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BEGIN Japanology

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Mar. 30, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on May 3, 2012

The Shikoku Pilgrimage

The Shikoku Pilgrimage involves visiting 88 Buddhist temples spread across Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's 4 main islands. The route is 1,200 kilometers long, and to walk it takes around 50 days, although most people today ride in a car or bus for at least part of the journey. The pilgrimage can be traced back to Kukai, a 9th-century Buddhist high priest who reached enlightenment in the wilds of Shikoku. These days, many older people undertake the pilgrimage as a way of reflecting on their lives. Many young people do it to find out more about themselves.

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, our theme is the Shikoku Pilgrimage. We'll look at traditional expressions of religious faith and examine the challenges of modern life.