The First of many

day 1

I left form Tokushima to Bando station to begin. Yesterday it rained quite hard and it went through out the night. Luckily the rain had stopped just as I had left that morning around 6:30. From there it is about a 20 min walk to the the first temple Ryozen-Ji. This was probably the last easy task in the trip. The streets were empty and when I arrived the temple, there were a few people sweeping the yard, but no pilgrims.

To tell you the truth the temple was a lot smaller then I thought it would be, regardless it was still a sight. The temple office is off to the side so I get bit lost trying to find it. In the videos I had watched, it alway seemed to appear right away. Inside the temple shop there were two men and women that greeted me. I picked out my stuff (hat, white coat, staff, box of candles, incense, name slips and a small bag to carry them in)


I fumbled through the rituals at first, but eventually made it through and thanked Kobo Daishi for looking out for me. It was off to the next temple.

I encountered three issues right away.

  1. My bag gets very heavy and taking it off and on hurts my shoulders.
  2. Because of 1, this means that getting access to my camera is very difficult while walking
  3. Also I should have bought the bigger pilgrimage bag, as I tore the straps off on accident while taking off my bag.

I will end up taking alot of photos on my phone and uploading them to instagram when I can. By the way, still learning to use instagram. As I go along the coast, I will try to take more photos and that, but as it goes now, it’s difficult.

Some pictures of temple 2




Also really cool dragon statue at Temple 3


After temple 3 I didn’t take alot of photos. I followed the road with cars sweeping by me every now and then. I dodged into alleys between Japanese homes and walked among the fields where the mountains and fresh mist swirled around.

The view is amazing.

Tokushima, even the city, is country compare to Tokyo. Which is not a bad thing. The out skirts where I was walking was a blend of old houses with a few new builds popping up here and there. The streets had concrete cut outs for the rain to go through that looked as if had been done hundreds of years ago. It was like taking a step back in time.

I journeyed all the way to Shrine 7 that day. This day was one of the only days I didn’t know where I would stay. When I arrived at the temple I was utterly desperate. My legs hurt, my feet felt like concrete, my back was crying each time my bag went up and down. Thankfully, the temple staff helped me find a place.

It was a very broken phone conversation between me and my host that ended with me handing the phone back to the women that stamped and signed my book. To my absolute joy, my host picked me up and brought me back to a sleepy little guest house next to a bridge. It had a private room just for me. I showered and then took a nap, it was only 3 p.m., but I had started walking at 7:30. Later my host drove me to the closet convenience store where I grabbed one instant ramen for dinner and some bread for the next morning. I slept well that night.

Day 2

The next day I woke up around 5 and couldn’t get back to sleep. I ended up going through my route for that day, eating breakfast and doing some stretches until 7 when I left. My host (I wish I would have grabbed her name) stood out and watched me all the way until I disappeared around the corner. I can say that she saved me last night.

The day was pretty easy, my body had healed a bit from the last day and I was feeling a lot better since I had already booked my place to stay. This was until I got to the beginning of temple 10. Temple 8 and 9 are pretty closed to each other and out in the suburbs, but temple 10 is a bit in the mountains. As I reached the bottom I saw that there were just stairs. Lots of steep stairs. Each step I told my self that this was training for the next day when I would have to head into the mountains to temple 12. As I reached the top, my legs filled my head with all sort of insults , but something magical happened as I reached the top. There was a man waiting for me, actually men, with bags of O-settai (gifts) it contained green tea and some candies. I thanked the man profusely and took a seat at bench next to the stairs. Just as I sat, a group of women came up wearing pink. They also handed me O-settai, a towel, and with broken English and Japanese between us I had a conversation about why I was there and why I chose Japan. With this experience I was once again inspired to carry on. On this massive hill of a temple I also met a man that had done pilgrimage 37 times. You can see his book pages are completely red from the stamps.


Group of people handing out gifts. They were so friendly.


I descended temple 10 and ran into an older Japanese couple who I had seen through out the the day. They were having tea at one of the shops that went up to the temple and they invited me in to sit with them. The owner of the shop made scrolls using some of the paper slips you get at each temple. She could speak English pretty well as she had learned to speak with the foreign pilgrims that came through.

Soon we said our good byes and I was off towards the mountains to my lodging. That was until I ran into the older Japanese couple again. As I was walking to get ready to cross the Yoshino river, they started coming down the stairs. I waited for them and we ended up crossing the river and the small island to the other side. We didn’t speak much to each other, but when they went to rest, he gave me directions to temple 11. I had to go now. The walk was easy until the end which was a pretty steep hill. By now, my body was aching beyond belief and I could barely lift my arms.

