Welcome to the Shodoshima 88 Guide

I started this journal as a way to encourage others to visit Shodoshima and see some of these amazing temples.  I wanted to provide a source of information for non- Japanese speakers.

The basic information is at the end of the guide - transport, accommodation list , costs etc. The main part is a day by day guide. This is finished now, but in a basic  form. It still needs some work. In particular please feel free to comment and add extra information on accommodation, route finding etc.... I will incorporate comments into the guide as soon as I can.

Here's the view that inspired me to do the pilgrimage

I hope you will be inspired by the pictures on this page and by the idea of visiting this beautiful island.

Many people have heard of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage and find the idea of the trip attractive but its a daunting prospect:  8 weeks off work, hiking 1,000k,  the expense involved and  so on. Also there are lots of books and websites that discuss the misery of walking in the rain, blisters, loneliness etc.

I don't pretend that you won't have any problems on the Shodoshima 88, but the island is renowned for its fine weather and mild climate, you can fit the whole trip into a two week vacation, the island is small so you can always get back to the main town and a comfy hotel easily - either by bus or taxi - and if you live In Japan already, its very accessible for a "remote" place with ferry connections to places like Kobe, Osaka, Himeji and Okayama. 

If you have completed the Shikoku 88, or visited some of the more famous Temples there as a tourist, you will find that this pilgrimage has a very different "flavor". It's very quiet. There's a real pilgrimage season in the spring when you will see some small bus / taxi pilgrim groups. The whole time I was there I saw ONE other walking pilgrim and found myself at a temple at the same time as a bus group once or twice. It's pleasantly uncommercial. The temples are a mixture of styles, sizes and locations but they all have great atmosphere and some are truly awe inspiring.

While you walk you will see wonderful scenery, you are never far from the sea, and if you decide that pilgrimage is not for you, there are some fun  "tourist" things to do.

Happy Trails


Note about Pictures

I took one picture at every temple on the route. I used to think that I would put them all on this Journal; now I'm not so sure - I don't think I should show you everything - you should go there and see it with your own eyes. One of the greatest pleasures of a trip like this is that its is never what you expect it to be and your view changes every minute. So I will include a few pictures - maybe one for each day of the hike. 

Shodoshima 88 Day One Temples 1 - 6

My first day on the Shodoshima pilgrimage gave me a taste of some different types of temples typical of the island from ancient caves, to well kept neighborhood temples and those housed in  shabby front rooms and garden sheds. 
I hiked from 11am to 5 pm and stayed at a minshuku in Furue.

From Sakate Bus Garage back track and turn up a street of old houses (  away from  the sea). You will first pass Sakate Kannon Ji (Temple #3 ) on the left. A shinto shrine appears soon after on the right. The road curves up the mountain - as you hike up, look up and see two peaks like a thumb + forefinger. To the right a small statue is just visible (this is the Kannon before Temple 1) and to the left a larger one (this is the big Kobo Daishi at Temple 2).

Keep going up, you will pass by a small (funeral?) temple, which is painted red and white, follow the road around, and at the gate turn left on a concrete path along the mountainside.

The path leads past a seating area overlooking the sea to reach Temple 1 (Dounzan). CAVE!!

Continue along the path in the same direction to reach Temple 2 (Gosihi Zan). This temple is on the right, up the driveway. There's  a place to sit and a giant statue of Kobo Daishi. However, this is just a warm up. Continue across the temple grounds, go up the steps to the left and then down again to get to the main shrine.  ANOTHER CAVE!!!

The young priest is friendly and speaks some English.

Go back the way you came to reach Temple 3 (Sakate Kannon Ji) 
(There is a bathroom here).

From Sakate Kannon Ji, go back down to the mainroad at Sakate. Turn right along the main road, then left at the roadsign for the "24 eyes" village.  This will bring you to   on the beach at Furue and Temple 4 (Furue An).

