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Ohenro pilgrimages

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Pilgrimages in Japan

Pilgrimages are an important part of Japanese religious experience and have been practiced since Buddhism was first brought to the islands by the monk Kuukai. They are typically centered on holy mountains or famous Buddhist sites and sometimes to Shinto shrines as well.

This blog by Japanese teacher Megumi Ogura explores one of the most famous pilgrimages in Japan. The pilgrimage of sites in Shikoku island is one of the most well-known adventures in Japan which people do for a number of reasons, including finding oneself. It is a wonderful experience if you ever have a chance to engage in it.

Read this Intermediate level Japanese blog to learn new vocabulary. And listen to Ogura sensei read the blog herself to learn more Japanese pronunciation.

Ohenro pilgrimages


By Ogura Megumi


 みなさん、「お遍路」を知っていますか。 「お遍路」とは、約1200年前に空海が修行した88の寺院をたどる巡礼のことです。お遍路は徳島からはじまり、高知、愛媛、香川の順に巡るもので、約1400kmにもなります。すべての寺院を巡ることで願いが叶ったり、空海の功徳を得られるといわれています。最近では健康祈願近親者供養、運動のため、自分探しのためなど、目的は人それぞれです。






To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.


 みなさん、「お遍路(へんろ)」を知(し)っていますか。 「お遍路(へんろ)」とは、約(やく)1200年前(ねんまえ)に空海(くうかい)が修行(しゅぎょう)した88の寺院(じいん)をたどる巡礼(じゅんれい)のことです。お遍路(へんろ)は徳島(とくしま)からはじまり、高知(こうち)、愛媛(えひめ)、香川(かがわ)の順(じゅん)に巡(めぐ)るもので、約(やく)1400kmにもなります。すべての寺院(じいん)を巡(めぐ)ることで願(ねが)いが叶(かな)ったり、空海(くうかい)の功徳(くどく)を得(え)られるといわれています。最近(さいきん)では健康祈願(けんこうきがん)近親者(きんしんしゃ)供養(くよう)、運動(うんどう)のため、自分(じぶん)探(さが)しのためなど、目的(もくてき)は人(ひと)それぞれです。






Have you heard of the Japanese word 'Ohenro'? It means pilgrimage in English. The word 'Ohenro' refers to the ascetic practice travel that Kuukai made 1200 years ago in which he visited 88 temples. The 'Ohenro' begins in Tkushima and goes around Kochi, Ehime and Kagawa in that order, for about a 1400 km course. If you manage to visit all the temples, apparently your wish can be granted and that you can receive Kuukai's blessing. Recently there have been people making the pilgrimage for different motives, like to pray for good health, or to grieve for the loss of a loved one, to exercise and to find oneself.

In the past it was a difficult task since you would have to take a ship from Honshu island to Shikoku island and from then start the pilgrimage which would take several months. But now you can access Shikoku Island from Honshu by airplane and express bus. And its not just limited to walking, since you can take your own private car or go around by tour bus so it can be easily by driving.

The people who participate in the 'Ohenro' are known as 'Ohenro-san' or pilgrims, but there is a tradition of offering the pilgrims in Shikoku free food and drink and in some cases free rest or boarding, so you can experience the local peoples' kindness. If you ever have a chance to visit Shikoku island in Japan, please try out a pilgrimage or 'Ohenro' for yourself.

修行(しゅぎょう)water depth



巡(めぐ)る go around

功徳(くどく) blessing; grace

健康祈願(けんこうきがん)pray for good health

近親者(きんしんしゃ)close relative

供養(くよう) memorial service; grieve

自分(じぶん)探(さが)し search for self

自家用車(じかようしゃ) private car

気軽(きがる)に light‐heartedly

無料(むりょう)で for free

提供(ていきょう)to offer


Konnichiwa, My name is Megumi Ogura. I live in Ehime prefecture. Ehime has a lot of citrus fruits like oranges and lemons and you can eat them all year round. Also, we are surrounded by the Inland Sea so you can catch delicious fish in the nearby sea (I also go fishing once in a while). It is a place that is blessed with nature and a very relaxing spot, so if you ever get a chance, please come to visit.

I love getting to know about different countries, places and cultures. I would like to support you in your Japanese learning but not only that, I would also like to hear about your country and culture.

Please let me know all about them in the classes. Let's enjoy studying Japanese together!

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