Junrei (巡礼) is the word most commonly used for either of two major types of pilgrimages in Japan, in accordance with Buddhism or Shinto. These pilgrimages can be made as a visit to a group of temples, shrines, 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 on Shikoku.
Pilgrimages can be organized by tour bus 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 hats and white clothing.
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's posthumous name)
- 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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