A pilgrim route of over 1,100 km around the Japanese island of Shikoku links 88 temples associated with the 9th century monk Kōbō Daishi. Keith and Elaine, moderately fit, and with a totally inadequate knowledge of Japanese, set out to see how far they can get in the few weeks they have available. This is not an adventure story, nor one of spiritual angst and redemption, but it does follow them through a little-known part of rural Japan that has both charm and a capacity to surprise. How well will they manage the "pilgrim fall down" section leading to temple 12? Just what is going on at the "Udon Restaurant of the Spirits"? And why do they keep being served lotus root pizza?

Not a guidebook, but a lighthearted and useful introduction to the Shikoku pilgrimage, illustrated with over 200 colour photographs.

More by Keith Shortridge