View Chapters

Book: Japanese Buddhist Pilgrimage

Chapter: Introduction

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24520


In Japan well-established Shintō shrines form a nation-wide network forming the sites around which two types of pilgrimage, mainly but not exclusively Buddhist, occur: single shrine pilgrimage and pilgrimage to several shrines in sequence (circulatory). The subject of this book is circulatory pilgrimage. The two most famous circulatory pilgrimage routes form a model for all of the others: the Saikoku Pilgrimage comprising 33 temples in Western Japan and the Shikoku Pilgrimage comprising 88 temples on the island of Shikoku. The book uses three organizing concepts in the phenomenology of pilgrimage: route (the geographic patterns followed), the performed rites of transaction, and the dimension of Buddhist meaning. Various theories of pilgrimage are examined including Viktor and Edith Turner’s liminality and communitas, commercialized tourism and locality/sacred space and a general definition of pilgrimage is given.

Chapter Contributors

  • Michael Pye ( - book-auth-571) 'Marburg University, (Emeritus) and Otani University'