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Friday, April 24, 2009

A cycle trip/pilgrimage around the 88 Temples of Shikoku


During the spring vacation from school, I went cycling around Shikoku for 2 weeks. I’d read about the sacred 88 temples of Shikoku in the lonely planet guidebook and thought it would make a good trip. Travelling around temples is not what I usually do with my free time and many people along the way asked me, “Why are you doing the Shikoku pilgrimage?”

  • I’d only briefly been to Shikoku once before and thought it would be a nice place to see more of.
  • The distance of the pilgrimage fitted well with a 2 week cycling trip.
  • Usually when I go on a holiday, I choose and plan my own itinerary of the places where I want to go. By following the pilgrimage course, I was visiting places which I’d normally bypass or never visit. I thought it would be interesting to follow a route decided by someone other than me for a change.
  • I thought it might be interesting to learn about Buddhism. I’d read a little about it in the past, and decided some more investigating wouldn’t do any harm.
  • The weather in Shikoku is nice at that time of year.
  • I thought it would be a good chance to meet people who don’t usually fall into my peer group.

View The 88 Temples of Shikoku Henro in a larger map

I packed my bike up and took the train down to Tokushima to start my journey.

When I was planning the trip and deciding how far I could travel each day, I based my calculations solely on distance – figuring that 100km per day would be about right. As a result the plan for day 1 was 100km. The 1st 16 temples are all grouped together along the Yoshino river and within 100km of each other. This meant I was due to visit 16 temples on my 1st day. I suddenly realized that even if I only stayed 10 minutes at each temple, then that would be nigh on 3 hours. I also realized that it would in reality take more than 10 minutes to see each temple. I also hadn’t taken into account the mountains. Temple 12 is about 900m above sea level. My plans for day 1 were looking in tatters before I’d begun. But I’d payed for 2 nights at the minshuku in Tokushima, so I had to make it back there by the evening.
Thoughts for the day
Be more decisive
There's a lot of temples
Try to stay ahead of schedule
Enjoy the trip

Day 1 – Saturday March 21st 2009

Day01 - 01 - 霊山寺 (Temple1)

I didn’t get off to an auspicious start and I was playing catch up from the very beginning. A temple filled itinerary meant that I didn’t have time to stop for food. I had some Udon for brunch around 11am and that was basically it for the day. Not to be recommended. I rushed around the temples and was finished at temple 11 by 3:15. That gave me 1:45 to get to temple 12 Shozanji before the stamp office closed at 5pm. It was 25km away and on the top of a mountain. Full of optimism, I hastily set off.

Rather too hastily as things turned out. The road I was following wound its way up a mountain and gradually gettting narrower and narrower. It then stopped being a road and became a path. It then stopped being a path and became stairs. I carried my bike up the stairs. This path wasn’t marked on my map, but I thought if I continued then I could connect with the pilgrimage path and have a chance of making up to the temple. By 5pm, I was still carrying my bike down the mountain trail and nowhere near the temple. In fact I was probably further away since I now had to ride around another mountain, up and over a pass, down into a valley and up the mountain on which Shozanji stands.

Day01 - 02 - Wrong turn

I met a cute and friendly shiba-ken dog along the way which was all very nice. He was rather too friendly though as he trotted alongside me. I had to get off my bike, get angry with him and chase him back down the road to his home, otherwise he’d still be accompanying me now. “Kawaisou” as they say in Japanese, “Poor Dog”.

The sun had set long ago, and it was pitch black. I finally made it to Shozanji around 8pm having collapsed of exhaustion twice along the way. I headed straight to a vending machine and gulped down 3 energy drinks and a can of hot chocolate before climbing up the last few stairs to the temple to say my prayers.
Day01 - 03 - 焼山寺 (Temple 12) at night

According to my guidebook, there was temple lodging available. The thought of 30 more kilometers back to Tokushima wasn’t very appealing, so I went to inquire. The middle aged lady clearing up in the kitchen looked very confused and gave me a rather frosty reception. “You can’t stay,” was all she said. I spotted some bread for sale, so inquired about buying some. I plodded off to fetch my wallet from my bike and returned to pay for it. I was met with quizzical looks and an interrogation from some of the guests, which I suppose was understandable. A strange foreigner cycling in the dead of night to a mountain-top temple in the middle of nowhere is not really an everyday occurrence, I guess. Their reaction when I told them I was about to set off for Tokushima on my bike was “It’s pitch black out there!! Wwhhhhaaaaaaaaa!?!?”

