88 Temple Pilgrimage, Shikoku / Japan

Walking the 88 Temple pilgrimage


I do not remember when I first heard about the 88 Temple pilgrimage in Japan. For years, I harbored the thought of walking it myself as a very secret wish, secret even to myself. After a long incubation period, the dream finally becomes reality. At the end of February, beginning of March, I will start the over 800 mile long journey from temple to temple as an “ohenro”, as a pilgrim following the footsteps of Kukai, one of the most well known historic figures in Japan.

The pilgrimage circles the island of Shikoku, the 4th largest island of Japan. The island is the birthplace of Kukai, who was born in the 8th century. He not only brought Buddhism to ordinary people, but also was an extraordinary poet, calligrapher, architect and civil engineer. Many temples on the Shikoku trail where founded by him. It is believed that by walking the pilgrimage, Kukai is a constant companion.

At the beginning of each day, I will draw a haiku (a saying or a poem) out of my selection of poems I will bring with me to mark the day. I will attach a photo of the day to this poem and post it on my blog at the end of the day (if I have an internet connection).

It is very special for me to think that you are walking with me by following my blog. This walk will become a walk with Kukai, you and me.



Island of Shikoku with the 88 temples, beginning in Tokushima (temple 1)
Island of Shikoku with the 88 temples, beginning in Tokushima (temple 1)




Self portrait of Kukai, known also as Kobo Daishi, 8th century
Self portrait of Kukai, known also as Kobo Daishi, 8th century
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Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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  1. Traude, Of your many walks/hikes, this is one that I might go on myself. The Japanese people are gentle souls and their day to day recognition of life beyond earth with temples and ancestor memorials is awe-inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey with me and all of us. May you be protected and blessed with wonderful experiences. Love, Chris

    • Yes, chris, all what you are discribing i can experience now, so thougtful, warmhearted, gentle people, their way of life is spirituality lived in everyday live…….thanks for walking with me, chris

      • Traude, I would love to hear more about your daily experiences meeting people, receiving gifts, impressions, etc. Is there somewhere you are writing about these things? If so, I would love to read you.


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