Next, follow the main road up and away from Furue, with the sea on the right (beware of buses on this road!).  At the bus stop (drinks machine) turn left and cut across the "neck" of the peninsula to the sea on the other side. Follow the road to the right, sea on the left.  Look out for the black wood building on the right. Turn right here and follow the red hand signs around the houses to reach Temple 5 (Horikoshi An). Its a temple in the living room of a very modest house.

Out  of number 5, turn left at the blue boy sign ( you will see a white  sign with red "Henro Michi" writing) hanging on the fence, or tree. Follow a rough track thro' the fields at the back of the village, then up and over the mountain, thro' the bamboo forest to reach      Temple 6 (Tanoura An). Its located just after the houses begin in Tanoura. Its well kept and has a nice clean bathroom, as well as an attractive Jizo group.

Back over the mountain to Furue.

Shodoshima Guide Day Two Temples 6 -13, 15 -17 plus 21

Day Two is a busy day. You walk through a sometimes (sub)urban landscape, through houses and past factories, including the Soy Sauce Factory and its famous ice cream (!). I got lost quite a few times and so covered relatively little distance, even though it’s a lot of Temples - they are close together. At this stage I didn’t have the guide book and I was struggling to come to terms with the small scale of the hike, so I kept going too fast and missing turnings. Pay attention!

This hike took from 8am to 4pm approx.

From Furue, the next Temple is #10. Go up to the main road (436) and turn left. Go past the Neo Oriental Hotel. There are two restaurants (open for Lunch 11.30 - 2pm) and a café (open 10am - 5pm). Up the road, you will see Saisho An (Temple 10) on the right, opposite a Gift Shop. It has a pay phone, playground and benches under a roof.

#7 is next - turn right and go up the road. Turn right at the side of the Soy Sauce Factory, go up the road to the village, past the school on the left and a fancy restored house on the right. Mukai An (Temple 7) is on the left up some steps. There is a toilet, and cozy rest area with chairs.

Go back down to the main road, turn right, go past the factory and turn right again at the cake shop. This road brings you to Joko Ji (Temple 8) which is a very pretty one, with nice gardens, souvenir shop etc. (Also picnic table and bathroom).

Mukai An - its like hanging out in your friends garage!

Go out of Jokoji opposite a Fudo Myo and Jizo. Turn right. At the end of this small street, turn left. After a small store on the left, turn right, go over the water and turn right so that you are going back up the other side of the canal. Koshin Do (Temple 9) is a small and shabby temple up steps on the left.

To go to #11, Go down the stairs, turn right, follow the path round to the road. Go down the road past the pond ( you may see soba drying outside near here). At the olive plantation turn right. Walk through the factory and turn right. Kannon- Do (Temple 11) is up above. It has a toilet, drinks machine and benches under a small roof.

Go back to the main road. Turn right. At the V keep left. Turn right at the river and go past the Shinto Shrine. After the memorial stone turn left and cross the water, walking with the canal on your right. Go straight, cross the road and follow the road as it curves around and up the hill to Okanobo (Temple 12). Its newly restored with two beautiful Jizo groups. (Toilet).

Its only five minutes from here to Eiko Ji (Temple 13). Leave Okanobo to the right and got through the houses to the big water. Turn right and Eiko Ji is on the right behind some neatly trimmed bushes. Pretty and neat.
Great Turtle!

Jump forward to #15. Go back down to the main road and turn right. Where the road curves around to the left, keep to the right and carry on down a small road next to a store.

Continue down this small road, cross the water, then look for a sign to the right for #15.  Up this minor road, look for Daishi Do (Temple 15) on the right behind the houses. It was under construction when I visited but with very friendly and helpful people.

Leaving #15 turn left on minor road and look for red and white "Michi" sign in the trees, on a small path. Follow this path through the woods and over the hill to Gokuraku Ji (Temple 16). Its very posh - large with gardens and koi pond.

At the opposite side of the temple turn right to go back up the hill into the woods - more red and white "Michi" signs to follow around the hill to #17.

