A centuries-old Japanese Buddhist pilgrimage route that passes through 88 temples and takes months on foot is now being offered on Zoom, with live participation at each point, including reciting sutras and mantras at the temples.
Traditionally, the 1200-kilometre route that passes through the four prefectures of Shikoku island, was undertaken on foot and was completed in one continuous effort. In recent years, there have been bus tours, and some people have completed the Shikoku Henro, or Shikoku Pilgrimage in stages on different trips.
The new online version, organized by the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage Association, is mainly intended for people who are unable to participate in a physical pilgrimage because of physical, financial or distance issues. At each stop, a live guide teaches about the customs and procedures, the history of the route, and local points of interest. Participants receive an official stamp from each temple as if they had been there in person.
At present, the Online Henro is only offered in Japanese.