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How the Japan 88 Temple Pilgrimage is Different from The Camino de Santiago

Camino Badges
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
After walking the Camino de Santiago 8 times via 7 routes in the past 4 years, I recently walked the 88 Temple Pilgrimage in Japan. While they are both pilgrimages and have religious significance as well as spiritual and healing powers and other similarities the aim here is to explain how they are different to assist pilgrims who have walked one of these pilgrimages and are considering the other. Admittedly this is one pilgrim’s biased perspective but I have reviewed this with some other pilgrims and included their feedback as well. (Costs are in Yen for the 88 Temple and Euros for the Camino). ¥100 = $.92 = €.81)
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1. DIFFERENT RELIGIONS AND PATRON SAINTS:

The 88 Temple Patron Saint is Kukai, posthumously called Kobo Daishi. He brought Shingon Buddhism to Japan from China 1200 years ago. As well as being accredited with founding the Pilgrimage which means modern pilgrims follow in his footsteps, people believe he accompanies each pilgrim(henro) on their journey.

The Camino’s Patron Saint is Santiago (aka as St. James, St. Jacques, and St. Jakob) and one of Jesus’ 12 apostles. There is a legend that after his beheading in Jerusalem his body was recovered by knights who sailed with him on a stone ship to Galicia, Spain and buried him there in an unknown grave site. Then around 812 and at the same time as Kukai lived, a hermit reported a star hovering over a field and his religious superiors ordered excavations where St. James’ body was recovered. That field is the site of the Cathedral de Santiago and destination of its pilgrims.
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2. 88 HAS A DEFINITE RELIGIOUS FOCUS WHILE THE CAMINO ALLOWED FOR A MORE OPEN PERSONALIZED PILGRIMAGE:

Religion is very personal and this point in particular is opinion more than fact. 88 has a more religious focus while the Camino allowed for making the pilgrimage unique to each pilgrim. 88 suggests you go to 88 Temples for a stamp and follow protocols; bowing at the gate, rinsing your hands and mouth, bonging a large bell, reciting sutras (prayers) at the Main Hall and Kobo Daishi’s Hall, getting your book stamped by a monk, and departing through the gate and bowing a last time. This ritual was repeated many times of course and tends to keep one focused on Kukai and Buddhism. The Camino requires no church stamps and allows you to get your credentials stamped anywhere you choose, ie.; albergues, hotels, bars, even supermarkets, or churches if you prefer. Just about any business on the Camino has a stamp. This allows for a Camino pilgrimage to go in any direction one wants or perhaps Santiago chooses. Of course, ultimately each pilgrim makes his own pilgrimage unique by following one’s heart and instincts so anything is possible and each pilgrimage is special.

3. 88 HAS AN OFFICIAL OUTFIT:

It starts with a special walking stick that is considered the embodiment of Kukai. A simple white cotton outer vest(hakui) that represents purity and innocence. A stole (wagesa) that is what a priest wears. A white bag for carrying your stampbook and other essentials. A Sedge hat(conical rice field hat) to block the sun and rain. A mala which is a circle of beads (sort of like a rosary) you hold in your hands while reciting prayers (sutras). Interestingly, this practice of being “officially clad” is only 70 years old having started after the end of the War, when a bus tour company started the practice. A nice benefit is that you are easily recognized along the way as a henro (pilgrim). Optionally, you can forego all of these items and just walk.

There is no uniform for the Camino. It is only a simple scallop shell hanging from backpacks that designates a pilgrim. Interestingly though in contrast to the 88, in the medieval ages there was a uniform; a heavy cape that served as a raincoat, comforter, and nightly blanket. Also an 8 foot stave with a gourd attached for carrying water and a broad-rimmed felt hat turned up front and marked with 3 or 4 cockleshells.

4. STAMPBOOKS:

While both have stampbooks or credentials, the 88 book “Nokyocho” is like a credential and Compostela(completion certificate) rolled into one and more. A Pilgrim buys the book with usually a floral print cover. The paper is “Washi” which uses local fiber processed by hand. Before leaving each temple you take your book to its office and a monk stamps it with 3 red stamps; the temple name, the temple number, and the temple deity. He/she then using liquid black ink and a brush writes in Calligraphy the following; A Sanskrit Character for the Temple Deity, The Temple Name, The Temple Deity, and a Respectful Offering or Dedication to the Deity. Depending on how you look at it you are either giving a donation to the temple and receiving the stamp as a thank you or you are purchasing the stamp for ¥300. In either case you end up with a beautiful piece of art and treasured book. There is no requirement for this and some people just walk and do not get stamps.

