If you are planning to walk the Shikoku pilgrimage for the first time, it may be a good idea to go with a guide who is familiar with the pilgrimage route, the local information, customs and history.
There are not many interpreter-guides who can guide you through the Shikoku pilgrimage, but the four introduced here are fluent in English and who are ready to help you enjoy and fulfill your experience.
We asked each of them to introduce themselves. So, please feel free to contact them!
Born and raised in Tokyo and moved around Japan as a reporter for a nationwide newspaper. I have guided over 1,000 guests from all over the world. I’m also a freelance travel writer.
National-licensed English guide interpreter
What I Love
I am an enthusiast of Henro. As a reporter, I wrote various articles about Henro and pilgrims. When I quit the job to settle down in Kagawa, I walked the Henro trail by myself for 1200km in 43 days. To explore the world of the pilgrimage more, I walked Santiago de Compostela for one month as well.
What I would like to do
I’m passionate about telling the stories of Henro. Not only guiding pilgrims, but sometimes I get invited to make a presentation about my experience. It is my mission to pass the long tradition of Henro to the next generation both domestically and globally.
What I recommend
Shikoku has many hidden treasures. Several islands have mini versions of Henro (Shima-Shikoku). If you don’t have enough time to complete Shikoku Henro, why don’t you try Shodoshima Henro for a week? You would encounter breathtaking views and kindness of locals on the way. Naoshima and Teshima are also unique where contemporary art works and traditional lifestyles coexist.
Hi, my name is Mitsi Morikawa. I was born in Osaka and currently living and working in Kagawa Prefecture. After graduate studies, I lived and worked in the U.S. and New Zealand for over 20 years. During that time, I worked as an interpreter and translator in Silicon Valley and later managed a spa business in Queenstown, New Zealand. I also had an opportunity to be a part of the trans-Pacific crossing from San Francisco to New Zealand, visiting dozens of countries over a period of 13 months. Since my return to Takamatsu, Kagawa 10 years ago, I have been teaching English at Kagawa University and freelancing as a tour guide in the area. I also provide training for the tourist industry and promoting projects around sustainable tourism.
Guiding and interpretation experiences
- Interpretive guide for media in Shikoku, Kagawa and Ehime prefectures
- Interpretive guide for a media video broadcast to Singapore organized by JR Shikoku
- Contributed to Lonely Planet (2022 edition) tour guide book on Shikoku. This edition ranked Shikoku as the 6th best region to visit in the world.
- Consecutive interpretation for Lonely Planet Managing Director Jim Brody during his visit to Japan
I provide international guide services to travelers visiting Kagawa Prefecture. My passion lies in guiding tourists on the island of Shodoshima, as this is where my ancestral family is from. My goal is to promote the natural beauty of Shodoshima island.
I am committed to offering professional and memorable travel experiences to international tourists to Shikoku. It has always been an honor for me to connect the hospitality and culture of the local people to international tourists who are wanting to live a “WOW” experience.
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Facebook: Mitsuyo Morikawa
Born in Kagawa. Graduated Marymount College, Palos Verdes. Graduated California State University, Sacramento B.A in Art.
Worked for an advertising agency outside of Los Angeles.
Started my own company after returning to Japan, and is now working as a tour guide and an English teacher.
President of Shikoku Henro Guide-Interpreter Association.
Kagawa Local Guide-Interpreter
Official Guide of Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.
What I recommend
Temples and Shrines in Kagawa prefecture including Shikoku Pilgrimage.
Art Island Naoshima and Teshima.
I can take you to the deep and authentic places that I know only because I’m a local guide.
Shikoku has wonderful nature, history, and culture that are not found in large cities.
I want many people to know about Shikoku, especially Kagawa Prefecture where I grew up.
I also want to help preserving and transmission of the Shikoku Pilgrimage culture by informing its amazing history and culture to people from abroad.
Born and raised in Tokushima, and currently residing in Tokushima. After graduating from university, worked as an editor for a local magazine in Tokushima, then worked for a film distribution company and a wooden furniture manufacturer before becoming independent in 2017. While providing language (Japanese-English) support services for overseas product designers and international/domestic brands, also active as an interpreter-guide.Involved as an official tour guide for the Setouchi Triennale, as well as in the creation of inbound content for the zero-waste town of Kamikatsuin Tokushima and the Nishi Awa (Western Tokushima) region, which includes the Oboke and Iya areas.
What I Love
I just love Shikoku, of course. I naturally became a huge fan of Kukai when I learned about his great deeds, as well as my grandparents’ pilgrimage. I also attended “Odaishi Ko” (which is the anniversary of the death of Kobo-Daishi <Kukai>, where neighbors gather at their homes to chant sutras every month). I am currently on my third circuit of the pilgrimage with my 7-year-old daughter. In addition, I love the islands in Setouchi and the Setouchi Triennale, and I have been active as a guide for the “Setouchi Triennale Official Tour” since 2019. I travel around the islands, and I have given guided tours on all the islands where there are Triennale artworks and museums (Naoshima, Teshima, Inujima, Shodoshima, Oshima, Ogijima, Megijima, Takamijima, Honjima, Ibukijima, and Awashima).
What I would like to do
I hope to serve as a “bridge” for peoplewho want to get to know Shikoku more deeply, not only by visiting temples through the Shikoku Pilgrimage, and learning about their history and stories passed down through the generations, but also by experiencing the beautiful scenery and communicating with people in the surrounding areas.In addition to information related to the Shikoku pilgrimage, I would also like to provide information on recommended stops around the area (places that you should definitely visit if you come to Shikoku), as well as dining experiences that you should not miss.
What I recommend
While enjoying the pilgrimage, we hope you will also experience, learn about, and enjoy the traditions and culture of each place in Shikoku. In Tokushima, for example, you can experience indigo dyeing, making one-of-a-kind handkerchiefs or scarves dyed in the colors of Japan Blue to take with you on your travels. A short distance away, you can stop by Kamikatsu Town, the first town in Japan to declare itself a “zero-waste” town, boasting an 80% recycling rate. Kamikatsu also has a lot to offer, from hiking on beautiful Mt. Yamainudake to tasting Kamikatsu Awa Bancha tea, a unique and important intangible folk cultural asset! A trip to the Iya region is also recommended, where you can catch a glimpse of authentic Japanese life (including the famous vine bridge) as it was in the past as well as enjoy Iya’s renowned hot springs.
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