88 Trail Tales

Random Trail Statistics: 2 million steps, +1200km walked, 88 Temples (I skipped 2), 88 prayers, 33 km average per day, 6 blisters, 37 nights, 6 snakes, 3 Makude monsters, 1 ambulance, 12 onsen hot springs, 23 mountains, 576 sushi, 7 kilos weight loss, 2 mats, 1 tent, 2 haircuts. Sleeping: 4 bus stops, 3 train stations, 10 shelters, 10 temple annex, 4 homes, 3 parks, 1 opera house in the park, 2 hostels. 3000 pilgrims walk each year. Only 129 foreign pilgrims last year, 26 from USA, 10 Dutch last year (ranking 5th). 10 years ago there were zero foreign pilgrims. 500.000 pilgrims by coach or car per year. One man walked around the island in a record 300 times. April/may and sept/okt best months to walk. It is a 1200 year old pilgrimage this year! 1200 photos taken, 130 ossetai gifts, 35% mountain dirt track to 65% asfalt road, 12 free wifi spots found, male/female ratio: 10/1, backpack weight: mine 10kilo others 4kilo/22kilo. Rainy days: 27%. My pace: 4 km per hour. 1 new BFF.


Random Trail Tales

For 6 weeks I was a Pilgrim on the Buddhist 88 Temples Pilgrimage Trail on the Island of Shikoku in Japan 四国遍路. The Japanese Camino, over 1200 km long. My dutch friend Marc joined me for the first 4 days and I continued the remaining 34 days alone. As my new Japanese friends tell me, to ‘Sync myself’.

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Random Trail Tales. Temple 1 to 26

My band of brothers (or Dad’s Army) walk 25 km to 33 km through Bob Ross country, each alone but we share tips at temples. Most of them are between 62 and 74 years old, apart from a few students. Most slept in hotels, but as that’s boring, my new 62 year old Japanese friend Marku-San showed me all the secret free places where we could rough it on the street or in the parks each night. One time we slept above the Taxi central. At Temple 22 I had to first sweep the local hardware store floor for an hour in return for the bed (there’s no such thing as a free bed). Near Temple 23 I slept in my very own ‘into the wild’ bus and the owner also came to bring a warm meal (no WC or shower). An epic night I will never forget. Around Temple 24 I slept at Macca’s beach house, where we cooked fish and vegetables on his simple open air wood stove. Thank God for real hippies. All because the locals believe the pilgrims bring luck and good karma. They are the most respectful people ever. The 88 Temples route is proving to be a lot harder than the Camino, as it is all much steeper, but the pensioners don’t complain. Japanese generally don’t speak a single word of English, and I’d lost my map book, so I had to follow the red Trail arrow stickers.

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Random Trail Tales. Temple 27 to 55

Teeh-tuuh-teeh-tuuh, I’m in a Japanese Ambulance, going to a Japanese hospital, because I’ve been bitten by some Japanese thing that spent the night in my shoe. It’s 6am and we’d been walking since 5:30am when suddenly I was bitten. At the emergency 8 medics circled around my foot. After 3 hours, the verdict was out: it was a Makude bite, a poisonous but not deadly  centipede. A long shiny black body with hundreds of strong red legs and a red head ready for battle. Amazing how such a small creature can totally knock you down. Some hours later I was dismissed and at 15:00h I was back on the trail walking fully on drugs. Thank God for Marku-san’s help and translation. Note: Never leave your shoes out at night.

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‘Roughing it’ has taken on a whole new dimension as the past week I’ve been experimenting by sleeping on a park bench under and in train stations, and Temple shelters. The other four pilgrims I was walking with, all had small one-man tents, but as I didn’t have a tent I slept out, with a cardboard mat which I got from the local supermarket. It’s surprising how well it insulates and even softens the night somewhat, but I think anything would have done after the 11 hour walk of that day. The next day I bought a sleeping mat. Funny really, people who live on the street have always fascinated me. I’ve always loved street musicians and in Barcelona they were among my best friends. Probably something to do with freedom, traveling light and always on the move. It’s also where the magic happens and you hear the best stories. Tonight we share a small train station with an eternal pilgrim, who has walked the 1200 km pilgrimage continuously for the past 20 years. He seeks enlightenment but hasn’t found it yet. He is 70 years old, practically deaf and his relatives send him a small allowance for his ongoing walk. The man has no home but many stories to give.