Reluctantly I headed off and finally made it back at 11:15pm – 16 hours after I’d left. I took a quick bath and headed off to sleep as soon as my ear touched my pillow. It had been a tough start to the trip and I hoped for an easier time of things over the coming days.

Thoughts for the day

Surprised on how many people are doing it.

It's tougher than I thought.

Respect to the walkers

It's gonna be hard to stick to my schedule

Carrying your bike over a mountain is hard

Day 2 – Sunday March 22nd 2009

Day02 - 01 - 井戸寺 (Temple 17)

I awoke feeling less tired than I feared I might and made decent progress throughout the day. I was determined not to run out of energy today and had an unhealthy breakfast at a convenience store and a healthy lunch at a noodle restaurant. Showers continued throughout the day and by the time I snaked my way up the steep mountain road to temple 20 they had turned to heavy rain. The temple was totally deserted and was serenely peaceful. My original plan for today had been to spend the night at Tomoya-san’s (an organic farmer I’d met through but I was no where near on schedule. I phoned ahead to a minshuku to make a reservation and freewheeled down the mountain in the cool rain, safe in the knowledge that I’d soon be sat in a hot bath and eating some delicious home cooked food. The minshuku was full of pilgrims and I had a great chat with a couple of “Ojisan” over dinner.
Day02 - 02 - Me in the rain

Thoughts for the Day

The pilgrimage feels a bit like a treasure hunt. I was chatting with an ojisan and he likened it to orienteering.
Why use a satnav when you're driving the route? Where's the hardship in that?

Shikoku is rural. They seem to sell more kei trucks and tractors than cars around here.

Day 3 – Monday March 23rd

Day03 - 01 - Early morning at 太竜寺 (Temple 21)

Day03 - 02 - Guard at 平等寺 (Temple 22)

A clear, crisp and chilly morning awaited me today. A healthy breakfast of fish, raw egg, rice and seaweed was eaten in the company of the other pilgrims before we all ventured off on our different journeys once more. I reached temple 21 before 8am and it was still pretty empty of visitors. The road leading up to the temple was incredibly steep, but it was a great deal more rewarding than taking the cable-car. The view from the temple grounds through the forest was great and I could see the ocean in the distance. It was to be down hill all the way from here today, as that’s where I was heading. I wound my way down the mountain and through the country lanes to join the busy Route 56 along the coast of Tokushima prefecture and on into Kochi.

Day03 - 03 - My new girlfriend

I reached Tomoya-san’s in late afternoon and had a bit of a rest. In the evening I helped him sort his tomatoes into the different boxes for the different destinations – The green larger fruit bound fruit for the big supermarket chains in Nagoya city and the riper, smaller fruit bound for the local stores. It gave me a small insight into how tough being a commercial farmer is. It’s not only the growing of the crops which takes effort, but there are many other jobs to do alongside this which are just as hard work and even more time consuming.

I have great respect for the way Tomoya-san has sacrificed the financial rewards of his advertising executive lifestyle in Yokohama to fulfill his desire of living a rural life next to the beach in Shikoku. His eyes sparkled with joy as he said, “Shikoku’s the BEST!”
Day03 - 04 - Makoto, Me, Tomoya

Thoughts for the Day
How times have changed in the last 100 Years (I was talking to an old lady who first walked the temples in 1924)
For farmers, Packing their produce must take as much time and effort as growing it does.