5. 88 IS MORE EXPENSIVE:

It starts with purchasing your outfit which can total ¥15,000 or more if you buy everything. Also, the stamp costs add up at ¥300 X 88 = ¥26,400. I stayed in minshukus and ryokans (guesthouses) and occasionally a temple or hotel. Average daily cost was 7,000 which included 2 fabulous and filling meals. For those on a budget wearing the “uniform” and getting stamps is not required. Some people camp or stay in crude huts or look for people and temples that offer free accommodation to keep costs down. There are also Henro houses that usually offer cheaper, more basic accommodation, typically without food.

On the Camino albergues are usually no more than €10 and sometimes donativo. 3 course Pilgrim meals are €10-12. Consequently, average daily cost can be as low as €25. Getting a private room raises your costs but are quite reasonable.

6. 88 TEMPLE PILGRIMAGE IS LONGER AND HARDER THAN ANY OF THE CAMINO’S:

It is 1150 kilometers more or less depending on whether you take some busses or trains through the urban areas or walk all the way back from Temple 88 to Temple 1 creating a loop. Many of the temples are located on mountain tops or high up causing significant elevation changes on this pilgrimage. Probably the toughest day was from Temple 11 and up to 12 and down to 13 which required walking 37K and included 3,000 meters (4,951 feet) in elevation change. ( A wiser pilgrim would have stayed at Temple 12.) The last mountain was up Temple 88 and the last hour was perhaps the steepest and most difficult part of the pilgrimage. Scrambling parts if it using hands as much as feet.

Also, there was much pavement walking and more urban walking than any of the Caminos. Japan is very populous and most of the ancient paths are gone, replaced by modern roads. For example, pilgrims are required to walk through several heavily trafficked car tunnels. Although similar to the Camino, one can choose to walk at a slower pace.

7. THE FOOD:

Huge difference here. No wine. Just lots of green tea or occasionally a roasted tea or barley tea. A typical dinner at a guesthouse included; a soup of miso or seaweed, sashimi, cooked fish, picked veggies such as radishes and or cucumbers, occasionally tempura veggies or fish. Occasionally a bit of meat. And of course all the rice you wanted and green tea. Beer and sake were available for purchase. Breakfast included the same rice and green tea, but almost always some crisp thin seaweed, an egg usually served raw that you poured into your rice bowl, soup, some pickled veggies and a small piece of marinated or cooked fish. Often you would get a bowl of natto, fermented soybeans with small packets of mustard and soy that you poured onto the soybeans and stirred up. Most meals included a small sour fermented plum (umeboshi) to aid in digestion and prevent food poisoning.

Very different from cuisine on the Camino where a typical pilgrim’s 3 course dinner includes;

A mixed or Russian salad or soup or spaghetti and plenty of bread.
A roasted meat of ham, pork, chicken or beef with fried potatoes.
A packaged ice cream, custard, almond cake.

And instead of green tea you usually get a half bottle to a bottle of wine, or water.

8. DAILY RITUAL:

On the 88 Temple Pilgrimage and staying in a Minshuku, Ryokan, and even a Temple you are usually served a breakfast before departing. Upon arrival you are usually greeted with a tea. Before dinner a hot bath is drawn where you soak your whole body in hot clean water and real hot spring water if you are lucky. Sometimes in a public bath. Bathing is a tradition and common everywhere in Japan. Afterwards one dons a very comfortable Yukata (bathrobe) before an always delicious dinner. Last you retire to your room and sleep on a futon. Occasionally a western bed.

Going to the toilet should be mentioned as it can be a strange experience in Japan for a westerner. Occasionally the seat is heated. Often the toilet will have a built in bidet. You press a button and your bottom is sprayed. Occasionally there is a blower to dry your bottom as well. Makes it kind of fun. Personally I won’t miss the toilets so much but I came to really like those hot baths after a long walk.

The Camino is fairly similar except for the hot bath and Yukata. And while sometimes there is a communal dinner at the albergues, more often you go into town to a plaza and enjoy dinner outside with other pilgrims.

