The Kamiyama Nature Pilgrimage Book
a piece from the Kamiyama Nature Pilgrimage collection
Close-up of two stamps in a completed book, 2003
Humans seem to have a need to have their experiences confirmed - often through writing (diplomas conferring the experience of education, for example), or the visual record (particularly photography).
In Kamiyama, Japan, Buddhist pilgrims flock to Shosan-ji as part of the island of Shikoku's 88-mile Kobo Daishi pilgrimage. Some pilgrims spend two months walking the arduous 1,023-mile circuit, while others take one-week bus tours. At Shosan-ji (temple #12 of the circuit), I have observed pilgrims videotaping, photographing and collecting temple stamps (called hanko) and priestly calligraphy as evidence of their pilgrimage.
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