A pilgrimage route stretching across Shikoku, one of Japan's four main islands, has recently been attracting more non-Japanese visitors with various cultural and religious backgrounds.

Some of these pilgrims view the walk as a spiritual journey, while others want to make the pilgrimage for its health benefits or to be closer to nature.

The roughly 1,200-kilometer journey, called "Shikoku Henro," is circular route that encompasses 88 temples associated with Buddhist priest Kukai (774-835), posthumously known as Kobo Daishi, who was born and trained in Shikoku and founded the esoteric Shingon sect of Buddhism in the ninth century.