{Shikoku Hachijūhachikasho Meguri}

---Do You Want/Need A Guide?---



Do you want someone to guide you around the trail? I'm available, and see two pricing options:


Fellow Henro
You want to walk the henro trail; you want to be a henro. You want that experience. But maybe you don't want to walk it alone, or you don't speak the language and don't want to struggle or try and figure out the maps and signage. Maybe you don't know if you can do it. But one thing is sure, you really want to go.

You want to walk, but you don't want to feel as if you're just following someone else? You want someone to lead you but you want it to be your own experience? You want to experience the henro trail, not just see Shikoku? You want to wander the same mountains and shores that the Daishi wandered? You want to see the caves where he sat in meditation until that wonderful morning of enlightenment? You want to soak up the power and atmoshphere at all 108 temples? You want that exhilarating feeling you receive in return for exerting everything you've got to climb those last 100 meters to the next temple? You want those lazy naps on the beaches of Kōchi Prefecture?

If all you want is someone to walk with, a fellow henro so to speak, then all i ask is that you cover my expenses. The trip has to be a net zero expense to me so this includes airfare from Chicago, lodging and expenses between arriving in Japan and beginning the walk, and the same between finishing and boarding the plane to return home.

For that i am completely at your disposal, 24x7. I'll get you to and from Shikoku if that's needed. Then i'll get you around Mt. Kōya and the henro trail, translate for you throughout the day, take care of all the logistics, lodging, and transportation, help you talk to all the people you want to talk to, help you see anything you want to see, and any and all other experiences that come up. We are fellow henro, but i'm there solely to support you. The way i look at it is, i'll do anything you want, except carry your pack. 24x7.

What i'm suggesting is not the typical tour: "On day one we will be here, on day two here, day three here, ... On this day we will walk this many km, the next day this many, ..." No. Forget that — a Henro should not be that structured. There will be no itinerary that you can hand out to family and friends before leaving. Based on how long you want to take, we can tell them how long we should expect to be in each prefecture, but each day's schedule is decided that morning, or, at most, a day or two in advance. The walk is a fluid, completely ad hoc, adventure. My job will be to get you around the henro trail and back home on time, your job is simply to enjoy each and every day, and maybe to look for what the Daishi was looking for when he was there ... like i will be doing.


Research
If you are on the trail to do research, collect data, shoot a film, etc., then in addition to covering all of my expenses a negotiable fee is required. In this case, being a henro is secondary for me, ensuring the success of your work takes priority.





For what it is worth.....
Even though i once lived and worked in Japan for two years, and have travelled extensively throughout Honshu (the main island) and Shikoku in trips lasting weeks to months, i do not consider myself bilingual. However, i do have very good conversational and general interpretive skills, so my Japanese is more than enough to ensure that you have a memorable experience on the henro trail.

In my opinion being bilingual means that you can walk into any situation, any conversation, and translate back-and-forth, with no problems, and i don't have the necessary general business, political, or other subject specific vocabulary to do that. Given that, when i travel, whether by myself for pleasure or as a guide, i have no problems communicating in any respect; usually being told that my Japanese is very good. My abilities are much more than that required for the life of a henro on Shikoku.




Experience:
• 1999: Walked the entire trail (all 88 main temples & 20 bangai temples).
• 2005–2008: Walked the entire trail, 1 prefecture/year (all 88 main temples & 20 bangai temples).
• 2011: Guided an American man around the trail over two months (all 88 main temples, most bangai temples).
• 2013: Spent one month on Shikoku working with the British film crew that made the documentary Sacred Journeys.
• 2015: Guided an American woman around the Tokushima Prefecture section of the trail.
• 2015: Worked as a guide for Mountain Hiking Holidays during their November 2015 trip to Shikoku.
• 2016: Worked as a guide for Mountain Hiking Holidays during their March and April 2016 trips to Shikoku.
• 2016: Walked Kōchi, Ehime, & Kagawa Prefectures to finish my 4th walk of the Henro.
• 2017: Worked as a guide for Mountain Hiking Holidays during their two Shikoku tours in April 2017. The combined tours covered the last of the temples they haven't visited in previous tours, thus completing my 5th tour of the Henro. Four walking & now one by bus/walk.
• 2017: Will work as a guide for Mountain Hiking Holidays during their tour of the Kumano Kodo trails in October 2017.
• 2017: Will guide an American woman around part of the Henro over 16 days in late October & early November 2017.
• 2017: Will work as a guide for Mountain Hiking Holidays during their Shikoku tour in November 2017.




References available. Contact me at the address found on the Contact Me page.

Have a great day.

Dave


Photo Credits: 2 Pictures on the left: Eric Waite; Right: Matsushita Naoyuki


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