9. 88 IS A SINGLE ROUTE WHILE THERE ARE SEVERAL CAMINOS.

88 is a loop and while for westerners it is best to travel clockwise to follow the markers, there is no particular reason to start at Temple 1 or any other temple and thus no reason to end at any specific one. I ended at 88 and there was a rest stop before 88 where you got a certificate. Otherwise it is all about the journey and visiting each temple. Upon arriving at 88 it was a bit eerie in that it was quiet and no hugging or much celebrating. Very Buddhist, quite different from arriving in Santiago.

The Camino de Santiago has many paths( Frances, El Norte, Primitivo, Portuguese, Via De La Plata, Sanabres, Invierno, Aragones to name some) all leading to Santiago and/or Finisterre. The longest is Via de La Plata at 1,000 kilometers. However, some Camino pilgrims start from their homes and those people can walk up to 2,000K or much more.

10. MOST 88 PILGRIMS ARE NOT ON FOOT:

88 Temple Pilgrims are typically traveling by auto or bus or motorcycle. Some bicyclists as well. Out of approximately 100-150,000 pilgrims per year only 3,000 or so complete it on foot. While on the Camino, most pilgrims are walkers with some bicyclists and only a few traveling via auto, bus, or horse. Consequently, there are few other pilgrims walking making it more like the Via De La Plata than the Frances.

11. MAKE UP OF THE PILGRIMS:

The 88 pilgrims were 90% Japanese and the rest a mix of Americans, Danish, French and other Europeans, as well as a few Australians and Brazilians. Mostly older retired men walking solo. A few couples, usually retired, and a few female solo pilgrims. A Japanese henro told me that young people in Japan typically don’t have the time required, and see this as a religious experience. The trend in Japan as in many other parts of the world is the young are moving away from religion.
This was my experience and obviously might vary a bit by pilgrim.

The Camino, especially the Frances, has a much more diverse group. While there are some Spaniards, there are many German, French, Italian, Irish, Polish, American, Australian, Korean, etal. Old people, young people, families, people with handicaps, ie.; blind, wheelchair, one arm, cancer patients.

13. SETTAI VS. DONATION:

On the 88 walk people will try to give you things. This is called settai, or Osettai, which is a little more polite. The items people will try to give you might include anything; food items, full meals, canned drinks, beer, money, nōkyō stamps at the temples, lodging for the night, towels, clothing, various trinkets and crafts, a ride in their car.

I had no knowledge of settai as I started walking 88, but on the second day stopped for a settai(gift) of tea and snacks offered by a couple in their 90’s. They had been doing this for 17 years. There was no request for a donation or even a box or cup to place some coins. As I walked on the settai became frequent and at least 2 or 3 gifts were usually offered daily. Sometimes, a piece of fruit, a cold drink or hot tea, even accommodation in a home with breakfast and dinner.

I believe that the giving has important meaning to the giver. Some even believe they are making an offering to Kobo Daishi himself. Consequently, one learns to accept all of these gifts with gratitude. Thus, this pilgrimage becomes more special because of the beautiful “osettai” spirit that is prevalent.

On the Camino, there is a similar spirit, but it is usually by donation (donativo) and not as frequent and usually pertains to accommodations and food. This is beautiful as well but I find the “settai” spirit even more special as it is a pure gift. There is no desire to receive anything in return by the giver. This is not to say that donativo is a lesser gift. It is still a gift and all gifts should be accepted with gratitude. It also provides the opportunity for the receiver to be a giver and one learns on pilgrimage that there is more joy in giving than receiving.

Also, while I mention the purity of it, many Buddhists here do believe settai givers are giving to Kobo Daishi and gaining merit for their next lives. But some of the settai givers have been doing so for years and you sense they are no longer concerned with gaining merit but just do so for the joy of being of service. It is quite beautiful to sense and experience.
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In conclusion, either pilgrimage is a special experience. I hope you are blessed to be able to walk one or both. Arigato(thank you) and Buen Camino!

“You cannot travel the path before you have become the path.” Buddha
 

Leibniz

Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Astorga (2018)
Frances/Invierno from SJPP (2019)
Very interesting, thank you! I haven’t yet considered doing the 88 Temples pilgrimage but I very much enjoyed reading your post.
 

gschmidl

sator arepo tenet opera rotas
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo (11/2018), Camino Sanabres (4/2019)
One tidbit of note: the 300 yen for the temple stamp are, at the same time, a donation to the temple. If you don't collect stamps, please consider making a donation anyway.
 

samoht.w

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 SJPP to Santiago in September
2014 Camino Aragon
GR65.3.3 2015, 16, 17
Camino del Norte 2018
Wonderful description....Thank you
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Fantastic post Kevin, thank you!