Day 4 – Tuesday March 24th 2009

We rose early and I left Tomoya-san to his tomatoes and headed off along the coast towards Cape Muroto. I made excellent progress throughout the day along route 55 and it was a thoroughly enjoyable day of cycling in the sun. I made it just in time for the Nokyojyo at temple 28, but had to do 36km in 90 minutes to make it in time. Cycling at this pace felt fast to me, but it’s nothing compared to 45km/hr that professional cyclists do in the Tour de France.

Day04 - 01 - 津照寺 (Temple 25)

Thoughts for the Day

Why do worshippers sound a bell after praying? It sounds like a time's up bell from the TV Quiz "Just a minute"

Day 5 – Wednesday March 25th 2009

Day05 - 01 - 国分寺 (Temple 29)
I almost lost my wallet today between Temple 33 and 34. I packed away my stuff in my panniers at temple 33, but left my wallet out to buy a drink. I then decided to have an orange instead and I rode the 10km between the two temples with my wallet balancing precariously on my pannier bag.
In the evening I found myself riding along the “Yokonami Skyline”. It was a beautiful sunny evening with an constantly undulating road providing spectacular views across the mountains and Pacific Ocean. It was definitely one of my favourite rides on the trip.
Day05 - 02 - Evening on the Yokonami skyline

Thoughts for the Day

Why do I only seem to see coaches in the mornings?
What is the point of "taxi henroing"? How boring
What does "Equivocate" mean?

Day 6 - Thursday March 26th 2009

Day06 - 01 - Morning shadow
The distances between temples in Kochi meant that today was to be a heavy mileage day. I got off to a flyer but soon realized that “more haste and less speed” would have been the way to go. By my calculations temple 37 (Iwamotoj) was to be found after about 30kms of riding for the day. My odometer had reached 37km and there was still no sign of the temple so I stopped to investigate my maps. I’d overshot the runway by about 9kms. And to add insult to injury, it was the other side of the valley that I’d just descended into. As I U-turned to head back to the temple a walking henro couple asked if I’d forgotten something. “Yes,” I said sheepishly, not adding that it was the actual temple which I’d forgotten.
Day06 - 02 - The view towards Ashizuri
Towards the end of the day I misread my map again. This time it didn’t cost me much distance, only height. I took the mountain skyline instead of following the coastal route. I never intended to climb over the 450m mountain, but the view from the top was certainly impressive and the free-wheel down the other side thoroughly enjoyable.
Day06 - 03 - 金剛福寺 (Temple 38)
Day06 - 04 - Sunset in Tosashimizu

Thoughts for the Day
Why do I only seem to see coaches in the mornings?

What is the point of "taxi henroing"? How boring

What does "Equivocate" mean?

Day 7 – Friday March 27th 2009

The most common way to do the pilgrimage is on a guided tour bus and I was always bumping into them at the temples. At temple 39 I received a gift from a bus driver. He suddenly came over, presented me with a sports drink, saying “puresento” and walked off straight away. Five minutes later he was back with a bag of oranges. Again, he suddenly came over to me, said “puresento” and then turned away. Straight away he exclaimed to his passengers, “Wow! He’s got a really big nose, hasn’t he?”
Day07 - 01 - 延光寺 (Temple 39)

I stayed with a kind elementary school teacher tonight. I’d used the warm showers website again to get in touch with a fellow cycling couple about staying the night. Unfortunately, they were away during my visit, but introduced me to one of their friends who very kindly put me up for the night. Many thanks to Chizuru-sensei and her two children, Michina-chan & Shizuto-kun.
Day07 - 02 Chizuru-Michina-Shizuto-me

Thoughts for the Day
People can be very kind. I stopped for lunch in a udon café, but the old lady wouldn't let me pay for my lunch.

Chizuru Sensei is being very kind to let me stay too.

What is the point of Taxi Henros?

