Journal: Marie Olga An Lindemann
The Pilgrimage

From the 21st to the 24th of January we participated in the pilgrimage on the island of Shikoku .This particular pilgrimage is dedicated to the ounder of Shingon Buddhism, Kobo Daishi. Many of the temples we visited established by Kobo Daishi. On our shortened version of the pilgrimage we visited 33 of the 88 temples on the route. Some temples were more well kept than others, each having it's own story and uniqueness. One such temple's claim to fame was it's location. It was built at the base of the mountain were Kobo Daishi supposidly took his leap of faith from the edge of cliff and was saved by the Buddha.

Sadly enough we did not participate in wearing the traditional outfit of the pilgrim. Such an outfit included a white top and bottom, sandals, a unique looking hat, and a walking stick. The walking stick is needed because of the traditional mode of transportation from one temple to the next which is walking. At each temple, pilgrims burn incense, chant suttras, toss coins , and get the respective temples' name written in calligraphy in a book bought at one of the temples' souvenier shops.

Many of the temples had a pond populated with the frequently seen multicolored goldfish. Each entrance was protected by a certain god whose image and monsterous sandles were on display. Some temples offered a place to stay for the traveling pilgrim. The stay would be free if a pilgrim was planning on hitting all 88 temples. Due to our tight schedule we were not lucky enough to visit all of the temples.