Izumo Shinbutsu Pilgrimage

Q. I’m not a practitioner of Shintoism or Buddhism. Does that matter?

No. Everyone, regardless of faith or religious beliefs is welcome to make the pilgrimage. Some of the shrines and temples date back around 1000 years and stand in some magnificent scenery so the pilgrimage makes for an interesting, educational and invigorating trip. We also recommend it for people wanting to relax and ‘get away from it all!’

Q. Are there any arguments or disagreements between the two religions that make up the pilgrimage?

No. Japanese people worship at both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. The Izumo Shinbutsu Pilgrimage is the first in Japan to combine the two religions of Shinto and Buddhism and it is said that by praying to the Gods of Shinto and to Buddha you will be blessed with divine virtue all the more.

Q. What is the ‘go-en’ bead?

You will receive this bead at each site when you get your stamp. Each bead has a character representing the shrine or temple carved into it. We hope that stringing the beads together will connect you to the good forces and separate you from the bad ones, quieten your mind and lead you to happiness.

Q. What should I wear and do I need to take anything with me on the pilgrimage?

There is no particular dress code, however as you will be visiting shrines and temples we ask that you take care not to be too untidy and that you remove your hat and sunglasses. Of course, sensible shoes are a must. We recommend you take your pilgrimage book, the string to put your beads on and either the guidebook or information printed from this website.

Q. Do I have to go round the sites in a particular order?

Each site is assigned a number so that the trail runs clockwise around Lake Shinji and Naka-umi Lagoon. However, you are free to make the pilgrimage in any order you wish. There is no need to rush or go out of your way, so take your time and choose the most convenient route for yourself.

Q. Why was this pilgrimage established?

In the Izumo region of Japan, the Gods of Shinto and Buddha have long been worshipped together, and so establishing this pilgrimage is a natural progression. In this materialistic world of the modern age, more and more people are suffering from stress and anxiety and are finding their hearts are spiritually empty. We hope that by making this pilgrimage, people will discover the ‘en’ and harmony that connect all living beings and find spiritual nourishment and peace in their hearts.