Day 8 – Saturday March 28th 2009

Day08 - 01 - Ozu Castle

Today was definitely an uphill day and I headed off into the mountains and the small town of Kumakogen. At temple 44 (Daihoji) I met a cool retired seaman. He told me that he often did day trips around the 88 temples from his home in Kochi and how he’d visited England many times when he was in the navy. He invited me to chant the heart sutra with him. I was still unsure what I was doing completing a pilgrimage and if I really belonged there, but this gesture had the effect of making me feel really welcome as a “henro”.
Day08 - 01 - The retired sailor and me at 大宝寺 (Temple 44)

After I left Daihoji, I only had a short ride through some hills to reach my accommodation for the night. As I was approaching the entrance to a tunnel, a car was waiting in a lay-by. An incredibly attractive lady was waiting by the car. She asked me if I was doing to pilgrimage circuit and then handed me a small packet of home-made cookies which I gratefully accepted. She then offered me a 1000Yen to help me on my journey too, which I vociferously refused. But she slipped it into my pannier bag and ran back to her car before I had chance to return it. People can be very kind sometimes.

Thoughts for the Day

People are not always what they seem on opening impression. 1st impressions are often misguided

Don't be greedy - I received 1000Yen from a beautiful young woman which I really didn't need, but recently I've been fighting for more money from my job Why?

What will Shikoku be like in the future? It's full of old people now.

Day 9 – Sunday March 29th 2009

Day09 - 01 Early morning at 岩屋寺 (Temple 45)
Today was to be a relatively easy ride. Less than 50kms and all down hill into Matsuyama. The other bonus was that I got to finish the day in Dogo Onsen. It’s said to be oldest onsen in Japan at 3000Years old. It’s also the setting for one of Japan’s best known novels, “Botchan” by Natsumi Soseki. The tourist board go rather over the top on selling the “Botchan” theme, but having read the book it’s interesting to see where it was set.

Day09 - 02 - Construction information for new tunnels

In many onsens there are often signs saying “No Tattoos”. This is primarily to keep the Yakuza(Japanese mafia) away. With Dogo Onsen being one of Japan’s most famous tourist attractions I was a little surprised to see a couple of my fellow bathers covered in tattoos and their companion missing his little finger – another tell-tale sign of the Yakuza.
Tonight I stayed with a friend of a friend on the outskirts of Matsuyama. After my onsen I caught the train out to Iyo and met Adrian and his family. He instantly supplied me with beer and we were soon off for more at a local izakaya. Thanks to them for putting me up and supplying me (with far too much) beer.
Day09 - 03 - 3 story Pagoda at 石手寺 (Temple 51)

Thoughts for the Day

Cycling downhill is cool

Day 10 – Monday March 30th 2009

With a headache and upset stomach from the night before, I caught the train back into Matsuyama to collect my bike from the underground cycling parking lot. These are like multistory car parks for bikes. As I wheeled my bike over to the lift, I bumped into a bike and knocked it over. This then had a domino effect on the entire row and I was left to pick up about 20 bikes. Not a good start and a sure sign that I wasn’t on top of the world. A visit to MOS burger lifted my spirits somewhat, but it was to be a lethargic day ahead.
Day10 - 01 - 円明寺 (Temple 53)
It was a beautiful ride along the coast of the inland sea to Nankobo temple (Number 55) in Imabari. The lady from the stamp office (with excellent English) helpfully booked me into a cheap hotel around the corner for the night.
Day10 - 02 - The view across the inland sea to Honshu
The hotel owner was a kind hearted and helpful old man. He spent 5 minutes photocopying and highlighting a map to show me the way to Taisanji (Temple 56). It was very kind of him to do this, but the temple was on the same road as his hotel. He could’ve said “Just go straight, It’s in 4km on your right.” He was also insistent that I should leave my mobile phone number with him, in case I forgot anything in the hotel.

Thoughts for the Day

Should I cycle to 66 or take the ropeway?

If I take the ropeway, will it be cheating or just being practical with my time requirements?

Do the walkers take the ropeway?