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Who loves whales? Well, Japanese love whales too….for diner. And where we are walking along the coast at Temple 27 it is whale country. Big time. You can buy a whale steak in every supermarket here for 10,- euros. Hard to believe but it’s part of their everyday culture, just as paling is to ours in Holland.



We have two new characters we see a lot of. Mr. Yamamoto, who we call ‘Master’, as he has walked the 1200 km 10 times before. He is 65 and looks just like the Master in karate kid. He teaches us about the historic stories, and also likes to tell about when he was a hippie in the 70’s when he lived in India. Ulala is the 31 year old Japanese Cheryl Strayed. Totally unaware of the book ‘Wild’, she is hiking the 88 temples trail with her own monster pack of 22 kilo on her back (I only carry 7 kilo). And she’s tiny, but faster than us all. She’s walking for her grandmother, and plans to do the entire 6 weeks on 4 euro a day, and drags an entire camp kitchen, burner, pans, rice, vegetables and tent with her. Nuts! But she won’t listen to us. She loves the mountains and lives for new adventures in the mountains around the world. And then there’s our Italian. A funny 60 year old adventurer with a bit of a ‘plate for his head’. He films everything -and I mean Everything- super close up which is a bit intimidating for most Japanese. He doesn’t speak a word of English and it’s so funny to see him rambling on to the Japanese in Italian as if they understand everything.

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I did my first Marathon ever, 44 km in 11 hours, with the last extra mile uphill to Temple 24. I’ve never had so many blisters in my life. How stupid can you be?

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Random Trail Tales. Temple 56 to 65

“ii yu Dana!” Two naked Japanese men next to me get the shock of their lives. They look startled at the very tall naked western man who speaks Japanese to them. We are in an Onsen, a hot spring bath, where we try to go every three days. Marku-San is in stitches laughing over in the far bath as he watches the scene unfold. He has been teaching me three Japanese words every day and he loves to see the reactions of people as they hear me suddenly speak Japanese to them. “ii you Dana!”, “What a great bath”. Onsen hot springs are very, very important for Marku (just second after Temples), and he practically plans his trail around them. We’ll spend hours in the hot and cold baths after a long days walk. Soon all the days mountains are forgotten.

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In order to heal my tendinitis shin infection, I have had to stop and rest for 3 days and skip two Temples. I couldn’t walk anymore and the sting in my leg was too strong to continue. Total rest was the only option. This gave me time to upgrade my gear. I’ve bought a small air mat (a soft bed!) and the smallest tent I could find, as the nights are too cold up in the mountains for roughing it in a sleeping bag only. I’m not at all happy with the extra 2,5 kilos but as I’m loosing a lot of weight lately I guess that is compensated indirectly. I’m super happy to be back on the trail again, building up slowly with 15 km to 20 km a day.

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Please let me introduce you to the wonderful young artist @KushaMi. I met her during my 3 day rest when I spent quite some time in her small coffee house which she runs with her boyfriend in Matsuyama. It turned out she was a very talented artist and showed me around her studio behind their shop. She had had no art school but was clearly very passionate about her art. I bought one of her small paintings and painted an ossetai for them, which they proudly stuck on the wall of their shop.

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Everyday I am given many ossetai’s from strangers. Gifts for pilgrims from locals who feel you are walking for them. An orange, sweats, shampoo, 500 yen, a bed, a meal, a lift, hot tea, biscuits, and a haircut. Since a few weeks I have also started giving ossetai gifts to strangers or people who offer me a free bed in the form of a painting which I make with indigo ink. I’m happy to be painting again so frequently and the reactions are priceless.

