The Shikoku Pilgrimage
Michael Pye [+]
Marburg University, (Emeritus) and Otani University
This chapter examines the second major pilgrimage route of Japan - the chain of eighty-eight temples spread through the four prefectures of Shikoku, the fourth largest island. Although the Saikoku pilgrimage has a greater claim to antiquity, many people, and not only devotees of the Shingon Buddhist sects, would regard the Shikoku route as the most prominent symbol of all Buddhist pilgrimage in Japan. It has received the most interest from foreigners including the first to write about it, the German Alfred Bohner in 1931. The 88 temples of the Shikoku Route were reputedly designated by Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi), the founder of Japanese Shingon Buddhism. The chapter looks at each of the 88 temples along with imitations and miniature Shikoku pilgrimages.