Zenkonyado (善根宿) is a place to sleep put at disposal of shikoku pilgrims by individuals free of charge or a very slight financial participation.
This can be a room in their House, in a small separate building, in a converted garage or sometimes a building constructed for the sole purpose to House pilgrims.
It is an honour to receive pilgrims from Shikoku. It is a form of o-setai. A donation.
Useful information :
It is not always easy for a pilgrim not speaking Japanese to find a zenkonyado. There is a list but in Japanese. I’ll try to make you the translation. It is strongly advised to confirm by phone, some places may sometimes no longer exist.
Last detail that is important, it is often small rooms where you can often sleep that has 2 or 3.
The simplest is to ask in temples if on your journey there is a zenkonyado. I also advise you to well remember the kanji in order to recognize the building which serves as housing.
It is difficult to know what you will find. This may be a recent and rather isolated building as in the first photo. Still under construction in the summer 20 15 at the expense of an individual for “occupy his retirement”.
This can be a simple room at the edge of the national, and full of… cockroaches as shown in the second picture. And even more unlikely, the form of a… bus.
Sometimes the owner take you visit the area, will offer you a snack. One thing for sure you will be protected from rain and sometimes you’ll be surprising encounters.