KIKUSUI HENRO HOUSEHenroyado (Pilgrim Lodging Facilities)by Hiroshi Kushima
(translated by David C. Moreton)

Types of Lodging

In the present day, the category of henroyado (pilgrim lodging) still exists and from the viewpoint of a walking pilgrim such places as minshukus are amongst the most popular and convenient places to stay at. There are some cases of people operating henroyado for many generations, and there seems to be many business ryokan' type places that cater to construction company employees or places for surfers and fishers.

Here is a chart to explain the various types of lodging facilities and their similarities.

minshuku The basic form of henroyado (pilgrim lodging) is minshuku. For a one night stay including two meals, the price will be around 6,000-7,500yen. While it is a business, it is run in a family style and at times, the will made adjustments to the menu when you make a reservation. As well, there are times when people cause trouble for such places by unexpectedly changing reservations or places to stay. Please refer to: Q & A - Should I make a reservation for each place to stay? (in Japanese)
ryokan The difference between a minshuku and ryokan is not clear. However, in most cases, there seems to be a difference given due to the size based on the categories of the Ryokan Association. There are some very expensive ryokans, so when one makes a reservation it is good to confirm the cost.
shukubo These are lodging facilities operated by temples and shrines. For a one night stay with two meals (fixed rate) it costs from 5,500yen and is slightly cheaper than a minshuku. However the level of service in regards to meals and bath etc is not much different from a general ryokan. Also it might be difficult as time for an individual to stay here. Refer to Glossary: Shukubou and Q & A - Can I stay at a temple during the off season? (in Japanese). Under the category of staying at temples is the option of staying at a 'tsuya' or hut which is an extension of sleeping outdoors. See below.
Public facilities There are National Lodging Facilities and Social Security Pension Facilities where are comparatively cheap and one can easily spend the night.
Youth Hostel Temple 24, Hotsumisakiji, Temple 37, Iwamotoji as well as Bekkaku Temple 18, Kaiganji operate Youth Hostels. There are youth hostels in other area as well. The price for non-members is slightly more than members but anyone can stay at these places.
Business Hotel When compared to a minshuku, business hotels provide businesslike services and have the good point that one does not have to worry about early departure or late arrival. Most places only let you stay the night. However, there are some places that are just like a minshuku yet have names of 'Business Hotel' and 'Business Ryokan.'

There are many who make their homes available for pilgrims to stay at for free. As well, some not only allow lodging, but also provide meals. Some places always get pilgrims to stay on 'special days' commemorating ancestors or some who are open all year round. Generally when one mentions a 'free service', I think in more than half the cases it is an advertisement for some business or for the regional foundation of the Civil Branch of the government. However zenkonyado are actions based on the faith of individuals. There are some in the past and today who search for zenkonyado or osettai information, however, I think it would be good to think of it at being "If I am fortunate to receive such kindness I will gave thanks."

The need to carry to the book "Shikoku Henro Aruki Hitori Dogyo Ninin" published by Pilgrim Path Preservation Cooperative Association

This is a 2-book set. The first book contains advice on how to do the pilgrimage as well as descriptions of 250 sacred sites around Shikoku. The second book contains a map of the route and a list of places to say. To order the book, refer to Ordering "Shikoku Henro Aruki Hitori Dogyo Ninin" (in Japanese).

Warnings: when reserving a room. Avoiding "Cancellation without reason"

Recently, it has been pointed out that "Cancellations without reason" have become prevalent amongst pilgrim lodging facilities. Factors hor this reflecting the decrease of overall social morals and the increase in the number of pilgrims.

However, it has become clear that there are some cases where the person has reserved one place and ended up changing and staying at another place. The place at which a reservation suffers because of "a cancellation without reason" and the place that is actually used profits from this unexpected businrss. It is only natural for them to allow you to stay the night if a room is available without a reservation because it is business for them and this is the result the pilgrim and facility do not realize.

In the book Shikoku Henro Hitori Aruki Dogyo Ninin the names and phone numbers of lodging facilities are listed on the same line, so it is easy to skip a line and call a different places. As well, there are many places with similar names. When making a reservation make a mark on the phone number with your pencil or make a separate note with the facility information which will make it easier to check later.

Around Temple 25 there is a 'Hotel Takenoi' and 'Business Ryokan Takenoi.' I called and made a reservation at the former but ended writing the latter in my day planner. I was told on the day "There is no reservation" and I became flustered. However, the owners of both places were sisters who contacted each other, discovered my mishap and solved the problem that I had caused.

To the east of Ashizuri cape there is a a 'Minshuku Tabiji' and to the west there is a 'Ryokan Tabiji.' Between Temple 39 and 40, there are two 'Okamoto Ryokan' and between Temples 40, Kanjizaiji and Temple 41, Ryukoji there is 'Yoshinoya Ryokan' and 'Ryokan Yoshinoya.' In front of Temple 69, Kanonji there is a 'Ichifuji Ryokan' and 6kms ahead, close to Temple 70, there is another place to stay with the same name.

When names are similar, I think that that someone at the lodging facility has been warned of possible mishaps; however a walking pilgrim will end staying at such places for approximately 40 nights. It might be best to think that it will most likely to have a mishap occur around once or twice amongst 40 times because humans are involved. Try your best to prevent any mistakes and avoid causing any nuisance to lodging facilities.

New Information

There is information contained within the 6th edition of the "Shikoku Henro Hitori Aruki Dogyo Ninin" however for information about newer places that I have obtained or I have received from readers, see Latest Information on Lodging Facilities (in Japanese)

Recommendation for Shared Rooms

Recently with the increased of walking pilgrims especially during the spring and other long holiday periods, lodging facilities are full and such a condition of not being able to secure lodging is becoming prevalent. In most cases walking pilgrims travel by themselves and it the possibility to use individuals rooms is low. The Pilgrim Path Preservation Cooperative Association has written "Advice for using lodging facilities and recommend using shared rooms." (in Japanese)

Sleeping Outdoors

There are quite a few people who go around the pilgrimage route sleeping outdoors in order to save on costs or for ascetic training. I do not have any experience with sleeping outdoors, but please refer to stories of people who have at Glossary : Nojuku (sleeping outdoors).

As well, there are some women who walk the pilgrimage and sleep outdoors, however, even though one says, "It is Shikoku" or "I am a pilgrim" there is absolutely no guarantee to one's safety. Actually there have been various incidents and there is some risk, so I recommend planning your actions carefully.

Tsuya (Through the night)

Within the temple grounds there are buildings called tsuyado or odo (do meaning hut) that have been used for saying prayers throughout the night, but which pilgrims now use to spend the night in. While this new usage differs from the original meaning of tsuya it is said to be 'allowed to spend the night.'

This differs from paying money at temples to stay as a guest and is a part of building with a roof that replaces sleeping outdoors for one night. There is no need to reserve ahead of time for such places, however when using such it is necessary to get the consent from the temple. As well, one cannot use such places as a tsuyado at all temples. Basically, there is no bath, meals or bedding to use and one cannot reserve a private room allowing men and women to sleep separately.

(translated by David C. Moreton)

Glossary TOP Copyright (C)2002 Hiroshi Kushima / (C)2004 David C. Moreton