Shodoshima 88 Temple Pilgrimage
Enjoy an island pilgrimage experience
The Shodoshima 88 Temple Pilgrimage connects sites where the great Buddhist monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) is said to have trained and prayed on journeys between Kyoto and his birthplace in Sanuki (modern-day Kagawa Prefecture). At 150 kilometers long, the circuit takes about one week to complete, making it easier and more attainable than other pilgrimages. Pilgrims can be spotted on the island from time to time sporting their signature white robes.
Unlike the Shikoku Ohenro Pilgrimage, the more famous and much longer sibling, the Shodoshima route visits more secluded sacred mountains and ascetic training sites. The island itself is said to have been formed by underwater volcanoes, and the mountains are covered in caves and cliffs created through forces of wind and sea. The monk Kukai is said to have trained here.
Wear shoes and clothes that are easy to move around in, since mountain paths can be steep or rocky.
Some famous sacred sites include:
<Temple No. 2> Mt. Goishi
Circle the main deity Rosetsu Fudomyoo three times, and your desires will come true. Be rewarded with a stunning view of the Soy Sauce Village townscape and the islands of the Seto Inland Sea from the top.
<Temple No. 41> Mt. Bukkoku
In the cave that houses the main hall, ascetics lit fires long ago to warm and heal the sick. The mountain is said to be effective for good health and recovery from illness, and medicinal waters seep out among the rocks. The main deity is the Yakushi Buddha.
<Temple No. 42> Choshoji Temple: Inner Sanctuary and Nishinotaki Waterfall
Legend has it that long ago, the great Kukai sealed away a mischievous dragon in a pot, who promised to create the waterfall now flowing from the temple’s cave. At the vermilion Goma Hall, wooden prayer sticks are burned in the gomataki rite.
<Temple No. 54> Hoshoin Temple
On the temple grounds grows a 1,600 year old juniper tree. This giant tree, with a canopy 16.6 meters across and a height of 20 meters, is said to be a “power spot” with tangible spiritual energy.
<Temple No. 72> Ryokoji Temple: Inner Sanctuary (Kasagatakiji Temple)
A mountain temple soaring over the surrounding cliffs. Use chains to climb the steep rocks and reach the temple entrance, near which lies a mysterious cave in the stone. Entering this cave, called the “gate of joy,” is said to rid you of impurities and make you born anew.
- Renewing the Spirit