When preparing for the Shikoku pilgrimage (and earlier, when hiking the Kumano Kodo) I stumbled upon a gap in my personal development: I never thoroughly studied local culture, let alone learned some Japanese words. I learned some along the trail and added some more words on the list, reading the amazing “Tales of a summer henro” by Craig McLachlan. So here are some essential Japanese words for hiking in Japan.
|Arigato gozaimas||Thank you very much|
|Atsu desu ne||Hot, isn’t it (perfect conversation starter)|
|Dogyo ninin||“We go together” (mantra for the Shikoku trail – pretty much like Liverpool’s “you never walk alone”)|
|Fuda||Paper name slip, used on the Shikoku trail|
|Henro||Pilgrim (with henro michi being pilgrim trail – mostly applicable to Shikoku, not so much Kumano Kodo)|
|Minshuku||A small inn or pension|
|Namu Daishi Henjo Kongo||Homage to the Saint (Kobodashi, the Buddhist monk founder of the trail) – to be chanted in the temples|
|Nojuku||Sleeping outside (in contrast to in a minshuku or ryokan)|
|Nokyo||Temple seal as collected in an album (nokyocho) by henro, signed in a special temple office (nokyojo)|
|Ohao gozaimasu||Good morning|
|Shukubo||Temple lodging house|
|Settai||An offering to henro, often in the form of food, drinks or even money. People often offer settai when they can not do the pilgrimage themselves.|
Please let me know if you have other Japanese words to add.