I see I’m not the only one thinking about a cycling tour over Shikoku: the author of this article in the Japan Times has done just the same. Another Dutch madman. I guess I’ll start reading and get myself a good mountainbike first.
The island is sooo beautiful, it would really make a very relaxing (well, relatively speaking that is: the island is quite mountaineous) holiday 😎
Views from a bike: A scene on the way to Yokomine-ji Temple in Ehime Prefecture, number 60 on the Shikoku pilgrimage route. JAN-WILLEM PAIJENS PHOTOS
Now, where do I find books about this tour?
Maybe you have heard of the 88 Temple Pilgimage of Shikoku. This is a 1200 km long pilgrimage around the Japanese island of Shikoku. So, even with a longer stay of one week I would’t be able to finish that on foot or on bicycle.
But luckily has the “Exploring Kyoto”-guide a wonderful alternative: the 88 Temples of Omuro. This is a miniature-pilgrimage along the 88 temples on the mountains near the Ninna-ji Temple, in the north-west of Kyoto. And since today is a beautiful sunny day, today was the best day to give it a try!
The imperial prince and the 29th abbot of Ninna-ji was a devote follower of the great teacher Kukai (774-835), posthumously known as Kobo Daishi. Kobo Daishi came from Shikoku and after his death his followers established the pilgrimage-route on Shikoku along all temples Kobo Daishi was associated with. In 1829 Sainin decided to reproduce the pilgrimage-route on the grounds of the Ninna-ji and the works were finished in 1832, only to be destroyed by an earthquake in the next year. Since the reconstruction, the route has been popular by pilgrimers, joggers and locals with their dogs.
Here’s the route I fiddled together on guggl: