "Echoes of incense", Don Weiss's book which inspired most occidental henros to the roads of Shikoku.

Echoes of incense, a pilgrimage in Japan de Don Weiss 

*** Jeffrey Hackler's pilgrimage guide, the good advice before departure

Shikoku pilgrimage guide de Jeffrey Hackler 

*** The basic Japanese website, main pages in English

Kushima 


*** A Swiss movie "Aruki henro". You can look at the trailer.

Aruki henro

*** If you have some questions before departure (in french, german or english), I can answer (but only to practical questions). 

Alain Thierion (type this antispam address in your email agent)

henrofree



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