Replica of the Shikoku pilgrimage

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Description

Besides regional pilgrimages such as Shōdoshima that replicate major pilgirmages such as Shikoku , there are numerous other more localized forms of replicated pilgrimage that bring the pilgrimage to those unable to make the journey to places such as Saikoku or Shikoku. These developed from the formation of regional versions of pilgrimages in early-mid-Tokugawa to local/village based replicas later in the Tokugawa period, to ever- smaller versions in temple courtyards from the late Tokugawa.

   These include the notion of sunafumi 砂踏み "treading on the soil" in which sachets of soil taken from prominent pilgrimage places are used to create miniature versions of the pilgrimage itself. A sunafumi of Shikoku might have 88 small statues in a row or arrayed around a temple courtyard, each statue representing a Shikoku temple, and before each statue or temple replica would be a sachet of soil taken from the temple in question. Thus by walking around the miniature route thus formed, people would in effect be treading on the soil of Shikoku and its 88 temples and doing the pilgrimage in miniature. Many sites that have these replica sunafumi pilgrimages claim that they are of equal merit to the"'real" Shikoku; they are also seen as a way of making people interested in performing the"'real" pilgrimage by getting them into the practice of pilgrimage.

   This is an example of such small replicas that use the sunafumi format. It is at the A Kōrien Narita-san temple, at Kōrien, Osaka prefecture, which has a row of 88 tiny "temples," each representing one of the Shikoku 88 pilgrimage temples. Under the stone before each "temple" is soil from the courtyard of the temple in Shikoku being represented. People who thus go along the line of temples are thus "walking'" the Shikoku pilgrimage. This was taken t a special temple festival event in 1987 when there were many people performing this practice.

   For more on the Shikoku pilgrimage click the first "related image"; for replicated pilgrimages in general click on the second, and for examples of a sunafumi pilgrimage in a department store, click on the third.

Photographer

Ian Reader

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