Ichinotani An (Temple 17) is a home madeTemple above a cemetery. From here go down the hill to a small crossroads, there is a sign to the right for #21.
Seiken Ji (Temple 21) is a classic local temple.

I ended my day here and got the bus from Kankatei to the Olive Park (turn left to reach 436 and ferry port with its drinks machine and cafe).

Shodoshima Guide Day Three : Up the mountain for the first time!

This section starts at the Kusukabe Ferry Port, goes up the mountain and back down again. It would be convenient to stay at the Olive YH 2 nights and leave any heavy packs there. Its an easy stroll from there  along the 436 to the Ferry Port . ( The cafe there opens at 10am, (pasta and cakes, toilet etc, souvenir shop) but there are vending  machines outside - drinks and  ice cream. The udon shop next door opens at lunch time. You will be back here for Lunch)

I started at 8.30 am, cool and cloudy weather, ideal for an uphill hike

 Opposite the Ferry Port turn left and head away from the sea. Past the turning to Seikan- Ji on the right. (There is  a vending machine here that sells drinks and snacks. (Choc-an-Pan + chips)

Carry on up the road and turn left (sign) to Kinoshita - An(temple 19).    The toilet here is like some one's house - heated seat, toilet slippers etc. I met a nice old lady here. 

Go back to the main road and turn left up the hill to head for #14
Its a two hour straight hike up the hill from 19.  Go along the main road past a little road side shrine and a couple of ponds, plus a hotel (?) and small store.  As you leave the houses behind, there is a large Kannon group on the right. Just past this, turn right  at a Henro Michi arrow. Follow this path up the hill thro'  the woods. 

It comes out at Inotani, next to a pond.  There is a junction of three roads. The main road uphill goes to the Kankakei Cable Car station, so buses and taxis pass by here. The minor path (steep) heads to the right and uphill to #18. The main road to the right is the way to #14 and #20. 

Walk along the road, past #20 to reach Kiyotaki-San (temple 14).  You can see it from the valley. its the home of Fudo Myo, so worth the trip. Awesome!!

There's a gift shop, and cooler with juice for sale. There was no one around (despite the presence of a house with a car parked outside), so I left a note with the money for my purchases and headed back to #20.
( I some times feel a little nervous wandering around these places on my own, but it seems to be common that they are unattended, or that the priest only comes out to speak to groups).

Turn back along the road to reach Hotokegataki (Temple 20). Its another great cave, really beautiful. However, the ladies that work there gave me a little bit of a hard sell on buying charms etc.

sign showing the many attractions of Temple 20  -Hotokegataki

Continue back to Inotani and take the small steep track to the right to go to Sekimon Do (Temple 18) Beautiful at any time of year, but when the trees are green its wonderful, like being bathed in green sunlight. This is the Temple that inspired me to do this pilgrimage. Its part of the scenic walk up the Kankekei Gorge (Ura 8 views Walking Track) - a worthwhile trip in its own right.  Then back to Inotani, follow the path back down to the main road and descend.

After passing the crossroads with the hotel, the small store and the roadside shrine, turn right after a small sewing factory (sign on lamp post), cross the yard of a Shinto shrine and follow a stone sign up a small hill, thro' the cemetery to Mineyama -An (temple 22)  This is Jizo land.  

You can see a school down below, follow the path down, and make a  "U" around the school (left to road, right, right again) to reach  Hon-Do (Temple 23) It seems slightly shabby and unloved.  Continue to right on the road and come out close to Kusukabe Port again.  

Turn right on main road. Henro Michi forks right just after the Bus Stop (bench, roof) and goes thro' a village. Book and signs do not match here. At Shinto shrine, turn right, head towards coke machine, turn left along a stone path to Anyo Ji (Temple24)   There are dogs! The ladies who live (?) here are very nice.  Then go around the back, follow the sign sinto the woods and up the steps to reach quiet and pretty  Seiganji An (temple 25)

From 25 the signs are clear to Sakura An (Temple 27) It has a pretty name but couldn't be uglier. Some took a temple and built a 1970's trailer around it. The shrine room is inside -  totally enclosed and with benches, cushions - it makes a good shelter. 

