Temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage

Shikoku 88 Temples

Of the many footprints that Kobo Daishi (Kukai) is said to have left behind, the 88 temples selected during the Edo period are known as the “88 sacred sites of Shikoku” and are the most famous sacred sites today. Many people think of the Shikoku Pilgrimage as the “88 sacred sites of Shikoku,” and the term is used almost synonymously.

Although each of the 88 sacred sites is an independent entity with a different origin and Buddhist denomination, they are numbered from 1 to 88 and are generally scattered along the coastline of Shikoku in a circuitous manner. The starting point and order of visits are up to the pilgrim, but it is believed that the stages of ascetic practice (Dojo) progress in order starting with the first temple.

Tokushima Prefecture (Awa) T1-T23

The Dojo of Resolving To Awaken. Making this resolution and beginning to take action.

Kochi Prefecture (Tosa) T24-T39

The Dojo of Ascetic Practice. Training to raise your spiritual nature.

Ehime Prefecture (Iyo) T40-T65

The Dojo of Enlightenment. Cutting through worldly passions (klesha) and going towards Amida’s Pure Land.

Kagawa Prefecture (Sanuki) T66-T88

The Dojo of Nirvana. That transcendent state of liberation where worldly desires have been defeated.

Website of the Association of 88 Sacred Sites of Shikoku https://88shikokuhenro.jp/

Shikoku Bekkaku 20 Temples

In addition to the 88 sacred sites on Shikoku, there are many other sacred sites on Shikoku, called “Bangai Temples.” In 1968, 20 of these temples were organized to form the “Shikoku Bekkaku 20 Temples.” The total of the 88 temples and the Bekkaku 20 temples is 108, which is the same number as the number of human vexations; the Shikoku Pilgrimage is therefore thought to be a path to the destruction of vexations.

When making a pilgrimage, it is acceptable to go round the Bekkaku 20 temples after visiting all the 88 temples or to go round the 88 temples and Bekkaku 20 temples at the same time. Since the Bekkaku 20 temples are not necessarily located on the 88 temple pilgrimage course, stopping at the Bekkaku 20 temples increases the total distance by about 160 km. You can receive a Bekkaku temple stamp in your stamp book as with the 88 temples, and also collect prayer beads (nenjudama) which are distributed only at the Bekkaku 20 temples.

Website of the Association of Shikoku Bekkaku 20 Temples  http://www.bekkaku.com