The Shikoku Pilgrimage (四国遍路 Shikoku Henro) or Shikoku Junrei (四国巡礼) is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) on the island of Shikoku, Japan. A popular and distinctive feature of the island's cultural landscape, and with a long history, large numbers of pilgrims (known as henro) still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic, pious, and tourism-related purposes.
In addition to the 88 "official" temples of the pilgrimage, there are over 200 bangai — temples not considered part of the official 88. To complete the pilgrimage, it is not necessary to visit the temples in order; in some cases it is even considered lucky to travel in reverse order. The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot, but modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles, or motorcycles. The walking course is approximately 1,200 km long and can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to complete. "Henro" (遍路) is the Japanese word for pilgrim, and the inhabitants of Shikoku call the pilgrims o-henro-san (お遍路さん), the o (お) being an honorific and the san (さん) a title similar to "Mr." or "Mrs.". They are often recognizable by their white clothing, sedge hats, and kongo-tsue or walking sticks. Alms or osettai are frequently given. Many pilgrims begin and complete the journey by visiting Mount Koya in Wakayama Prefecture, which was settled by Kukai and remains the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. The 21 km walking trail up to Koya-san still exists, but most pilgrims use the train.
Attesting to the popularity of the Shikoku pilgrimage, from the eighteenth century a number of smaller imitative versions have been established.
These include a 150km circuit on the island of Shodoshima, northeast of Takamatsu; a 3km course on the grounds of Ninna-ji in Kyoto; a route on the Chita Peninsula near Nagoya; and circuits in Edo and Chiba Prefecture.