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Marku-San and I have been making up a few games lately, one of which is ‘the quest for the perfect sleeping place tonight’. Each possible location is ranked from 1 to 10, with points for a roof, a bench, clean, snake free, is it exposed, WC close by, washing machine, blanket, tel charger and finally free wifi. And it must be legal! We have the best fun ranking all kinds of sheds, garages, schools, sumo trailing areas, and usually end up in a bus shelter (4-5), train station or park picnic table (6-7), pilgrim shelter offered by kind families (8-9), temple guesthouse with hot spring and sushi (10).

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A new character who has joined us the past week is the quiet Mr Morison, a retired Denso sales manager. He plans to cycle all the 11 temple routes around Japan before returning home to his wife in two years time. An epic 1000 Temples will cross his path. Every morning at 05:00 he boils an egg for us and makes instant hot cappuccino on his gas burner. Another beautiful example of an ossetai.

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I haven’t seen a fork, knife or Westerner for over 4 weeks now and I am sometimes somewhat of an attraction for the children as they rarely see a tall white man around here. Apparently as little as 25 Dutch have walked the whole 88 Temple trail in the past 20 years. Hard to believe. We came across a man who has been keeping a detailed record on all the foreigners the past 20 years. It is his life’s work. He wanted a photo and offered us to stay at his home. I often scan through guest to look for other nationalities: Canada, USA, Korea, Swiss, Israeli, UK, Australia, Poland, Germany, Italy, France and Holland.

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The countless frogs in the wet rice fields sing us to sleep at night, that-and the gentle rhythm of the pilgrims snoring in the tents around me.


Random Trail Tales. Temple 39 to 55

I’ve decided to walk on another month, some things just take longer than you anticipate. All thanks to Herminia’s enthusiastic encouragement to complete the trail. Wat een Geweldige vrouw!


I’m still sleeping out under the stars every night and a few days ago Marku-San and I set up camp under the porch of a docomo smart phone shop and I had a renewed encounter with my Mukade monster. And this time the thing was huge, with a red head, hundreds of red legs and a shine long black body ready for battle. Thank God I saw him before I lay down and put my pillow on top of him before I went to sleep. It took quite some stamping to kill the ugly bugger.

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We’ve been doing 35 to 40km everyday, and I was finally over my blisters when I got cramp in my lower left shin. It’s been swelling up a bit and has only passed after four days (Marku-San believes I wasn’t drinking enough ION). I walk with a bag of ice strapped to my leg to ease the pain. The days have become so hot recently that we now get up at 04:00 to head out at 05:00 in order to get in the first 20km before it gets too hot. But I don’t know if it helps, as we still make 11 hour days on the trail every day.

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Some days are long, silent, sad, homesick and lost in thought.

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Swimming with the surfers always makes me so happy. The countless breathtaking beaches are always empty. I’m the only one that actually swims in the sea here in Japan, probably because everyone knows how strong the currents are and how painful the jelly fish sting, but when I see surfers I feel safe, and run down into the surf with them.

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We where walking along the busy road when we passed the most beautiful pink rhododendron tree. I complimented the lady and she beamed with pride and joy as a young child. She told us she had transplanted it 15 years ago. She was a beautiful 80 year flower girl.



We have entered the third stage of the mental journey. The first 300km are a test of the will (to see if you give up or not), the second is hardship with the long painful trek through the mountains and remote miles along the sea. The third stage is about thinking. Thinking everything over, asking silent questions. The final stage is rebirth and about acting on these thoughts. These principles still form the basic management process that Japanese companies use today. PDCA.



The thing I love most about being a pilgrim is that I’m not a tourist. We are guests but at the same time we belong here and for centuries have formed part of the local history. After about 5 days into the trail the first friendships start and a community spirit grows, a strong sense of belonging although we may only meet for one day, where we now cook and eat together and share life stories and motivations as to why each one is on the pilgrimage.

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Random Trail Tales. Temple 66 to 70

I think about retirement a lot lately. Many of the men I walk with have recently retired and I like to talk with them about their new path in life. Many have started a new direction in life after 35 years at the same company. Most of them strongly want to contribute to society and take on part time jobs or volunteer as a coordinator at schools or nursing homes. I’m in no position and have no desire to retire now but in my industry creatives don’t get old. At 52 you’re a ‘has-bin’. I enjoy playing with thoughts as to how I may take a new direction in my life in the future when the kids have left home. Perhaps a modest Refugio for Pilgrims on the Camino along the Basque coast? Time will tell.