I will be travelling in Japan for a month this November. Do you think it’s feasible and/or worthwhile to walk just a few days of the route, and if so, is there a particular section that you would recommend?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
Fantastic post Kevin, thank you!

I will be travelling in Japan for a month this November. Do you think it’s feasible and/or worthwhile to walk just a few days of the route, and if so, is there a particular section that you would recommend?
Actually, if I just had a few days I think the Kumano Kodo is a better option. It is a sister trail to the Camino de Santiago and offers a Dual Pilgrim Certificate. Also it is just 3-5 days. There are 3 trails and I did the Kohechi over 4 days. Great mountain walk. And you can tie it in to a visit to Koyasan and Okunoin Cemetary. Google both or you are welcome to ask further questions. I posted about both pilgrimages on my personal Facebook page which is public.
 
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Chromatistes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances sections (2012, 2014, 2015)
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino del Norte (2019)
Thanks for an illuminating and comprehensive post.
 

Trude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
Thank you Keith, I am walking the 88 temples in October and found this very interesting.
 

lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones, Norte
Thanks so much for this interesting comparison. I have heard of this route in Japan and had often wondered how it would compare to the routes in Spain (I recently completed my sixth Camino and am in the process of planning number 7 for the fall). It sounds like a fascinating option! How many days did you spend walking? Also, while walking the Camino, I prefer whenever possible to prepare my own meals. Would this be an option on the 88 Temples route? Thanks for any ideas you might have.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
Thanks so much for this interesting comparison. I have heard of this route in Japan and had often wondered how it would compare to the routes in Spain (I recently completed my sixth Camino and am in the process of planning number 7 for the fall). It sounds like a fascinating option! How many days did you spend walking? Also, while walking the Camino, I prefer whenever possible to prepare my own meals. Would this be an option on the 88 Temples route? Thanks for any ideas you might have.
I walked 36 days but I think the normal is 42 more or less. There is significant urban walking and I got tired of that so took a couple of busses and trains about 80K. I stayed in guesthouses where dinners were provided but they were very very good. Not sure about the cooking your own meals. Perhaps at henro houses(google them).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
Thanks so much for posting this, very informative and interesting.

What is the best time of year to do this?
 

Shades of Narnia

Sandi, Shades of Narnia
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, 2014
Camino Portuguese 2015
Camino Francis, 2016 & Hospitalera in Viana Spain
(etc)
Very interesting comparison....really enjoyed reading it, Kevin, thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
Thanks so much for posting this, very informative and interesting.

What is the best time of year to do this?
Summer is rainy now and July August are hot and humid so April May and October November are ideal.
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
Thanks for the very useful information on the Japan 88 temple tradition. I am intrigued and I have a few questions.

Since most people arrive at the temples in some fashion other than walking, is it only within very near proximity of the temples where the Settai experiences occur or do they mostly occur along the marked route and are primarily intended for walkers?

Although the prices (7,000 yen/day) are a BARGAIN for accomodations and eating 2 meals a day in Japan, those of us who travel on Camino budgets may need to be sure about pricing. I did a quick search on differences between Ryokan and Minshuku and found the website below. Would you agree with their description of these two types of accommodation? The article lists higher pricing: Ryokan starts at 10,000 and Minshuku 6,000 - 9,000. Are there discounts for "pilgrims" or are the Ryokans and Minshukus along the 88 Temples route less expensive in general? If choosing a Henro House to save money, after going out to find dinner and breakfast and the time it takes to organize and complete these tasks are you really saving any substantial money over the Ryokan or Minshuku? Do you use an App like bookings.com to arrange for these types of accommodations and is it necessary to book ahead or can you just show up as a walk in? Can you get by if you don't speak any Japanese?

If 7K Yen per day was the daily average for accommodation and 2 meals, what would you guess was your average total expenditures per day? At the accommodations, what does a beer cost or a bottle of saki?

Did you wear the Yakata and/or the whole outfit? If yes, do you think there are any special experiences or benefits bestowed on you because of it?

