Book: Japanese Buddhist Pilgrimage
Chapter: Going Round to Visit Kannon-Sama
This chapter looks at some of the most well-known Buddhist circulatory pilgrimage routes in Japan, namely those which focus on the bodhisattva Kannon, or Kanzeon. The most famous of the Japanese pilgrimage routes devoted to this bodhisattva is that of the Saikoku Thirty-three Spiritual Sites, reputedly founded in about 718 by the monk Tokudō Shōnin, and many others are modelled on this one. The closest and most important imitations of the Saikoku pilgrimage are known as the Bandō Thirty-three Spiritual Sites, which are a widely dispersed string of temples in eastern Japan, and the Chichibu Thirty-four Spiritual Sites which are located relatively close to each other in and around the city of Chichibu not far from Tokyo. The chapter looks at other Kannon-sama routes, the Izumo, Kamakura and Izu Kannon routes and miniature Kannon-sama routes and at the denominational spread of these routes.