Worship and Pilgrimage
Temples and shrines are sacred spaces and many prohibit taking photographs or have certain items or areas that are prohibited from being photographed. Check with the staff at the office of the shrine or temple beforehand regarding whether or not photography is permitted.
While places like Niko-buchi waterfall basin and the summit of Mount Ishizuchi are tourist sites, they are also considered sacred spots by the local people. Be mindful of enjoying their mystical atmosphere.
* Entering into the Niko-buchi waterfall basin is prohibited.
What is considered a formal pilgrimage attire is wearing a white shirosōzoku robe or a Buddhist monk’s robe called wa-kesa, while carrying a pilgrim’s staff. These pilgrimage items can be purchased at some temples on the pilgrimage route or shops specializing in pilgrimage-related products.
Putting on these pieces of clothing will naturally bring on a resolute feeling for your pilgrimage. Wearing regular, casual clothing that is easy to move around in, of course, is also fine. As much as possible, however, please try to avoid anything that reveal the skin too much.
Every year from July 1 through 10, Ishizuchi-jinja shrine holds a grand “mountain opening” festival to commemorate the beginning of the climbing season. During this festival, tens of thousands of Ishizuchi trainees gather from around the country (chōjō-sha shrine) and offer a lively scene in which they make their way toward the shrine at the summit while sounding their conch horns. However, for July 1 only, the long-standing rule of “no female admission” continues to be observed and therefore, women are prohibited from entering the mountain.
05Other points to be aware of
- Etiquette at Shikoku 88 Sacred Places
- In the Ishizuchi Mountain Range area, there are a total of seven pilgrimage sites—five temples in Saijō city, and two in Kumakōgen-chō.
- How to pray at a shrine
- When visiting a shrine, the traditional custom is to bow twice, clap hands twice, then bow once more.
- The amount of saisen, or monetary offering, to give to the temple or shrine is up to you, but meanings are attributed to certain amounts. Five yen signifies “go-en o musubu,” or creations of good personal connections,11-yen asks for “ii en,” or positive connections, and a combination of a 10-yen and 5-yen coins asks for “jūbun na go-en” or abundance of good connections.
- On Mount Ishizuchi, it is customary to call on people who pass by you by referring to them as “onobori-san” if they are going up the mountain, and “okudari-san” if they are going down.
- Around Mount Ishizuchi and on the Shikoku pilgrimage path, there is a long-standing culture of osettai in which food is handed out to travelers. This osettai brings blessings for a good deed to the offerors, so if you are offered something, please do your best to receive it graciously.
On the way to the summit of Mount Ishizuchi are sets of chains meant to present perilous paths as training for the pilgrims. For those who are unable to climb the chains, regular paths are available to allow them to bypass the chains.
The Ishizuchi mountain range area is designated as a national park. Endangered species and rare species that include those endemic to this mountain range naturally grow here.
Do not pick any of the plants including flowers. Please be sure that the only things you take are photographs and the only things you take home with you are memories.
03Other points of caution
- Mobile devices
- The Ishizuchi mountain range takes you very deep into the mountains. Many places have no reception or Wi-Fi services available. Bringing your own mobile battery is recommended.
- Public transportation services
- The number of public transportation services such as trains and buses to the entrance to the mountain are few and far between. Please be sure to check the service schedule beforehand at the following site.
- When climbing the Ishizuchi mountain range, please be sure to wear proper mountain-climbing clothing. The climate of the mountain is different from that of the level ground so wearing short sleeves and shorts will likely negatively affect your health. Also, it is very dangerous to walk the mountain paths wearing flip-flops or sandals.
- In case of injury
- In case of an injury during mountain climbing, you will not be able to receive immediate hospital treatment. Please be sure to bring a first aid kit with you to provide against emergencies.
- Getting in and out of a taxi
- The door to taxis open and close automatically. When getting in or out, please wait for the driver to open or close the door for you.
01Points to be aware of when shopping
- Eating and drinking
- Many stores like souvenir shops and supermarkets prohibit customers from eating or drinking instore. Please be sure to eat or drink at places within the shops that are designated for eating and drinking.
- Bringing food and drinks into establishments
- There are some stores and lodging facilities that prohibit customers from bringing in food and drinks. Be sure to check ahead of time whether food and drinks are allowed.
- Use of credit cards
- There are some small shops and restaurants that do not take credit cards or e-money. It is best to carry some cash.
Eating and Drinking
01Points to be aware of regarding eating and drinking
- Drinking alcohol
- Drinking alcohol while walking on public streets is undesirable. Please drink in restaurants and bars as much as possible.
- When going to a restaurant
- In a restaurant, a staff member will guide you to your table. Some restaurants will have a sign-up sheet by the entrance during busy times. You may be asked to write down your name and wait to be called in the waiting area.
- Tipping is unnecessary anywhere.