Thanks in advance for any follow up on all these questions.

 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
Thanks for the very useful information on the Japan 88 temple tradition. I am intrigued and I have a few questions.

Since most people arrive at the temples in some fashion other than walking, is it only within very near proximity of the temples where the Settai experiences occur or do they mostly occur along the marked route and are primarily intended for walkers?

Although the prices (7,000 yen/day) are a BARGAIN for accomodations and eating 2 meals a day in Japan, those of us who travel on Camino budgets may need to be sure about pricing. I did a quick search on differences between Ryokan and Minshuku and found the website below. Would you agree with their description of these two types of accommodation? The article lists higher pricing: Ryokan starts at 10,000 and Minshuku 6,000 - 9,000. Are there discounts for "pilgrims" or are the Ryokans and Minshukus along the 88 Temples route less expensive in general? If choosing a Henro House to save money, after going out to find dinner and breakfast and the time it takes to organize and complete these tasks are you really saving any substantial money over the Ryokan or Minshuku? Do you use an App like bookings.com to arrange for these types of accommodations and is it necessary to book ahead or can you just show up as a walk in? Can you get by if you don't speak any Japanese?

If 7K Yen per day was the daily average for accommodation and 2 meals, what would you guess was your average total expenditures per day? At the accommodations, what does a beer cost or a bottle of saki?

Did you wear the Yakata and/or the whole outfit? If yes, do you think there are any special experiences or benefits bestowed on you because of it?

Thanks in advance for any follow up on all these questions.

The settai experiences can happen anywhere on the pilgrimage. You are more likely to experience settai as a walking pilgrim and settai is specific to henros; 88 Temple Pilgrims so I would say yes you are most likely to experience it on the marked route but anyone who sees you and recognizes you as a henro may want to gift you.

I would say that the differences between minshukus and ryokans are a bit gray. I stayed in some new minshukus that were nicer than some older ryokans. And I stayed in some nice ones of both categories and never paid more than 9k I think. On average 6.5-7k. I would suggest experimenting at the beginning and trying different alternatives and find what suits you best. I think the best approach is to ask your hosts for a recommendation for the next night and they will almost always be happy to make the reservation for you. I had an app that is available to download “henro no akari” but did not use it that much. When you find settai stops ask those people for stay suggestions. Around Temple 70 there is a kind man who offers free room and 2 meals. His name is Tomoyoshi Kubo. Check in with him on FB and he should be happy to host you. He will even arrange to pick you up in his car as his home is off the trail. Also look for a woman named Kayochan who offers tea and snacks settai after Temple 45. She is listed in the main English 88 Temple Guidebook. For the henro houses you can just show up. But for the minshukus and ryokans and temples offering food you should book the night before. Of course speaking Japanese is a great help. I was blessed to walk with a Japanese friend for 26 days. But I did just fine on my 10 days solo relying on the help of guesthouse owners and others.

Because of the occasional free accomodations (ie; Temple 34 offers a free room you just ask for when you get your book stamped.) i would say my average daily cost was around ¥7,700 including stamps. Maybe less.

Beer and sake is about 300 or so in the convenience stores or machines. A bit more expensive at guesthouses.

The yukatas are bathrobes you are given at the guesthouses for your stay. The hakui and other pilgrim clothes you buy at Temple 1 or wherever you can. I actually had my hakui and wagesa made in Hoi An, Vietnam for about $20. I think the important part of the outfit is that it allows for people to recognize you as a pilgrim. That said if you are a foreigner “gaijin” and have a backpack and walking stick it should be apparent that you are a henro. Totally a matter of personal preference what to wear.
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
Thank you again for all the detailed information.
Can you recommend the guide you liked and any books or articles about this pilgrimage?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
Thank you again for all the detailed information.
Can you recommend the guide you liked and any books or articles about this pilgrimage?
‘Shikoku Japan 88 Route Guide’ is good and seems to be the best alternative in English. “The Way of the 88 Temples” by Robert Sibley offers a good read on one pilgrim’s journey and will give you a feel for your upcoming pilgrimage. I would just look for other books on the internet and see what resonates.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
Thanks for the very useful information on the Japan 88 temple tradition. I am intrigued and I have a few questions.

Since most people arrive at the temples in some fashion other than walking, is it only within very near proximity of the temples where the Settai experiences occur or do they mostly occur along the marked route and are primarily intended for walkers?

