This summer was a scorcher. If you’re like me, you spent much of the past few months in a state of エアコン依存 (eakon izon, dependence on air conditioning), dreaming of fleeing to a 避暑地 (hishochi, area with a cool climate) in the mountains.

The weather is finally beginning to cool down, though, and I no longer become 汗だく (ase-daku, dripping with sweat) just walking to the train station. Feels like a good time to get outdoors and stretch my legs!

If that sounds like the perfect way to 気持ちを切り替える (kimochi o kirikaeru, to switch mental gears) and get yourself into an autumn mood, then this is a fine time to try a cultural practice that has been popular for at least 300 years: completing a pilgrimage circuit.