Since hiking the Kumano Kodo in Japan a few years ago, I fell in love with the different pilgrimage routes in Japan. Arguably the most famous one is the 88-temple Shikoku island trek. So here’s my planning and preparation for a future Shikoku hike.
Note: I am continually updating this post as I am in the process of planning my Shikoku solo hike to take place somewhere in 2020.
Table of Contents
- Before we start: Shikoku
- Step 1: settle on the idea for my Shikoku solo hike.
- Step 2: validate my Shikoku solo hike plans.
- Step 3: settle on a date for my Shikoku solo hike.
- Step 4: lock-in my Shikoku trip.
- Step 5: create a rough day planning for my Shikoku solo hike.
- Step 6: creating a packing list for my Shikoku solo hike.
- Budget for my Shikoku solo hike.
Before we start: Shikoku
The Shikoku Pilgrimage (四国遍路 Shikoku Henro) or Shikoku Junrei (四国巡礼) is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples on the island Shikoku in Japan (not too far from Osaka and Kyoto), associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi). Large numbers of pilgrims, known as henro (遍路), still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic, pious, and tourism-related purposes. The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot, but modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles, or motorcycles. The standard walking course is approximately 1,200
The henro part of Shikoku
Henro (遍路) is the Japanese word for
The pilgrim’s traditional costume comprises a white shirt (白衣
Step 1: settle on the idea for my Shikoku solo hike.
As the Shikoku is 1200 kilometers (but with plenty of support with ryokans or minshukus and restaurants near the trail), this will take quite some planning and preparation.
Some first thoughts:
- I would like to fly into Osaka and skip Tokyo altogether.
- I would like to start and end at Mount Koya san (as well as making the way up by foot instead of taking the train).
- I would like to look into 40-60 kilometer days to both make it a physical challenge and keep the number of days spent on the trail manageable.
Sites I used for ideation and validation:
- http://www.tourismshikoku.org/ the really good website by the local tourism office.
Step 2: validate my Shikoku solo hike plans.
I’m still validating my plans, but it seems more and more the case that 90% of the trail is hardened asphalt rather than trails. Still looking for more details on this, but if that’s the case, I’m not sure if I’m really up to it.
Step 3: settle on a date for my Shikoku solo hike.[To be added later]
Step 4: lock-in my Shikoku trip.[To be added later]
Step 5: create a rough day planning for my Shikoku solo hike.[To be added later]
Especially since my experience at the Iceland Laugavegur trail and it’s fast-changing weather as well as my illness and navigational error on the Jordan Trail from Dana