Although the prices (7,000 yen/day) are a BARGAIN for accomodations and eating 2 meals a day in Japan, those of us who travel on Camino budgets may need to be sure about pricing. I did a quick search on differences between Ryokan and Minshuku and found the website below. Would you agree with their description of these two types of accommodation? The article lists higher pricing: Ryokan starts at 10,000 and Minshuku 6,000 - 9,000. Are there discounts for "pilgrims" or are the Ryokans and Minshukus along the 88 Temples route less expensive in general? If choosing a Henro House to save money, after going out to find dinner and breakfast and the time it takes to organize and complete these tasks are you really saving any substantial money over the Ryokan or Minshuku? Do you use an App like bookings.com to arrange for these types of accommodations and is it necessary to book ahead or can you just show up as a walk in? Can you get by if you don't speak any Japanese?

If 7K Yen per day was the daily average for accommodation and 2 meals, what would you guess was your average total expenditures per day? At the accommodations, what does a beer cost or a bottle of saki?

Did you wear the Yakata and/or the whole outfit? If yes, do you think there are any special experiences or benefits bestowed on you because of it?

Thanks in advance for any follow up on all these questions.

Also, the article on differences between ryokans and minshukus is accurate for tourist places like Kyoto but on Shikoku as I said they are relatively similar and most of the time I had to ask whether we were in a minshuku or ryokan with a few exceptions. But we never paid more than ¥8,000 yen i think. There may have been one at ¥9,000.
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP('15)
St Olavs Way Norway('16)
88 Temples Japan('17)
PWC & VF(2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP(2020)
For the henro houses you can just show up
Excellent & comprehensive comparison (not that you can compare the two...chalk & cheese!) of the differences between the Camino & Way of 88 Temples, Kevin. I'm sure many prospective walkers will find it very helpful.
Just a little amendment though...this is an excerpt from one of my previous posts on the Shikoku pilgrimage (I walked the entire route in 2017).
"There are albergue type options scattered along the trail; they are known as Henro House. The website is www.henrohouse.jp
The site is in English & you can book your bed through the website.
You must reserve a place, you can't just turn up.
More are being added as the walk becomes increasingly popular especially with foreigners."

Japanese etiquette deems turning up unannounced as rude & will often (but not always of course) be met with refusal. The exceptions are the business hotels & 'normal' hotels.
Gambatte.
👣 🌏
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
Excellent & comprehensive comparison (not that you can compare the two...chalk & cheese!) of the differences between the Camino & Way of 88 Temples, Kevin. I'm sure many prospective walkers will find it very helpful.
Just a little amendment though...this is an excerpt from one of my previous posts on the Shikoku pilgrimage (I walked the entire route in 2017).
"There are albergue type options scattered along the trail; they are known as Henro House. The website is www.henrohouse.jp
The site is in English & you can book your bed through the website.
You must reserve a place, you can't just turn up.
More are being added as the walk becomes increasingly popular especially with foreigners."

Japanese etiquette deems turning up unannounced as rude & will often (but not always of course) be met with refusal. The exceptions are the business hotels & 'normal' hotels.
Gambatte.
👣 🌏
Thanks. Good point.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
WOW!

Probably the most comprehensive post I have ever read on this site.

88 Thanks you !
 

Trude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
Thanks so much for posting this, very informative and interesting.

What is the best time of year to do this?
I have heard May and Ictober are the best times to walk because of the rains. I am starting late September mostly camping along the way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
I have heard May and Ictober are the best times to walk because of the rains. I am starting late September mostly camping along the way.
Yeah June/July is the rainy season and it is a humid climate. I did some walking in early June on another pilgrimage the Kumano Kodo and it was somewhat uncomfortable. April/May and Sept/Oct/Nov seem to be best. There are some shelters along the way which have mats and a roof and a few people that provide free (settai) accommodation and/or food.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
Yeah June/July is the rainy season and it is a humid climate. I did some walking in early June on another pilgrimage the Kumano Kodo and it was somewhat uncomfortable. April/May and Sept/Oct/Nov seem to be best. There are some shelters along the way which have mats and a roof and a few people that provide free (settai) accommodation and/or food.
Thanks, Trude and Kevin, good information. I think I may put this on my bucket list.
 

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When is the best time to walk?

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