The Shikoku pilgrimage (Ohenro) consists of eighty-eight official temples located around the Shikoku. This spiritual circuit stretches more than 1200 kilometers. It is believed that the founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan, Kobo-Daishi (Kukai); the spiritual father of the pilgrimage who established the main temple on sacred Mt. Koya, trained or spent time at many of these places.
Today, hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world make this pilgrimage by bus, car, bicycle, and on foot (most traditional). Everyone is welcome to follow in the footsteps of Kukai and the pilgrimage journey begins in Tokushima, then Kochi, Ehime, and Kagawa. You don't have to complete the entire journey at once. Each comes for a different reason. Some come to remember a relative or friend who has passed away, others to get away from the stress of modern life, while others come to enjoy nature or simply have some time to themselves.
Bow once facing the Main Hall in front of the gate.
Wash your hands and mouth at the wash basin to purify yourself.
Ring the bell upon arrival once. It is considered bad luck to ring when leaving.
Light incense and a candle, place osamefuda (a votive paper that acts as proof of your worship) into the dedicated box. Then place coin offerings into the collection box. Bring your hands together in prayer and bow 3 times. After you've recited a sutra, bring your hands together and bow once more.
Receive the template stamp celled Goshuin (handwritten seals) in your stamp book.
Face the main gate and bow once when you leave.
Pilgrims on Ohenro are free to wear whatever you prefer during the journey. However, if you wear the traditional white vest, sadge hat and carry the designated walking stick, you will be identified and respect as pilgrim.