The Shikoku Pilgrimage (四国遍路 Shikoku Henro) or Shikoku Junrei (四国巡礼) is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) on the island of Shikoku, Japan. It looks something like this:
I think I’ve seen enough temples in one trip to warrant not doing something like this, however I thought I’d go to the first (Ryōzen-ji (霊山寺)) and last one just ’cause. I figured I would be able to see a few legit guys, however most people just roll around to the temples in their cars these days and collect the stamps so I was a little disappointed.
From the first temple I went to see Naruto!
As in the Naruto whirlpools – the Naruto whirlpools (鳴門の渦潮, Naruto no Uzushio) occur along the Shikoku coast of the Naruto Strait, and are created by the large volumes of water moving between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean between high and low tide, combined with the unique underwater geography of the narrow strait.
To be honest I knew these weren’t going to be as impressive as the whirlpools you would see in something like the Pirates of the Caribbean but I figured I’d give it a go. You have to go at the right time to get the tides flowing in/out. I was pretty happy with the bridge I watched them from. Also on the way I happened to find Chidori Beach.
I ended up camping in a nice park in Kagawa prefecture. The next morning, I set off with the sun towards the 88th temple, Ōkubo-ji (大窪寺). I arrived before any shops opened, even though I climbed up like 800m of elevation to get there. But why stop at 800 when there are 2 perfectly good mountains to climb behind the temple. Sadly the views were not too great due to the weird fog in Japan… but I did get to see snake number 6 or something now.