Walk with Bud­dha

Action Asia - - REAL DEALS -

EX­PLOR­ERS KEEN ON A MORE SPIR­I­TUAL sort of hike will find plenty of in­spi­ra­tion among the tem­ples of Shikoku. Tra­verse Ja­pan’s fourth largest is­land on a 1,200-year-old pil­grim­age route ded­i­cated to Kobo-daishi, a revered fig­ure in Ja­pa­nese Bud­dhism. The 88-tem­ple pil­grim­age, one of the old­est in the world, takes a cir­cu­lar route over 40 days or more if you make ev­ery stop. Walk Ja­pan of­fers a more man­age­able 11-day tour, tak­ing in 27 tem­ples while cov­er­ing more than 1,000km by ve­hi­cle and on foot. Trav­ellers will come across rugged, cliff-lined shores fac­ing the Pa­cific Ocean, Shikoku’s in­te­rior of tow­er­ing moun­tains and deep val­leys, and the coastal plains abut­ting the Seto In­land Sea. Start­ing in Tokushima and fin­ish­ing in Taka­matsu, the hik­ing sec­tions vary in length f rom an easy 9km, to a mod­er­ately tax­ing 18.5km, fol­low­ing a mix of moun­tain trails and paved paths. Though t r a ns port c a n b e a r r a nged i f nec­es­sary, walk­ing the trail is the best way to con­nect your­self with the ex­pe­ri­ence. In the words of Kobo-daishi: “On the way of the 88 Tem­ples, any­one that you meet, any­one that you hear, any­one that you see; they are all man­i­fes­ta­tions of Bud­dha.” The tour starts at JPY524,000 per per­son. Learn more at www.walk­japan.com

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