30/Apr/2017

Turismo de Galicia reinforces its backing of the bid for World Heritage Site status by Japan's Shikoku Henro Trail

  • It takes part in an event in Japan, supporting the candidacy through different activities, including a talk on the Way of St. James
  • Turismo de Galicia is in constant contact with the region, providing advice and collaboration around the consolidation of this route

Santiago de Compostela, 30 April 2017

With the aim of strengthening tourism and cultural connections between Galicia and Japan, as well as to demonstrate its support for the World Heritage bid by Japan's Shikoku Henro Trail, Turismo de Galicia recently took part in an event around this pilgrimage route, held in Japan.

The initiative included a pilgrimage along the route with representatives of the four prefectures, temple visits, as well as a talk on the Way of St. James and the Japanese trail. The focus was on efforts to have the Shikoku Trail added to the World Heritage List, as the Japanese government must also promote the candidacy to UNESCO.

Information was provided about an exhibition on the Shikoku Henro Trail, to be held in Santiago in July, and there was discussion of joint Galicia–Shikoku efforts to have the Shikoku Trail added to the World Heritage List.

Consolidating the route

This event took place within the framework of ongoing work by Turismo de Galicia around this route, maintaining constant contact with Shikoku representatives, providing advice and collaboration in the consolidation of the pilgrimage route. This is similar to efforts involving the Kumano Trail, with which the Way of St. James has been twinned since 1998, establishing close ties between Galicia and the Wakayama Prefecture.

The Shikoku Henro Trail is known as the pilgrimage of 88 temples. It is a 1200-kilometre circular route running through four provinces on Shikoku Island. It is possible to only complete a specific section, but it is unlike other routes in that there is no start or finish, as it is circular.

The Japanese market

For the Way of St. James, the Japanese market has experienced significant growth in recent years, increasing from 1197 pilgrims receiving their Compostela in 2015 to close to 1500 last year. So far this year, there have been more than 160.