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Ssssst! She looked me straight in the eyes, contemplating her options for a split second, swiftly licked her lips, then moved on, I clearly wasn’t her type. A big lemon yellow snake lay one meter in front of me on my path as I climbed the mountain to Temple 60. I froze in my tracks, and before I knew it the yellow beauty had moved on into the forest. It was only then that it hit me and I gasped for air. Aaaaa!! There was no other option but to continue up the mountain trail with the same slow pace, but my eyes where pealed! It has been raining a lot lately (poncho time) and when it rains, it rains all day, and the snakes love it when it rains. We’ve seen all kinds of small black and red snakes, but never such a long one meter yellow snake.

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One of the special evenings I think back to from time to time was with Macca, around Temple 24. I’d just walked 35 km and asked him for a bed and free wifi. He had both and so much more to offer. Macca told me an inspiring story that struck a cord in my life as I contemplate what my next big chapter will be. He had followed the perfect wave for all his life from Tokyo and later spent 10 years in Los Aanglees, working in the fast lane, trading surf clothing. Somewhat disillusioned by the West and the destruction we were all doing to the planet, he returned to Japan and settled on the island of Shikoku along the 88 Temples route and now spends his days as a hard working indigo farmer, harvesting and the plant Indigofera to create the precious indigo ink. Working with biological silks and cotton he dyes the most beautiful and trendy surf cloths, selling handmade shorts in the USA for $200,-. He believed in the positive energy of ‘Yes’ and that everyone can make a difference, all be it small. I was inspired by the dramatic turn he had taken in his life aged 41, and I told him it was my dream to live the pure, simple and creative life he now had. His porch overlooked the bay, his eye always on the perfect wave, and he cooked outside every day of the year on a wood stove with local fish and veg. I quietly played on his guitar as he prepared our meal. Go see his beautiful work, farm and dog Indie https://www.facebook.com/yescompany

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We are often hit by a wall of strong flower scent, the same kind of effect as when you step out of the plane into a very hot country, only now with smell. The most gorgeous flower smells you can imagine. Especially when we walk through an orange orchard which are now fully in bloom, the smell is just amazingly powerful. The bee keepers have moved the beehives up the hill to catch this plethora of flowers. The big wild jasmine bushes are possibly even sweater. The wild pink Sastuki flower is by far my favourite. I love flowers and May in Shikoku seems to be my lucky month.

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Long distance trail walking has its particular rituals, and the daily planning and packing are very typical. Before we hit the sack around 19:30 we all pull out our maps to discuss tomorrow’s route, kilometers and sleeping options. Great debates (mostly in Japanese) about how many kilometers we’ll walk and who knows the best free place to sleep. Each morning also follows a ritual where everyone packs up all their belongings in utter silence, each in their own zone, leaving the site cleaner than we found it. Often it’s still dark when we pack up but as I don’t like using a torch, I can practically pack blind folded.

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Japan isn’t expensive to travel in. Sure, perhaps central Tokyo may be a little pricey, but here in Shikoku I can get the most lavish sushi menu for 15.-euros all in. Hotels are about 50.-euro a night, including sushi dinner and breakfast. Personally I haven’t spent more than 60.-euros in total on lodging the past 6 weeks as I camp out and food is also generally cheaper than in back in Holland.

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I’m back, back in shape and have enjoyed 3 pain-free days of +30 km. My body is finally acclimatising, tuned and geared for the mountains and the long straights of asfalt road. I’ve lost 7 kilos (15.4 lbs) and it’s taken me nearly five weeks to adjust. Rain or shine, I look forward to my last 23 Temples on the trail. The Island is expecting a Typhoon tomorrow, see what that brings…


Random Trail Tales #T88.