2 minutes from #27, down the hill, towards the sea is Amida Ji (temple 26). This is a "proper" temple.

You are back at sea level and 25 -26 - 27 are all behind the Olive YH and near to the Olive Park (onsen, cafes, gift shop). Also in this area is Dutch Pancake Camping, which has a restaurant.

Shodoshima Guide Day Four: A windy walk by the sea

 Day  Four brings you across  the Mito peninsula and along some wild and windy coast line. (You will also be exposed to the sun if its a sunny day)  It's very beautiful. 

I set off at  8am. It was very windy all day, with a little rain in the afternoon. (I later found out that boats between the island and the main land and Shikoku had been cancelled).

In the first part of this section , near the Olive Park, there are some hotels which might be altenatives to YH, also plenty of drinks machines etc, but take some supplies with you as there is a long stretch with not much on it. (Two  basic stores at Temple 31.) You can end the day at the road service area / family adventure park  (Furusatou Mura)
It has cafe, shop, toilets, art museum  (yes really!) and friendly staff who will book a room for you at a nearby hotel. (the Shodoshima Hotel is easily walkable but the staff will come for you in the car!)

From the YH / Temple 27 , turn west  along the 436. At the Olive Garden, turn left, off the main road. Follow the road up above the sea. As it leaves the houses, it curves around to the left and steps on the right side of the road kead up to a dirt  road. There are good signs. You pass by a few houses and communication towers. The dirt road comes out at  a "major"   road (near some sort of electrical plant?) Turn left onto road to reach a layby. At the layby, follow the sign left and down. Keep to the left of the valley, going past old farms. Go around the corner to the left and pass the Shinto shrine. Yakushi Do (Temple 28) is in a smart new "garden shed" type building facing the sea. There is an old picnic shelter with benches and a roof, also a toilet.

There are two ways to go on to #29. (I did both!)
The sea route: Go to the end of the street (sea) and Turn right, go to the post office and turn left. Walk along this main road by the sea - fantastic views,. Follow the road around, up and over the top of the hill, down the other side to the sea. Turn right at the sea. Stay on the main road (now the sea is on your left,) throughthe little village,  up the hill till you see a sign on the right, go up the driveway............to Kazeana An (Temple 29)... This takes quite a long  time. 

By the path: Go back up to the lay by, look to the left, you will see a path on the other side of the road (before the road descends) with red + white Micho signs. Follow this narrow path UP thro' the woods,  then downand  come out at the back of Kazeana An.  Much faster!

However, you get here, you can spend a long time enjoying the view.  Inside there are benches behind a sliding door. Shh! Jizo is asleep in his little palace!  There is an old house and a water tap, but not much else. 

To go onto to #30 + 31, go down the driveway, turn right and walk along by the sea. Shoho Ji (Temple 30) is on the right in a little village, (drinks machines)

Then back to the main road and on to Seigan Ji (Temple 31)  Its tucked down a side road, to the right  in the next village, there are two stores - on eby the temple , another a bit further on  along the coast road. 

'There 's  an extra temple on the way, a tiny minature toy shrine on a little hill. 

Coming down from the hill to the village of Muroo you reach Hojuji An (Temple 34) on the right side of the main street, up steps.  Its an active neighborhood temple where I met ladies doing some kind of work day who gave me snacks.

The  next temple AisenJi (temple 32) is on the right of the road, opposite the road service area. Its pretty with ornate roofs and carvings.


Note about O Settai

 O Settai is a gift given to a pilgrim. 

On Shikoku its very common for pilgrims to receive gifts and when I did my first pilgrimage there hardly a day went by when we didn't get something - a soft drink, fruit, cookies, a towel -  small useful stuff. We received it from car and bus pilgrims, local people, tourists. It's important to the giver; many people believe they can get merit by supporting pilgrims and it provides a connection to the pilgrimage for people who other wise have no reason to talk to you or appoach you. Always accept with good grace. You can re gift later......

