12 October - 01 November, 2009
Pilgrimage Price: US$4,700 (land cost only, not including airfare)
A place on the pilgrimage will be reserved for you upon receipt of your registration form and US$500 deposit (non-refundable). To request a registration package please contact Cate. The balance of $4,200 will need to be received by August 1st, 2009.
All transportation within Japan, including cable cars and ferries; temple accommodation for the duration of the pilgrimage; breakfast every day; lunch or dinner every day, except for Day 12 (Rest Day); all entrance fees to temples.
Airfare to and from home country; personal travel insurance; personal items; temple stamps and souvenirs.
Personal Travel Insurance:
It is essential that you have adequate health and travel insurance cover for the duration of your journey.
Minimum of 4 people, maximum of 12 people.
For the 2,000 km temple circuit we will travel in a chartered Coaster Mini-bus or van. There will be additional transportation required at some temples such as cable car and ferry.
Most of the accommodation is at traditional temple inns. However, due to the downturn in the Japanese economy, some temples have had to close their doors to pilgrims staying overnight and on these occasions we will stay at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) or tourist hotel recommended by the temple. These temple inns have historically catered to pilgrim groups and therefore we will be accommodated according to Japanese pilgrimage traditions. This means that we will sleep on futons on tatami rush-matted floors in several spacious communal rooms. Most temples have traditional Japanese bathhouses with large very hot baths that are also communal (gender segregated). Once you partake of a traditional Japanese bath you'll never be able to enjoy a regular western bath again!
Most of the meals will be traditional Japanese Buddhist vegetarian cuisine - a truly gourmet delight. These meals are principally vegan (dairy-free) because dairy products are not a part of the traditional Japanese diet. However, some temples may serve meals that contain eggs. On the occasions when we stay at an inn or hotel there will be fish or meat served. The meals are always served as a set, and there is no a la carte choice - if you don't like something, just swap it with one of your fellow pilgrims! Whilst the Japanese diet is considered among the healthiest in the world, Japanese meals are quite high in salt, and so if you have any health issues concerning salt intake, you may need to reconsider coming because this aspect of the diet is unfortunately unavoidable.
You must be able to carry your own luggage up and down the temple inn stairs which are often steep and narrow - so your luggage must match your physical ability to carry it! Some temples require a quite demanding walk up mountain pathways so an average level of physical fitness is necessary. All our meals are served at floor level seated on cushions, as is the Japanese custom, so you must be able to sit comfortably on the floor. Likewise, during temple services you will be required to sit on a cushion on the floor for about 30 - 45 minutes. All accommodation will be in traditional Japanese style bedding which is a cotton futon mattress on the floor, which is very comfortable but quite firm for the back.