Temple 11 was a bit run down, but still held its temple charm. The issue was that my lodging was in the opposite direction that I would need to go tomorrow. So in order to get to my lodging I had to walk back north. It was worth it though. The place is nice, clean, the host is pleasant and I got to wash my clothes. Tomorrow she will drive me back to temple 11 with some other guests that are staying here.

My arms hurt and there is still a long time to go, but I will do my best ~!

I arrived late Thursday night to Kansai airport. I was ready to be out of the air, after the first flight from the United States to Seoul (13 hours) and another 2 hours from Seoul to Japan my body was aching for some space and just to lay down. The airport shops and food options were open for a bit when I arrived, but I didn’t feel like eating. I purchased something from the vending machines and took a look around.

Kansai airport terminal 1 is a pretty much a large hallway with 4 floors. The first is all travel information and ticketing, second is food, third is shops and forth is arrivals. I posted some photos on my instagram. There is one picture of the hallway with all the shops closed. It reminded me of something out of the twilight zone.

To sleep I picked a bench next on the second floor, put on an eye mask and tried my best to get some sleep.


The next morning after getting as much sleep as I could, I took a shower at their lounge area then headed to the dining area to get some delicious breakfast. From the airport it takes around 2 hours to get to Tokushima station. You wind down the coast and go through Awaji Island to get to Tokushima/Shikoku. I met another pilgrim on the bus. A dutch lady named Hanika. She had already done the first half of the pilgrimage and was here to finish the second half. While I was whisped away from her when we got off by the crossing guard, I hope that she completes her journey.

I stayed at the JR Tokushima Clement Hotel, which is located at the bus and train station. I was planning to visit the first three temples today, but the train that goes to Ryozen-Ji (20 minute walk from bando station) was once every hour, the next one was at 3:30 which means I wouldn’t get to the temple until 4:30. If I planned to return to my hotel tonight, I would be doubling back and then walking the same steps tomorrow morning. So after waiting for a bit I decide to explore Tokushima a bit and then officially start the next morning.

I got quite confused on which train I would be taking. The station has 4 trains and I wasn’t sure which track I should get on. I asked 3 different people just to make sure until I finally figured out the train timing sheet that was posted. Hopefully walking is a little easier for me haha .

For these first 2 days, most of the picture are on my instagram. It was easier to just take the photos on my phone and post as I need to rearrange some of my pack to be able to use my camera easier.


The 88 Temples

October 16th I fly to Japan to start my journey of the 88 Temples of Shikoku. A pilgrimage that spans the whole island of Shikoku, 800 miles or pavement, mountains and sea.

I will be walking most if not all the way. Which will take around 40-45 days.

Below is a map of Shikoku with the temples marked around the island. Most of the temples are associated with the Buddhist monk, Kōbō Daishi, who was born on the island.

Find out more about the Temples and things here -

and also here -

Map of Shikoku with the Temples - Link

Why the Journey?

I believe life is full of adventures and tests that help make us who we are. Sometimes though, you must seek those adventures and tests. For me the Shikoku pilgrimage is a personal test to see who I am and who I might become. It is a journey that will test me in different ways that many other experiences cannot. My aim is to learn more about my self and more about what might be out there.

why Now?

There are best times to do the pilgrimage, early spring or beginning of fall. This is to avoid the scorching heat or the brutal winters. I turned 28 this year and have been working for 5 years out of college. While the daily life is great, something kept nudging me in the back of my mind. It is like my life needed some sort of event, a corner stone that I could look back on and go “If I could do that, I can do anything”. I will be turning 30 in a couple of years and well, I am not getting any younger. For me, I feel that I need to take some time to think and really get to know myself, so that I can accelerate any success that might be before me. It is a long time relative to me, but I am excited to see what may happen. I have no expectations, I will keep myself open to all possibilities.

Good luck O-henro!

I will be updating this blog as best as I can through out my travels. Check back here and my instagram for new content.

Until next time! Safe travels!

Mackinac Island Fun

Before heading out to Japan I was able to spend sometime at Mackinac Island with my girlfrien, Eve. It was a little on the chilly side and it did rain ta night, but regardless it was a enjoyable time.

Here some photos below.


Downtown. It was overcast most of the time, but the sun did make its appearance sometime.

Arch rock

Obligatory Arch rock picture.

Inn at Mackinac

Our accommodations for the second and third night. They were painting things all over the island. I know a lot of the island is closed after this week, so might be doing some last minute painting before winter.

Tea Time

Tea time at the Grand. From 3:30 to 5 in the main lobby of the Grand you can enjoy tea time. Unlimited tea with some small sandwiches and sweets. They also have a harp playing in the lobby while this is happening.

Pictures of Eve doing some Eve stuff.






The colors on the island where turning while we were there. As we got more north the more colors appeared. Walking through out the island was very enjoyable.

Can’t wait to return next year! Until next time.

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