Pilgrimage On Shikoku Island

Online forum for discussions related to the 88 temple pilgrimage on Shikoku, Japan.


    Henro trail @ New year ?? I

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    jrishav05@gmail.com

    Posts : 2
    Join date : 2018-11-25

    Henro trail @ New year ?? I

    Post by jrishav05@gmail.com on Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:10 am

    Hi,

    I am a foreigner living in Japan and am planning to do a part of the henro pilgrimage in Shikoku. I want to do around 200 kms in 10 days on foot. The main problem is that I want to do this at the time of new year when it is very cold and Japan is practically closed. So, I have few questions :

    1) I want to walk on 29th, 30th, 31st December, 1st January when nearly everything is closed in Japan. So, would it be possible to secure accommodation in a ryoukan or any inns on the henro path on these days?

    2) I know it would be around 4 degree C at that time. Has anybody tried to do this in this temperature ? Was it doable ?

    3) How does the booking system work for the inns on the path of henro ? Do I have to book all the inns before starting my journey or can i book each 1 day before my stay ?

    4) Finding vegetarian food is difficult in japan but since this is a Buddhist pilgrimage, I was thinking that vegetarian food will be available at the inns which come in the path. Am I correct or finding vegetarian food will be difficult on this path too ?

    Any kind of help will be deeply appreciated.

    Thanks in Advance.


    Shikoku Henro Trail
    Admin

    Posts : 215
    Join date : 2018-04-12
    Location : Chicago, USA

    Re: Henro trail @ New year ?? I

    Post by Shikoku Henro Trail on Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:15 am

    1) I can't answer this part of your question so will leave it for others to hopefully offer some advice.

    2) On the Planning/When to go page of the website i quote a woman who used to live in Tokushima and who thought that February was one of the best months to walk the trail. Her quote was:

    "Incidentally, another comment I have is about your suggestions re: when to go. In my opinion, the best months are February and November — being generally dry and sunny. I was in Kōchi 11-19 February and only had half a day of rain, and although other henro reported snow at Shosanji, it was never cold once you started walking (around 9-10 degrees c. most days). I dressed as for x-country skiing, with a polypropylene long sleeved vest under a polyester/wool combo lightweight sweater. That and the henro shirt was all (once I'd stripped off my Goretex jacket by mid-morning). I also have windproof hiking trousers. There were cold northerly winds but I had fleece gloves, a beret to keep the ears warm, which I exchanged for a peak cap when it got sunnier and warmer (I don't like henro hats), and a combination of scarves: a cotton temple one (like people tie round their heads), a thin Indian silk one, and a lightweight narrow wool one. I'd start the morning with all three and gradually remove all but the cotton one."

    3) If lodging is open, booking can be done a day ahead of arrival or even on the same morning. When i walk, i usually book each morning for that night's lodging; with rare but occasional bookings a day or two ahead if i think there's reason to worry. During Golden Week, i try and book a week in advance, but that isn't something you need to worry about.

    4) Vegetarian food is not normally served on Shikoku. At the minshuku and ryokan you will get the standard Japanese meal which includes fish, usually in several varieties. However, if you ask for a vegetarian meal when you make the booking, it seems more and more owners are willing to accommodate you. Maybe most owners? I don't know yet. The key is, though, to make the request when you call to make the booking, NOT when you arrive at the front door because by that time she has already done her shopping and bought your fish for dinner.

    Enjoy your planning and walk.

    Dave


    tneva82

    Posts : 14
    Join date : 2018-05-23

    Re: Henro trail @ New year ?? I

    Post by tneva82 on Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:28 am

    jrishav05@gmail.com wrote:

    1) I want to walk on 29th, 30th, 31st December, 1st January when nearly everything is closed in Japan. So, would it be possible to secure accommodation in a ryoukan or any inns on the henro path on these days?

    4) Finding vegetarian food is difficult in japan but since this is a Buddhist pilgrimage, I was thinking that vegetarian food will be available at the inns which come in the path. Am I correct or finding vegetarian food will be difficult on this path too ?


    For 1st: Definitely a worry so might be worth calling things ahead. Also prepare for some backup plans. One thing is to consider where possible plan to end near train stations so you could even take train to somewhere with business hotels. When I had no lodgings with room near #22 I took train to Tokushima and stayed at the business hotel there. One worry could be japanese tourists filling up those hotels though...There's also possibility that some lodgings take quests but won't provide food. I ran into this a lot in this summer and when that had happened enough I asked host is that because it's off season(july is NOT popular time and I can see why...) and got confirmation it is indeed because it was off season. As winter is off season with fewer pilgrims could be same.

    For 4th...Even temples seems not have vegetarian meals so definitely something you need to ask in advance for lodgings. How well that works I don't know as I eat pretty much anything nor have allergies so I have never asked anything specifically regarding meals. Sometimes have been asked if japanese meals are okay and always said yes(well I did find on my first trip something I could NOT eat...Rice+raw egg+soy sauce mixed together...)

    jrishav05@gmail.com

    Posts : 2
    Join date : 2018-11-25

    Re: Henro trail @ New year ?? I

    Post by jrishav05@gmail.com on Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:28 am

    Thanks Dave and tneva82 for your suggestions. I want to contact the lodgings but could not find any details. Do you know where can I get the contact information of lodgings on Henro trail?

    tneva82

    Posts : 14
    Join date : 2018-05-23

    Re: Henro trail @ New year ?? I

    Post by tneva82 on Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:26 am

    jrishav05@gmail.com wrote:Thanks Dave and tneva82 for your suggestions. I want to contact the lodgings but could not find any details. Do you know where can I get the contact information of lodgings on Henro trail?

    They aren't generally available through internet except for henro houses(https://henrohouse.jp/en) which don't cover everything. For rest pretty much no other option but map book and then call them. Though this does require some japanese generally I'm told. Haven't tried myself in english but I have read many don't speak really english all that well. Lodging booking is one major hurdle for foreign pilgrims who don't speak japanese(another reason that henro house is so convenient)

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