近海る (Kin Kairu)

JET, Japan, Journalism and other J words

Archive for the tag “88 Temples”

The Shikoku Pilgrimage, My Time on JET, and Uncanny Similarities

Shikoku 88 Temple Completion Certificate

Shikoku 88 Temple Completion Certificate

The circle has connected. I’ve finally completed it. After 1,200 kilometers, a book containing $264 worth of ink, and three years, I have finished the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. I am not the first, and certainly not the last, but I can now say that I’m part of the club.

It’s very strange to think it’s over. The pilgrimage was always something that sort of hung over me; A conversation point friends and colleagues who would ask about it before long vacations. Now that feeling of “unfinished business” is gone, which in my lifetime having such business is still rare.

As I show my completion certificates to my friends, students, and coworkers, I’m happy they express their amazement and congratulations. They do seem genuinely happy for me. But when people ask “how was it?” I find myself at a loss. How can I really encapsulate everything that I experienced? Do those pieces of paper really project everything I learned along the way? Is there really any way I can truly express those lessons? In the end will anyone really care?

It was through this thinking I found an uncanny parallel between the pilgrimage, and my three years here on JET.

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The Informational Shikoku Pilgrimage Post: Kagawa Prefecture

In tune with some of my past posts regarding my pilgrimage hike, I’m going to have at least one here with the straight-to-the-point details about where I stayed, my recommendations, and relevant anecdotes. This will focus on the last section of the trail: Kagawa Prefecture.

Day 1: Temple 65 (Sankakuji)

The hour and a half ride express train ride from Tokushima station to Iyo-Mishima, the closest to Temple 65, costs roughly 6000 yen. Not bad considering the 10,000 yen ticket I had to pay to get to the area around Temple 40. The hike up to Sankakuji was fine, but the 19 km walk towards 66 afterwards took a lot longer than I expected. I would also not recommend doing both 65 and 66 in one day, as 66 is the highest mountain on the trail! You will be pooped. I stayed at a business hotel a couple of kilometers west of 66 in Miyoshi city. The area has plenty of convenience stores and other lodging as well, so I think going a little bit farther and backtracking the next day is worth it. The city is also fairly close to Bangai #15 if you are also visiting those.

Stay: Awa-Ikeda Business Hotel
Phone: 0883-72-1010
Price: ~4500 yen (no meals)
Type: Single bed
Impression: Alright place to stay, though my room smelled a little bit like smoke.

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Shikoku Pilgrimage: A Note on Kochi

I’m going to be writing up about my latest trip to Ehime, in which I did the third section of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Obviously doing the math there, some may ask “Ok, but where’s Kochi then? Did you even go?”

Oh, I did!

By car!

Almost a year and a half ago…!

During Golden Week (a week holiday in Japan from late April to early May) in 2014, I drove along Kochi prefecture to complete the second section, known as the “Dojo of Religious Training.” If you’re wondering why I drove instead of walked, please take a look at the map below.

Shikoku Pilgrimage map

Shikoku Pilgrimage map

The end of the Tokushima prefecture section is Temple 23, and Kochi prefecture goes from temples 24-39.

Taking into account the space between 23->24, 36->37, 37->38, and 38->39, that’s a lot of distance!

If I’m going to be honest though, once I visited all of the Kochi temples, I didn’t like the car method as much. In short, I overestimated how far I would drive each day, which made my visits to each temple significantly shorter than if I walked. Having said that, I honestly don’t remember too much about each temple and don’t have a breadth of stories to pick from and write about. But I still wanted to give resources as far as where I stayed and my general impressions, as well as some key spots to visit along the way for any pilgrims-to-be.

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