Shikoku 88 Introduction

Pilgrim Attire

You don’t have to use any of the attire, but you will be recognised as a pilgrim if you wear the white vest.


Sugegasa – the wedge hat, that is useful for blocking the sun, or raingear.

Kongozue – the staff, you take Kõbõ Dashi with you when you carry the stock, and in return he guides you. There are rules associated to the staff; you take care of the staff before yourself; when you find somewhere to stay, wash the end of the staff and place it a safe place; don’t tap the staff when walking over a bridge (as it is believe that Kõbõ Dashi sleeps under a bridge); and don’t cut the end of the staff with a knife – when it starts to fray.

A bell is often part of the staff, and should be rung after reciting each suntra. It is also used in the mountains to warn dangerous animal – wild boar, snakes and even bears that you are coming. Others say it is to keep you in the present, instead of just dreaming your day away whilst walking.

Zutabukuro – small bag in which you kan keep things that are necessary for the journey, e.g. the stamp book, name slips, candles and coins to be used at the temples.

Wagesa – a cotton or silk scarf, that indicates to others that you are on a religious journey.

Hakue – pilgrims are typically dressed all in white, to represent purity and innocense. Previously it also represented death, symbolising that a pilgrim was prepared to die at any time. Comes in two versions, one with and one without sleeves. The better robes will have Namu Daishi Henjō Kongō written in kanji on the back.

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