"Why We Went To Shikoku (and Shodo) Islands" Shikoku by dancinbudgie
Shikoku Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 67 photos
Update: Have just found the website for the 88 temple pilgrimage, and also one for Shikoku in general.
Not too long ago, here in Newcastle, Australia, we went to a Japanese restaurant (yes, we have them here in Newcastle- quite good too). I was chatting with one of the waiters who had come from Japan. When he found out that we had visited there, he was keen to know which cities. On discovering that we had been to Shikoku, but not Osaka, ( Osaka was his home town by the way), he fell about laughing, called the guys from the kitchen and told them, who fell about laughing, and asked us what on earth we were thinking! Almost the exact same question was asked of us in Shikoku, down in Uwajima. A Japanese shop-girl that we were talking to asked in a tone that sceamed confusion and disbelief, "but why did you come HERE?"
We went to Shikoku for many reasons. First of all, I wanted to get off the traditional 'tourist' path and see if we could find a bit of 'old' Japan. Before 1986, the main way of getting to Shikoku was by ferry, and while it has since been linked to the mainland by 3 different bridges (including the Seto-ohashi), and soI thought that we might get a more 'culturally authentic' (such snobbery!) experience than that found on the regular tourist route.
I had read about the 88 Temple Pilgrimage, and it sounded interesting. It traditionally starts at Koya-san before coming to Shikoku. The pilgrimmage is completed by about 100 000 people each year. It is done in honour of the founder of Shingon Buddhism 'Kukai' who was born in Shikoku, and who visited the 88 temples back in the 9th century. He helped to make buddhism part of Japanese life and was also the person who invented kana syllabary.
We were at the tail end of a month long Japanese holiday and were getting quite homesick, especially for the sight of a beach, which is never out of view for long back home. I had heard that there was a nice beach in Kochi, and thought that it would make for a nice day-trip.
I also thought that, being a smaller island there would be less of the husstle and bustle of the other cities we had visited, and that we could all slow down and relax for a while.
I also had wanted to take a look at the inland sea, and as we were already in Miyajima, it just seemed like a good idea to take a ferry across to Shikoku and view the sea en-route.
There are also a number of smaller islands surrounding Shikoku that we thought would be interesting to visit, including Shodo Island, which has a miniature version of the 88 temple pilgrimage.
Uwajima-jo is a tiny little castle in the middle of Uwajima. It is only 3 stories high, but as it is on top of a hill... more travel advice
The Yashima Plateau is famous for a huge battle in the 12th century fought between the Genji and Heike clans. My son was... more travel advice
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