The much anticipated Typhoon hit us at Temple 70, but hours later than we had expected. Everyone was a bit scared of the heavy rain so we’d decided to take a rest day. But as the Typhoon had changed its course over night, we woke with no rain, so we made a very Un-Japanese decision: we changed our plan! We decided to walk after all. We were going to try and reach Temple 71 before the rain came, just a 17 km trek. Unfortunately the rain just beat us to it and the last 5 km we were totally drenched. The final 540 meters are all stairs up to the Temple which is in a cave up the mountain. Rain is strangely very tiring to walk in, so the Onsen hot spring was very welcome at the foot of the mountain. The cool thing was, now I could enjoy the same heavy cold rain as I lay in a 42 degree hot spring bath outside with the rain pouring on my face and body. Wow! The following day we had sun and the gentle wind in our back.

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Just as strange as a surrealist painting by René Magritte, suddenly 13 white wild dogs appear in the black starlit night around us as we set up our tents in the forest near Temple 71. Moments later they all started howling into the night like coyotes. It was super weird. In the moonlight we could see 26 eyes glow in the dark around us. I don’t like dogs at all but these dogs seemed more scared of us than we of them. They are a big pack of white Shikoku dogs, a beautiful local breed. I am very surprised that there are wild dogs at all in this super organised country. I lay quietly in my tent feeling safe knowing Marku-San and the big Belgium Tibo were close by. And God was I happy I wasn’t roughing it on a park bench like Tibo next to me. My tent is my home, and for now I felt safe, but I wasn’t going out for a piss in the night with 13 wild dogs out there. Hope I can find a bottle in my back pack. Half an hour later nature called, and I could find no bottle, so I plucked up all my courage and made as much noise as I could and walked through the pack of dogs across the parking lot to the public toilets. I was happy to be back in my tent and happy I’d overcome one of my big fears.


I’ve walked with an Angel. For over half my Trail he has watched out for me, guided me, translated, told stories, gave secret sleeping locations, took me to hospital, told me to take 3 days rest to heal my leg, taught me Japanese words and manors, invented games with me, pranked each other and endless silly jokes and became a very dear friend. But above all, made me feel safe. We’ve laughed so much. Marku-San, a 62 year old retired car stereo engineer, has taught me so much about the ‘Japanese Way’. It’s his third time around the 88 Ohenro Trail, and it was sometimes hard keeping up with his program, as he is an athlete and runs 4 marathons a year (2 full, 2 half). We walked 5 marathons this Trail. He has the biggest smile that’s always on his kind face. I’m so happy I met him and that we could share so much time together. A true Angle, and as it turns out Angles can fart. I fart too, but I ain’t no Angle!

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Every pilgrim has his or her own motivation to walk, be it: religious, searching enlightenment, cross road thinking, nature, cultural, adventure, taking distance to gain a fresh perspective and appreciation, grieving loss, syncing yourself, fighting demons, or redemption. I actually found out that there are one or two pilgrims here who quietly carry a heavy 3 kilo stone in their backpack in order to redeem their wrong thoughts or past behaviour. Everyone carries their own stone in life, be it light or heavy, and creates a personal way to find redemption. I came to Shikoku to learn to be alone, walk alone, travel alone, to rough it, reflect, sync and catch my breath after the fast pace of work and a full life. Thank you Herminia for giving me this long trail! And thank you Anita Hammer for inspiring me with your stories and encouragement to traveling ‘alone’. Thanks also to my brilliantly designed straw hat that protected me from the rain and sun. I’ve learnt a lot of unexpected things. Mostly from the respectful way Japanese people treat each other. Their continuous search for balance in everything they do and that it is the most beautiful country. I have, as so many before me, fallen in love with Japan and its people. It’s not a place I will ever call home but has a special place in my heart.

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On another 42 km day we were walking up the ‘stairway to heaven’. A staircase 1 km long, non stop straight up the mountain to Temple 81. Very symbolic and also very sweaty. Every morning many elderly locals will climb up and down this stairway to heaven to keep fit. All the Pilgrims are very serious about their faith and will do two long mantra prayers at every Temple. They pray to Kōbō-Daishi, a monk who became enlightened 1200 years ago while walking the Trail. I pray only once at every Temple, thinking of my family, friends, fellow pilgrims, the deceased, and counting my blessing.