On Shodoshima I received it only a few times - snacks, drinks and one time, some money ..........  - the pilgrimage is less well known here, fewer people are around and local habits are different.

It's still important to be nice to the giver, but you don't have to go over the top - just say thanks, have a brief conversation and move on. It's a nice tradition, but don't rely on it or ask for gifts.

Shodoshima Guide: Day Five Temples 33 - 42

More chances to get lost on this section, winding up the hill through the houses and fields to reach the Palace of the Fudo Myo, into a cool and friendly cave shrine and then back down to sea level. I f you keep moving, all this awe and wonder can fit into the morning. There's a convenience store at the end and a bus stop!

From the Road Service Area continue up the hill and over the other side, past the driveway of the Shodoshima Hotel. (There's a nice covered bus stop here, with cushions).  The first temple Choso Ji (Temple 33) is just down the road, on the right. It has a big shop which sells hair. I don't know  why....

Now jump forward to #36 + 37.  Turn right on to main road. Take the first right (store) and go down a long road past greenhouses. The road curves left by a factory, come out onto the 436, opposite Eneos gas station. Turn right and then take a left turn at Rumi's Hair Salon. Shaka Do (Temple 36) and Myoo Ji (Temple 37) are together on the same compound.  Shaka Do has a souvenir stand inside as well as benches for a rest.

Go back to the 436, and go to Eneos, Turn right and go straight at the next junction, cross the bridge and follow the road round to the left .  Komyo Ji (Temple 38) is a temple made of golden wood with contrasting white paint, on the right , opposite the barber shop. 

As you look at the temple, there's an alley way on the right. Go up it, turn left, then right next to the store. Stay on the footpath to the left of the water, and walk up through the cemetery to Matsukaze- An (Temple 39) Jizo, guardian of travellers is here at the cemetery. It's cool and dark, almost a cave, with wide ebnches inside and out. 

From here go to the road and follow it to the left to go to Hayashi An (temple 35)  I did get lost in this little maze of fields and houses and had to rescued by rubbish collector who walked me to this tiny garden shed style temple with its bizarre..... well... you will see. People come here to pray for pregnancy according to my guide.

On the road, go up the hill and then curve around to the right. There's a steep bank to the left, covered in orchard  terraces, looking out over the valley to the right. There;'s a little picnic shelter along here.  Then there's a left turn up the hill. Keep going up, up , up.....  I guess there is a small michi on the left but I missed it and walked on the road  (curves around a bit) until a right turn up a minor road to get to  Nishino Taki (temple 42). 

It's a wonderful place with commanding views.It's also a bit of a maze with quite few different shrines, a scary tunnel in the rocks, a gold FudoMyo shrine blackened with goma smoke,  a small guest house (?),  so spend some time, explore and enjoy....... It would be a great place to be in the fog. The day I was there a peacock was strutting around, very pleased to have escaped from captivity down in the valley.

Go out of the back of Nishino Taki, past the toilets and follow a narrow and rocky path to Bukkoku Zan (Temple 41) 
This is another treat. A cave shrine where you can get right up close to the shrine. A nice lady is in charge here - sh ehas two sons (one of whom is the priest at #2). She speaks English a little and asked me lots of questions. She also called the lady at  #40 to say I was on my way.  There's a picnic shelter and seats.

From here go down the driveway to the road and begin to descend. On the left you will see a small jizo. Turn left here down a steep and rocky path, loose stones. (in bad weather it might be an idea to stick to the road). At the pylon keep straight on. At the memorial stones keep right to out behind Hoan Ji (temple 40) . It has a big tree.

Go to the road and turn right to get to a bus stop opposite a convenience store. You can get to Tonosho on the bus from here.

Shodoshima Guide : Day 6 :From Temples 43,44,45 thro the 50s and back to Tonosho

This is quite a long section, with a lot of temples on it, but it does start and finish in Tonosho and a comfy hotel room, so there's no need to carry much.

