The pilgrimage itself is over 1,400 kilometres in length, and has an image amongst the public of being harsh and difficult to complete. In recent years it has become popular with people wishing to rediscover themselves, build up their health, or enjoy the outdoors. Many pilgrims participate for reasons entirely separate from religion, and it is seeing increasing popularity for its abundance of must-see with sacred areas.
- On foot: Approx. 45 days, Budget: Approx. 400,000 yen
- By car: Approx. 10 days, Budget: Approx 140,000 yen
- Tour bus: Approx. 12 days, Budget: Approx. 250,000 yen (differs depending on tour)
Clothing for Pilgrims
Any clothing that takes into consideration that you will be visiting holy sites is fine. This includes casual clothing and outdoor wear, as long as the wearer is clearly showing respect to the temples themselves.
However, most pilgrims prefer to at least wear the traditional garb of staff, monk's stole, and white robe.
Wearing the proper style increases the awareness of the body and mind of the pilgrimage, and makes it easier for people along the way to recognize you as a pilgrim, increasing opportunities for interaction.
1. At the Main Gate
Place your hands together in prayer and offer thanks before entering the gate.
This should also be done when leaving.(*Done out of respect to the buddha/high monk)Please walk to the left within the temple grounds.
2. Place for Ritual Cleansing of Hands
Wash your hands and swill water in your mouth here to cleans your body.
Swilling out your mouth is symbolic of cleansing both the inside and outside of your body.
3. Bell Tower
Strike the bell once gently.
*You must not strike the bell after you have completed your visit.
*Some temples do not the bell to be struck.
*Do not strike the bell when visiting early in the morning or late at night, or at times that may create a nuisance for others living nearby.
4. Main Temple Building
Place a votive card in the votive card box. Light 1 candle, and 3 sticks of incense. Provide a monetary offering, before placing both hands together in prayer. Finish by making an offering of a sutra (sutra chant, hand-copied sutra).
5. Hall with Enshrined Statue of Kobo Daishi
Pay homage in the same manner as at the main temple building.
6. Stamp Area
At the stamp area, receive a stamp (goshuin) on your stamp book to show that you have visited the location.
*If there are other locations to pay homage to within the temple, ensure you go there first.