The push to the final Temple 88 was as tough as they get. Five km so steep we had to use all hands and feet. At times it was rock climbing of up to 70%. But again, the pensioners behind me made no fuss and bolted up the mounting to the Temple in the rain. Pffffff. We did it!!  Around the island in 37 days. It was super. I’ve enjoyed nearly every step and can recommend it to anyone under 75 years old.

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken the time to read these Random Trail Tales, for your kind comments, thumbs up, encouragement and kind words of advice. It’s definitely helped! I hadn’t planned on writing, but it’s grown on me and I’ve enjoyed it very much. Arigato. Thank you. Cheers Tim.


Random Trail Statistics: 2 million steps, + 1200km walked, 88 Temples (I skipped 2), 88 prayers, 33 km average per day, 6 blisters, 37 nights, 6 snakes, 3 Makude monsters, 1 ambulance, 12 onsen hot springs, 23 mountains, 576 sushi, 7 kilos weight loss, 2 mats, 1 tent, 2 haircuts. Sleeping: 4 bus stops, 3 train stations, 10 shelters, 10 temple annex, 4 homes, 3 parks, 1 opera house in the park, 2 hostels. 3000 pilgrims walk each year. Only 129 foreign pilgrims last year, 26 from USA, 10 Dutch last year (ranking 5th). 10 years ago there were zero foreign pilgrims. 500.000 pilgrims by coach or car per year. One man walked around the island in a record 300 times. April/may and sept/okt best months to walk. It is a 1200 year old pilgrimage this year! 1200 photos taken, 130 ossetai gifts, 35% mountain dirt track to 65% asfalt road, 12 free wifi spots found, male/female ratio: 10/1, backpack weight: mine 10kilo others 4kilo/22kilo. Rainy days: 27%. My pace: 4 km per hour. 1 new BFF.


My Ossetai for Marku-San at our leaving party.


Graphic scenery near Temple 23


The beautiful remote peninsula coast line after Temple 36


Pilgrims enjoys the view after a long climb around Temple 7


A young Pilgrim takes a break around Temple 10


The mountains offer great paths, although ofter very steep


Bus Pilgrims are lead in prayer by a Monk that joins them on their 2 week tour.


Breathtaking views around Temple 9 as the morning clouds slowly rise


The rivers are full of the mountain rain


Naka River from Temple 20


Sweeping the floor of the local hardware store in exchange for a free bed


Marku-San and I as we see the sea for the first time


The beautiful empty beaches that are simply WOW!


One of my best nights in my very own ‘Into the Wild’ bus, with a free warm meal.


I was the only one swimming, and often joined the surfers.


There was a lot of local surfers enjoying the waves


Up at 4:00am to beat the sun, as I embark on my 44 km marathon day to Temple 24.


Many new blisters after the 44 km hot day to Temple 24.


The mountain paths were beautiful


Many Pilgrims carry everything with them from tents, to entire camp kitchens and food. This was the strongest and fastest hiker we met.


I started experimenting with ‘roughing it’ on the street. I always felt safe, as Japan truly is the safest place in the world. The next day I did buy my first sleeping mat, and two weeks later I bought a small tent.


The strong storm hits us at Kochi, but we have to march on


Sleeping in a train station with the other Pilgrims on my new mat.


Flowers, Flower, flowers. Just as impressive as the Japanese food.


Stunning architecture. Not a bad place to live really.


In the ambulance on my way to Hospital from Temple 30, after a Mukade centepede bit me in my foot. After the shock, 9 hours and lots of drugs, I was back on the trail.


The beauty of repetition.


At Temple 36 we suddenly find ourselves in little Greece.


Sunrise from little Greece.


The sun is very strong today.


We see many snakes, this is one of the most beautiful ones. Snakes don’t really like humans and I was never very scared of them as they generally mind their own business.


One of the amazing Pilgrim shelters we stayed in. Offered to us by generous families.


The flower girl of 80 years old with her beautiful Sastuki tree.


Surfs up.


Time to swim with the surfers again.


This is a Mukade we called ‘Monster’. It was under my pillow! It was the same creature that spent the night in my shoe and bit me 3 nights before.