These temples can be reached in two ways - the first is as a side walk from 36 + 37, the second (which is what I did )is as a trip from Tonosho. There are not many buses along this road  and the first is at 7.21 am from the High Speed Terminal. 

Temple 43 (Jodo-Ji) and 45 (Jizo Ji Do) are  on a small and untidy compound right by the bus stop, (drinks machine) - just go up the steps.

To the left of the steps, the michi heads up to Temple 44 (Yubune San). 15 minutes walk. Its a steep path, marked by the red / white tin signs. Cross the road once. The second time you meet the road, turn left and walk on the road until you see the lamps and bell on the right above the parking lot. 

Go thro' the grounds of 44 and see steps down to the rice terrace. Turn right and walk along the terrace to the road. At the road tunr right and follow the road to the cemetery. On the left theres a sign for 47. You can follow a path thro the woods(red/white signs) to reach Temple 47 (Toganoo San) which nestles in the wall of the mountain. Several shrines including Kobo Daishi as a teacher, in the corner on the right.

From 47, its about 10 minutes to Temple 48 (Bishamon Do). Follow the path to the left and descend a steep and rocky path (look out for a sharp Left turn on a flat rock). Bishamon Do is a very pretty spot by the river.

Temple 46 (Tamon  Ji)  is down the hill from 48. It is well signed with white + stone markers. There is a cool underground shrine . There is a great view of the Dai Kannon.  (Toilets are on the parking lot). 

From here, go to Temple 74 (Emman Ji). Go down to the road & follow the main road past the bus stop and school. Turn right at the sign for #74 (1.5k). Up the road, at the markers go left then right. 74 is on the right after the 2nd marker. Its very unassuming and easy to miss.It has a quiet and pretty garden with a picnic table under shade. (15 - 20 minutes from #48).

From 74, go back tp the main road ( 253) and turn right. BE CAREFUL ON THIS SECTION _ BIG TRUCKS_ NARROW ROAD!
Carry on past the junction with the 26 Temple 49 ( Torin An) is on the right, off the road up steps, about 30 minutes walk.
There is a shelter with benches.

Go right on the road, past drinks machines. Right up the side road and Temple 50 (Yuku An)  is on the right opposite a pond. Stay on this side road as it climbs up to the right. 

Temples 51 ( Hodo Bo), 52 (Kyuhachiman Gu) and 54 (Hosho In) are all together on a large rambling compound on the right atthe end of this road , behind a large wall. Its easy to miss 52 (its behind the big tree, through a gap in the wall).  There is some really great stuff on this compund.........     (Temple 53 is some way on......).


Going out off the compund, turn right, follow the markers thro the cemetery and along some small paths. Curve around a wall and climb up to Temple 55 ( Kannon Do)  

The michi continues at the back of Kannon Do to Temple 56 (Gyoja Do).  Take the path, not the road and climb up and up to reach a nice walk thro the woods. Come out onto the road at a small Jizo. Look right and you can see the corner of #56 sticking out. There may be a nice breeze up here. There's a bench under the porch that gives some shelter. Its mysterious .... look through the little spyhole to see the light inside.

The michi continues at the back, going down the hill, past the shinto shrine. 

You are above the Olive Town Shopping Centre in Tonosho which is the largest retail place in the island. It has supa, drug store, convini, Joyfull restaurant, fast food etc. The best deal here is in the market hall. There is a fish restaurant (sit in garden chairs) I paid Y 800 for rice, miso soup, three fish dishes and tea. Very nice ladies.   

Behind the main street back to Tonosho Port you will find Temple 58 with its huge red and whire chinese gates, and amazing pagoda.

Continuing thro Tonosho towards the sea you may miss Temple 64.  Its easy to miss, up steps between a mechanic and a dry cleaners. Very shabby indeed. Just down the road is the Shodoshima 88 Association HQ, on the right.  A right turn here will bring you back around  to the road for Temple 57 (Togen Bo).  see next day......