Day 11 – Tuesday March 30th 2009

I had an early start this morning and made great progress. I had the mountain temple of Yokomineji (Temple 60) to contend with around lunchtime. The road to the temple stopped a 3km before the top of the mountain due to the steepness. My guidebook was also warning me that this temple is one of the most difficult due to the narrow, slippery and steep path. I was somewhat relieved to find it didn’t take me as long as I expected. It wasn’t an easy climb, but it certainly wasn’t as difficult as my guidebook made it seem.

Next on my list was Koonji (Temple 61), a modern concrete construction of a temple. I was walking across the compound when I heard “Mr Cant! Mr Cant!” I looked up quite startled. “Who on earth can know me here?” I wondered. It was the priest calling me over, so I went over to find out what was going on. He could see the look of surprise on my face and seemed to be enjoying himself as I puzzled over how he knew my name. “John Cant, from England, Yes? You stayed at the Dai 1 Hotel in Imabari last night, right?”
“Yes”, I confirmed.
“You’ve left your mobile phone somewhere haven’t you?”
“Have I?” I asked obliviously.
“Yes you have. It’s at the hotel in Imabari, Here’s the hotel’s number and there’s a public phone over there. Please give him a call back”
I did as he suggested and duly arranged to collect my phone later that evening. I was hoping to get some good distance in during the afternoon, but any distance I covered on my bike now involved doing it twice more on the train as I went back to Imabari to collect my phone. I stopped for the day earlier than planned and went back to retrieve my phone.
Day11 - 01 - 香園寺 (Temple 61)

Thoughts for the Day

Do Bus Henros get as much out of the trip as individuals?

Day 12 – Tuesday March 31st 2009

I needed an early start today as I was to visit the dreaded Unpenji (Temple 66) at an altitude of 950m. I set my alarm for 5:30, but couldn’t face getting up and kept hitting the snooze button. Partly a bad habit, and partly in fear of the impending climb, I think.

I made great progress along the main road, before turning off into the hills for Sankakuji (Temple 65). As I climbed up to the temple my bike developed a worrying squeak which I couldn’t figure out why. “Great”, I thought, “Mechanical failure, the prefect excuse to take the cable car to Unpenji”. As I descended back down into the sunshine had turned to showers but the squeak had disappeared. I was also making excellent progress so had no excuses not to cycle to the temple highest temple on the circuit.
The climb to the top was not as tough as I’d feared and I actually enjoyed it. When I reached the mountaintop though it was bitterly cold and I put on all my layers of clothes. The rain turned to snow and the statues in the mist turned the temple into a wonderfully mysterious place. I headed into the warmth of the Ropeway station and for a couple of cans of well earned hot chocolate. I looked on with envy as a couple of tour groups headed down on the ropeway complaining of the cold.
Day12 - 01 - Snow at 雲辺寺 (Temple 66)

Day12 - 02 - Statues in the mist at 雲辺寺 (Temple 66)

I headed back out to my bike and prepared for the bitterly cold descent to Kannonji. I spent the afternoon dreaming of a beautiful onsen as I contunied along my way. I still hadn’t warmed up by the time I reached my minshuku for the night. But the welcome was warm, the bath was hot and the food plentiful and delicious so I was able to enjoy a relaxing evening.

Thoughts for the day

The guys whose plans it were to build the temples must be very pursuasive.

Carrying all of the materials to the mountain tops to build a temple is must have been crazy work. And then you need to actually build it too.

Day 13 – Wednesday April 1st 2009

I had planned on finishing the trip on Friday, but I still had 19 temples to visit, so it was looking rather optimistic. I was upbeat and ready to roll on the bright and chilly morning as I headed through the Kagawa countryside towards Takamatsu. I needed to do another steep climb to reach Iyadanji (Temple 71) and even from the car park there were a few hundred stairs left to climb to reach the temple complex at the top. Zentsuji (Temple 75) is the birthplace of the pilgrim founder Kobo Daishi and is made up of a large temple complex covering 45,000 square metres. It’s so big that it’s more like a small village than a temple. Unfortunately with my schedule, I didn’t have time to explore the grounds fully and rushed through to get my stamps and say my prayers.
Day13 - 01 - 曼荼羅寺 (Temple72)
Day13 - 02 - 天皇寺 (Temple 79)

