The Shimanto River is located in western Kochi Prefecture, Japan. It is 196 kilometers in length, making it the longest river in Shikoku, and holds a watershed of 2,270 km². Its name is literally translated as “fourty thousand and ten”. In the neighborhoods around the river, residents make their living on fishing and seaweed (nori) production.
Pilgrims will come across this river as they cross the Shimanto River Bridge, located southwest of Kuroshio District (黒潮町). It is roughly equidistant between Temple 37 – Iwamoto Temple (岩本寺), and Temple 38 – Kongofuku Temple (金剛福寺). When crossing a bridge on the pilgrimage, pilgrims will often refrain from using their walking stick. It is said that the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi’s spirit lives along the pilgrimage, and may rest under bridges from time to time. Pilgrims avoid making a sound with their walking stick so as to not disturb his spirit.
遍路小屋 第54号 四万十