Top Ten Japan Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Hike the Shikoku Pilgrimage
By Brent Madison

See Japan as few Japanese and even fewer foreigners have—walk the pilgrimage of the 88 sacred temples of Shikoku, known in Japanese as the Shikoku Hachijuhachi Kasho Meguri. The Shikoku—Japan's most famous pilgrimage—retraces the steps of Kobo Daishi, the widely revered saint who founded the Shingon Buddhist sect. Due to sheer distance on foot, most Japanese only dream about making the full pilgrimage—a 993-mile course that circumnavigates the rural mountain-laden island. Start in Tokushima, moving clockwise through mountain paths, coastal forests, and busy city streets. Overnight in privately owned minshuku, a type of rustic Japanese bed-and-breakfast that are numerous along the route.


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