I continued on my way. At the end of the day I had to pedaling hard up another mountain and then sprint up a huge flight of stairs, I was just in time to catch the stamp office at Shiromineji (Temple 81) before it closed at 5pm. Negoroji (Temple 82) is on the same mountain, but my quest to find accommodation nearby proved fruitless and I had to head back down into town and make another assault on the mountain the following morning.
Day13 - 03 - The Seto Ohashi

Thoughts for the day

Just by seeing people a few times along the route, you build up a connection with them even without saying much. Why is that?

Day 14 – Friday April 2nd 2009

I had 8 temples to visit today, if I was to finish the pilgrimage. 2 of them had cable cars to reach the mountain top, but I wasn’t about to succumb to using those on the final day of my mission. I made good progress throughout the morning, but with some big distances and looming mountains to come in the afternoon, It became apparent that I wouldn’t finish my quest today. Realising this released me of the time pressure and I settled in to enjoy my penultimate day of travelling.

I met my 1st other foreign henro at Yashimaji (Temple 84). She didn’t speak Japanese and I think she had been having a tough time of things. She’d met a Japanese man while doing the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain who’d told her about Shikoku. Like me, she wasn’t particularly religious, but thought it would make for an interesting adventure. It was taking her about 6 weeks and I think she was looking forward to getting back home. I had a great deal of respect for her though as it must have been pretty tough and lonely at times. I hoped to bump into her again later in the day, but that was the only time I saw her.
Day14 - 01 - The Dutch-Newyorker Henro
Yakuriji (Temple 85) is another temple with an incredibly steep road (20% in places) to the top. A grumpy old lady tried to tell me that I couldn’t cycle up the road, but I was having none of that and made it to the top. I finished the day at Nagaoji (Temple 87) before catching the train back to Takamatsu to meet Kayo, Kae and Rie who’d come to collect me at the end of my trip. The hotel we were staying in had a fantastic onsen and later we all went out for dinner. I was conscious not to drink too much beer as I still had a couple of mountains to get over the following morning.
Day14 - 02 - 長尾寺 (Temple87)

Thoughts for the day

It's much much much more pleasant to not be worrying about getting through a certain number of temples in a day and just taking things as the come

Everyone you meet has their own story and they all usually have intersting things to say.

Day 15 – Saturday April 2nd 2009

After an outrageously big breakfast at the hotel buffet, we drove back to the station at Nagaoji for me to collect my bike and continue on my way to Okuboji (Temple 88). I stopped to apply sun cream to my burnt ears but ended up putting on my raincoat as the sun suddenly turned to rain. I made it to temple 88 and it was with a hint of melancholy that I headed off into the rainy mountains and back to where I started 2 weeks ago at Ryozanji (Temple 1).
Day15 - 01 - 大窪寺 (Temple 88)
Day15 - 02 - Back at the start 霊山寺 (Temple 1)
I made it through the heavy rain and over the last few mountains to reach my goal. I felt proud to have made it round and compared how I was feeling now to the feelings of excitement and uncertainty of 2 week previous.

I went to the stamp office for get my book stamped, packed my bike into the car and then headed off for a quick bath. I still needed the stamp from Shozanji, so we drove up there in the rain and I recalled my experiences on the mountain in the pitch black 2 weeks previous. We had to run from the car park through the rain but just made it before the stamp office closed. That really was my last temple for the trip and we piled back in the car for the ride to Kochi and some well earned food and drink.
Day15 - 03 - Drving down from Shozanji (Temple 12)

Thoughts for the day

I feel proud to have finished, but wonder what the point of it was.

How many people of done this before me?

What have I learned?


