We are Kochi-ke: Larry Bates

Self-discovery through serenity

“I’ve always wanted to do the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. Although I am not religious myself, I’ve been interested in Buddhism from my earliest days as a Chinese Studies major, and later, an English teaching fellow at Wuhan University in the 1980s. In those days in China, I found one of the most exciting things to do both physically and mentally was to visit the sacred mountains.”

“Many years later, I returned to China to do one of those mountain trips again, and I found it had become very popular and much more modernized. While Japan, where I’ve lived for 30 years, and particularly Shikoku, is almost like a hidden secret. I was pleasantly surprised by how few people I saw along the way, which added to the serenity and my own rejuvenation as well as wonder of the experience.”
“My greatest takeaway from the pilgrimage was probably the physical challenge I faced on the steep hills and stairs, which told me I wanted to keep myself in better shape. This recognition came into full focus as I found myself saying at different points, “how many more steps?” It was an eye-opener to think through what I need to do at age 64 to see my kids properly grow up, go through college and establish themselves. Fully present in the serenity of the temples, Kochi’s wildly diverse landscapes, and spontaneous conversations with monks, shop owners, and fellow pilgrims, the journey reminded me of the beauty and authenticity of traveling in the old days.”

Larry Bates has been living in Japan for 30 years, serving as executive legal counsel to some of the largest companies, including General Electric and Panasonic Corporation. In May, motivated by his love of religious imagery and serenity of temples, Larry fulfilled his long desire to experience the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. Using a combination of walking and hiring a taxi with Anabuki Travel (driver/guide included), he covered 47 temples in 8 days
We are grateful to Larry for letting us share his story, and we hope to welcome him back soon

“We are Kochi-ke (Kochi family)” is all about highlighting the stories of the people who make us proud to call Kochi our home. Whether you are living in Kochi now or only visited once, you are part of the Kochi family

Learn more about the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage: https://visitkochijapan.com/en/highlights/henro
  • We are Kochi-ke: Larry Bates

  • We are Kochi-ke: Larry Bates

  • We are Kochi-ke: Larry Bates