If you spend some time on Shikoku, even if you don’t do the Shikoku Pilgrimage, you are likely to encounter tiny signs, usually white, with a small red Ohenro-san pilgrim on them. Their purpose is to help pilgrims find their way to the next temple, and indicate the henro trail.
A little while ago, I saw a quite surprising one.
Surprising for two reasons. First because it simply was a sticker on an electrical pole not too far from my house. However, even if I live almost halfway through Ichinomiya-ji and Yashima-ji, the actual pilgrimage route doesn’t really go through my neighborhood (now, when the “henro trail” goes through an urban area, there isn’t always just one route, even if there is always a historical/traditional one).
The other surprising thing about this sticker is that it’s mostly in English:
Why is that? No idea. Even if the number of foreign Shikoku Henro Pilgrims is getting larger and larger every year, it is still a very small number, and it is until now the only sign in English I have seen.
Of course, I went and checked out the web address that’s on it. It is the Network for Shikoku Henro Pilgrimage and Hospitality. I had never heard of this NPO before, but if you’re interested in the Shikoku Pilgrimage, I believe that it may be interesting for you.