The pilgrimage is said to be seen as a challenge with various trials and tribulations. As I look back on my 2 weeks on the road I realize that it’s been a success. I’ve learned things about myself and others. I’ve learned to relax a bit more and not worry about timings and schedules so much. The most enjoyable times on the trip were when I wasn’t rushing around to reach a certain place by a deadline. I also realize just how productive a day can be by getting going early in the morning. I had a thoroughly enjoyable, rewarding and at times challenging fortnight and all in all it was a great trip. I highly recommend it.

Some Stats

Total Distance: 1337km

Avg Speed: 16.8km/hr

Longest Day: 158.8km (Day 6)

Shortest Day: 44.7km (Day 9)

Avg km/day: 89.1km

Temples per day: 5.9

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  • At 12:31 PM, Blogger justin said…

    Holy moly! Well done!

  • At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow that beats sitting on the beach for two weeks!

  • At 10:16 AM, Blogger Kirsty said…

    Well done Mr Cant
    Super tripping eh


  • At 12:02 PM, Blogger lachlan said…

    Yay John! Great to see the blog's back in action and you've been keeping yourself busy. Good on you for getting to the end. Otsukaresama!

  • At 12:35 PM, Blogger Wye-Shun said…

    great stuff!
    did you carry all your gear in those 2 panniers for the 2 weeks?
    they look quite large!
    any idea on the weight ?

  • At 2:35 AM, Blogger elaine said…

    wonderful! i was planning to do the trip when i was in living in japan too. however i never did make it out as my teaching job didn't give me the flexibility of 2 weeks off! love the pictures! thanks for sharing!

  • At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I wanted to contact you about your trip. Your account is inspirational!
    Thank you. email :
    Name: Gianni

  • At 11:33 PM, Blogger mcccliv said…

    I am in Tokyo now taking this trip next month on a bicycle. Did you use a GPS? Did you record a track? What is the best way to contact you?

  • At 9:23 PM, Anonymous registry booster said…

    Great! i was thinking to take my family and make a trip to japan but when i saw on tv what tragedy hit the japan these months... Anyway i'll wait some time till Japan will be again like it was before. Great pictures!

  • At 9:21 PM, Blogger jmuzacz said…

    coooool. im gonna take your advice about the no schedules thing though and take it as it comes.. got 10 days at haruyasumi, and not gonna plan a single temple.. wonder how many i will run into on accident anyways..
    thanks for a very nice account though cycle friend!
    peace from kyotango..
    j muzacz

  • At 9:22 PM, Blogger jmuzacz said…

    coooool. im gonna take your advice about the no schedules thing though and take it as it comes.. got 10 days at haruyasumi, and not gonna plan a single temple.. wonder how many i will run into on accident anyways..
    thanks for a very nice account though cycle friend!
    peace from kyotango..
    j muzacz

  • At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You mentioned that you got stamps in your book. That would be your Noukyouchou, would it not? The stamps validating that you offered the prayers (noukyhou) at the temple?

    Considering your initial estimate of 10 minutes at each temple, did you really perform the prayers? Or was it all wink wink nudge nudge let's just say I did.

  • At 9:03 AM, Blogger Canty said…

    Hi - thanks for reading my post and commenting.

    Indeed - that's correct - my noukyoucho.

    No wink, wink - It was all above board. It's all about the journey so I'd only be cheating myself :-)

    10 minutes was an underestimate and having more time to enjoy the moments would have been much more preferable.

  • At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Dean said…

    Is it frowned upon to ride the trail sections. Or did you opt for road whenever available. Or do the road and trails sort of meld together? I have a similar time frame as you had. Would I be unwise to pursue trails over roads

  • At 11:06 PM, Blogger Canty said…

    Hi Dean,

    I think you'd have trouble doing the trails on a bike - it's very mountainous and very steep!

    I was on a road bike and happily stuck to the roads.

  • At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just found your blog, 7 years later... I have been planning on doing a biking trip to shikoku, and I recently heard about the pilgrimage. Now as it happens I stumbled upon your blog and I must say I am very inspired by your travels, and I truly feel like this is something I will have to do before I leave Japan. I don't know if you'll ever see this comment, but thank you very much for this post, you are an inspiration!

    - university exchange student


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