This was my lowest of low points. We could find no place to sleep, and finally set up camp on two benches outside a Docomo smart phone store next to a busy street.


Up to catch another sunrise.


The best day I had on the Trail was the days walk that takes the trail across 3 miles of beach to Temple 38.


Remote beauty before Temple 38.


On our way back to Temple 39.


I made ossetai paintings for the people who offered me a free bed or shelter. I was given more than 130 ossetai gifts along the trail.


The best Pilgrim shelter there is just before temple 38.


A beautiful Temple.


A photoshoot on the beach as we head to Temple 39.


An orange snake lies dead with two frogs it has just eaten.


Reflection time.


The best Japanese invention ever, a sneaker laundry. For 1,- euro I got clean stink free hiking boots.


Roughing it in a Pilgrim shelter.


Sleeping in a bus stop after a glorious night out in the onsen hot spring and the best sushi dinner ever. Its all about balance 😉


The morning clouds at Temple 36.


Praying at a Temple.


The graveyard overlook the city of Matsuyama.


Another sunrise near Temple 38.


My gear with my new escalope shell which I ate yesterday. A sweat reminder of my Camino Trails.


I enjoyed sounding the gong at every Temple.


Meeting the wonderful artist along the Trail.


I get another stamp in my Pilgrims book at a Temple.


I love blue flowers.


The wheat fields for our Udon noodle meals.


The Trail.


Blisters, blisters, blisters. These are not my feat thank God.




Following the red arrow.


The endless rice fields.


We always camped our tents under a roof of some kind in order to avoid the morning dew, so that we could pack up a dry tent fast and head out early.


The rice had just been planted.


The gardens are always beautiful at the Temples.


We pitched our tents under the roof of a small bush station. The public toilets there where amazing.


Temple 66 lies on top of the highest mountain at 950 meter high. The view was worth the 3 hour climb.


Temple 66 lies on top of the highest mountain at 950 meter high. The view was worth the 3 hour climb.


The Typhoon hit us at Temple 71. It was all over the news.


Another stamp at Temple 73.


I think its going to rain again.


We meet an old Pilgrim who is walking the Trail in reverse.


We can see the mountain ahead of us with Temple 85 on it. We’ve just passed Temple 84.


It’s great to be back at the sea again at Temple 85.


The Temple gardens are so beautiful.


Another road kill we won’t be eating for dinner tonight.


Happy and proud at Temple 88. Pfff, we did it.


Celebrating at a bar next to Temple 88 with our fellow Pilgrims.

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Tim hiked 1200 km on the 88 Temples Trail around Shikoku, Japan. ….and took a picture of every Temple…..and practically every step. ティムは1200kmにおよぶ日本の四国遍路88ヶ寺を歩き通した。そしてそれぞれのお寺だけではなくそこに至る道中の様子も写真におさめた。

The wonderful music in this video is the title track from Martin Sexton’s album, In the Journey. Please check him out at http://www.martinsexton.com and on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/martin-sexton/id154590 . This video was inspired by Andy Davidhazy who walked the Pacific Crest Trail and took a picture every mile, 2600 miles long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyo8OIp7aHM



2 thoughts on “88 Trail Tales

  1. Hoi Tim,

    Ik ben ook een (volgens mijn Japanse collegas) gekke Nederlander die niets liever doet dan te pas en te onpas de zee induiken als de zon een beetje schijnt. Bedankt voor de mooie verhalen en fotos op je site. Dankzij jou sta ik te springen om aan de Shikoku trail te beginnen in april en met mijn petekindjes op avontuur te gaan als ik weer terug ben in Nederland om ze ook gek van de bergen en natuur te krijgen. Je bent een echte inspiratie! 感謝です!

    Groetjes Ellen van Dam


    • Hoi Ellen, wat mooi om te horen. En geweldig dat je naar Shikoku gaat. Ik heb nog steeds veel heimwee naar de lieve mensen, de natuur, het wandelen en het eten. Ga je zelf ook schrijven? Mocht je nog advies nodig hebben, kan je altijd vragen. Cheers Tim


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