A daily record of a ten-week walk through Japan
(more about my Aki Meguri)

Come with Me on Pilgrimage...

NOTE: I am in the process of moving the Aki Meguri pages here. Meanwhile, you can see them complete over at my old site, The Temple Guy.


On September 5th, 2001, The Temple Guy took the single step that led to an epic pilgrimage of 10 weeks through the heart of Japan, predominantly on foot. This 2,000 kilometer (1,200 mile) "Aki Meguri" (Autumn Pilgrimage) was in many ways the experience that solidified his status as "The Temple Guy." Throughout that experience I kept a daily homepage (before I know what a "blog" was). It was raw. What you see here is a slightly more processed version of those daily posts.

Although the journey was a continuous 10 weeks long, it can be separated into three discreet sections: a walk down the Old Tokaido, from Tokyo (Edo) to Kyoto; a visit to Nara and Asuka in Old Yamato; and the 88-Temple Pilgrimage on Shikoku.

First, I walked the historic Old Tokaido highway, a nearly 500-kilometer road created by the shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1601 (I was walking in the 400th anniversary year). The highway joined Edo (now Tokyo), the seat of the shogunate, to Kyoto, home of the Emperor. It was punctuated by 53 stations, and my Logbook records my arrival at each one.

Next, I used public transportation and walked through parts of the Yamato area, the heart of old Japan that includes Nara, Asuka, and Mt. Koya. This was mainly "sacred tourism," a visit to some of Japan's most popular sights, including the Great Buddha of Nara.

Finally, I arrived on Shikoku. The 88-Temple Pilgrimage there is Japan's oldest and longest. Here my journey took on a decidedly "holy" aspect, which is reflected in the Logbook.

These pages chronicle a unique part of my life; I hope you find something of value in them.

Read on for some background, or skip to the first entry (when it's available).

  • To skip to the various sections, or to access some of the specially-tagged features, use the box on the right.
  • Note that, unlike most blogs, these posts are in chronological order, from first to last.
  • I have moved a wealth of background information to the end of these pages, including:

  • The Prospectus: how I first announced this project to my friends
  • To Be a Pilgrim: the mechanics of pilgrimage
  • Connected Japan: The original homepage, and a look back at an old dream
  • Finally, with the boom of Web 2.0 since I published my original pages, I have added several things, notably a wealth of pictures on my Flickr page.

The old homepage had several "bonus" features. While some of them are mentioned in context throughout the posts, I've also listed them here for convenience. [All of these will be "growing" as I move the pages from the old site.]

  • Gallery: Hiroshige's Views of the 53 Stations of the Old Tokaido
  • Gallery: The Temple Guy at the 53 Stations of the Old Tokaido
  • Gallery: The 88 Temples of Shikoku
  • Journal Entries from the Old Tokaido and Yamato Stages: formerly an index, now a tag (see here for the rationale behind the Journal entries)
  • Words and Pictures pages: also turned into a tag
  • Background Information on:

  • The Old Tokaido Stage
  • The Yamato Stage
  • The Shikoku Stage
  • Background on the trip itself
Everything on these pages is © 2010 by James Baquet.

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