Along the Shikoku Henro Pilgrimage trail, different types of accommodations are available. I usually used guest house or economy hotel. I preferred guest house, because I could hear some interesting and useful topics from the host or other pilgrims at dinner time. Also they usually provide local nice food as homemade style. Some temples provide lodging service (“Shukubo”), so I stayed some of them when plan could fit. At such “Shukubo” I could join morning religious service, which was memorable experience for me.
Regarding reservation, after a first week, I decided to make a reservation up to 3-5 days ahead. I came to this rule because of following reasons.
- It gave me good motivation and visibility in consideration of entire plan (I wanted to finish my pilgrimage before my next job will start ;))
- It also removes unnecessary anxiety (didn’t want to end up in hassling to find accommodation. I noticed some accommodation are closed in winter season)
- I could count on weather forecast for 3-5 days period
|Types||Price range (JPY)||Comments|
|Guest house (“Minshuku”)||5000-7000||Usually breakfast and dinner included with local food (“Sashimi” raw fish is pretty common, so if you cannot afford, better to check beforehand). Non shared room. Chat with hosts and other pilgrims would give you latest and useful information about your way forward.|
|Economy hotel||6000-8000||I only chose it when there’s no guest house available around. Usually only breakfast is included.|
|Standard, high line hotel (“Ryokan”)||10000-20000||I think it’s good idea to include a stay in some high line hotel because pilgrimage is long trail. You may enjoy nice food, onsen (hot spa) or great scenery.|
|Temple (“Shukubo”)||6000||I definitely recommend to stay in “Shukubo” if you have chance. You can see historical building of temples inside, enjoy its special culture including morning religious service, and ”Shojin” (Buddhist) cuisine.|
In addition to these accommodation I used during my pilgrimage, there’re also “Zenkon yado”, free or very low cost lodging provided by local people. Usually those are provided for walking pilgrims only. I didn’t use them simply because I didn’t have enough time to investigate how they are, and I want kind of safe and comfortable place to stay. However, some of my friends who did pilgrimage told me it was very interesting.
Some notes for you having difficulties in Japanese language
When I stayed at the guest house, I felt that majority of them are somewhat prepared for welcoming foreigners. However, it would still be problematic for them to use English especially when you make the reservation via phone call (not all of them have the website for reservation, and many of the guest houses are operated by elderly people).
My recommendation is to ask the landlord (or the other pilgrims) where you’re staying now to do reservation of the next accommodation. Even though you may have difficulties in Japanese, it would be much easier to ask them in face to face (by writing and using books etc) to make a reservation than to do it via phone call.