Junrei is the word most commonly used for either of two major types of pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

s in Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, in accordance with Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 or Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

. These pilgrimages can be made as a visit to a group of temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

s, shrines
Jinja (Shinto)
A Shinto shrine is a structure whose main purpose is to house one or more Shinto kami....

, or other holy sites, in a particular order, often in a circuit of 33 or 88 sites. Other pilgrimages may center on a pilgrimage to a single site. One of the most popular pilgrimages for Buddhists in Japan is visiting the 88 temples
Shikoku Pilgrimage
The or is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai 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 still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic,...

 on Shikoku
is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshū and east of the island of Kyūshū. Its ancient names include Iyo-no-futana-shima , Iyo-shima , and Futana-shima...


Pilgrimages can be organized by tour bus
Tour bus
A tour bus service is a bus service that takes visitors sightseeing, with routes around tourist attractions. Double-decker buses and/or open top buses are commonly used, for their good views....

 companies, taking only a couple of weeks to complete, although many pilgrims prefer to take the two- or three-month-long journeys on foot in the traditional manner. Pilgrims on the Shikoku junrei are referred to as henro (遍路) and traditionally wear straw hat
Straw hat
A straw hat is a brimmed hat that is woven out of straw or reeds. The hat is designed to protect the head from the sun and against heatstroke, but straw hats were also used in fashion and as a decorative element of a uniform.- Manufacture :...

s and white clothing.

Traditional observances

There are a number of rules traditionally observed while on a junrei.
  • Say the name of Kōbō-Daishi following one's devotion it is preceded every thing. (Kōbō-Daishi is Kūkai
    Kūkai , also known posthumously as , 774–835, was a Japanese monk, civil servant, scholar, poet, and artist, founder of the Shingon or "True Word" school of Buddhism. Shingon followers usually refer to him by the honorific titles of and ....

    's posthumous name
    Posthumous name
    A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

  • Pilgrimage as the ascetic.
  • Must not kill any living things.
  • Must not say immoral things to women.
  • Have some medicines for your unexpected bad condition.
  • Must not drink any alcohol.
  • Do not quarrel with your partner.
  • Do not have a lot of money.
  • Do not have unnecessary baggage.
  • Pay attention to your food hygiene.
  • Go to an inn before it gets dark.
  • Must not go out of an inn during the night.
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