NARUTO, Tokushima Pref. — More than 1,100 years after the death of legendary Buddhist priest Kobo Daishi, pilgrims continue to flock to the temples he founded in Shikoku.
The pilgrims, called “ohenro-san,” wear only white clothing and use wooden walking sticks. The clothing is normally worn by the dead during burials and the sticks previously represented grave markers. Until the Meiji Era, many pilgrims used to collapse and die during their long and difficult journey to Shikoku, said Chozen Yoshimura, chief priest at Naruto’s Ryozenji Temple.