Introducing the Shikoku pilgrimage through the latest research

The Shikoku pilgrimage (in Japanese, Shikoku Henro) is a large, circular route approximately 1,400 kilometers in length around the island of Shikoku that has eighty-eight sacred sites related to the Buddhist priest, Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi). The original form of the pilgrimage originated in the severe ascetic practices of Kūkai more than 1,200 years ago, and it has evolved over its long history to become a living culture of Shikoku that still attracts many people to the island welcoming them with a unique hospitality. Academic research on the Shikoku henro has been conducted in a variety of fields, including history, folklore, religion, sociology, and literature, and dramatic progress has been made in the past twenty years. The Research Center for the Shikoku Henro and Pilgrimages Around the World at Ehime University, which plays a central role in this research, has published Shikoku Henro no Sekai (The World of the Shikoku Pilgrimage), an introductory book based on the latest research. through the publisher Chikuma Shinsho

The World of the Shikoku Pilgrimage ‘Shikoku Henro’

Our Center started research activities in 2000 as “the Society for the Study of the Shikoku Henro and Pilgrimages of the World”, with members from the academic staff of the faculties of Law and Letters, and Education of Ehime University. Our cross-disciplinary collaborative projects and publications were highly evaluated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2014. That same year was the 1200th anniversary of the Shikoku Henro, which also helped to raise popular interest. In 2015, the Research Center was affiliated with the Faculty of Law and Letters, and later, in April 2019, it became a university-wide Center.

The center brings together faculty members from various fields such as history, literature, sociology, law, economics, and tourism, and promotes interdisciplinary research on the Shikoku henro and pilgrimages around the world while collaborating with other universities, museums, and government agencies. It also strives to contribute to the local community through academic cooperation for the registration of the Shikoku Henro as a World Heritage Site.

This book is a collection of essays in Japanese on a variety of topics related to the Shikoku Henro and pilgrimages of the world by researchers from inside and outside the university. We hope that the latest research introduced in this book will deepen your interest and understanding of the mysteries and appeal of the Shikoku Henro and pilgrimages of the world.

Winner of the 36th Ehime Publication Culture Award


Chapter 1 - The creation of the Shikoku henro (Tsutomu KAWAOKA)
Chapter 2 - The Shikoku henro and classical literature (Kosei NISHI)
Chapter 3 - Shikoku as seen through pilgrim diaries from the Edo period (Hikaru EBESU)
Chapter 4 - Shikoku henro regulations during the Edo period (Jun INOUE)
Chapter 5 - The Shikoku henro as seen by stone path markers (Kenji IMAMURA)
Chapter 6 - The Shikoku henro and prohibitions to women (Masayasu MORI)
Chapter 7 - The Shikoku henro and the Meiji Restoration (Mirai NAKAGAWA)
Chapter 8 - Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) and Shikoku henro foundation legends (Takahisa OHMOTO)
Chapter 9 - The pilgrimage book, Heart Sutra and white attire (Hiroshi TERAUCHI)
Chapter 10 - Modern-day Shikoku henro as seen through haiku and literature (Makoto AOKI)
Chapter 11- The Shikoku henro and foreigners (David MORETON)
Chapter 12 - Various aspects of the Shikoku henro in the present day (Ikuo TAKEKAWA)
Chapter 13 - Asian pilgrimages (Hiroomi TAKAHASHI)
Chapter 14 - Islamic pilgrimages (Shin YASUDA)
Chapter 15 - European pilgrimages (Hiroshi YAMAKAWA)

■ Publication Details

Title:The World of the Shikoku Pilgrimage Shikoku Henro
Author:Research Center for the Shikoku Henro and Pilgrimages of the World
Publication Date:10 Apr. 2020

■ Research Center for the Shikoku Henro and Pilgrimages of the World

Published: 28 Jan 2021


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Funding information:

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science(JSPS) KAKENHI, Grant Number 25274124, 17H02386