2. Blog
  3. Shikoku Pilgrims’ Helpers (3) Pilgrim inn owner:Naohiro Mochida

Shikoku Pilgrims’ Helpers (3) Pilgrim inn owner:Naohiro Mochida

Naohiro Mochida, Japan

I’m crazy about Shikoku.

First visit to Shikoku was 15 years ago for honeymoon.

My name is Naohiro Mochida and living in Tokushima for 12 years with my family. During the honeymoon trip, my wife and I were so overwhelmed about the beauty of the nature in Shikoku. We spent 10 days and saw many places along the coast.  Because we had a great time then, It was not difficult to convince my wife when I had a job offer from a company in Tokushima.

As I working for the company, I traveled many other places we could not visit during the 10 days trip and started to change my feelings about the job. I met many people who are interested in tourism. So finally, My friend and I purchased an old hotel and opened a hostel near Tokushima station in 2019 named “Hostel PAQ tokushima”.  I wanted to show and our guest to feel this beauty of Shikoku by explaining in English and other languages when we had staff from foreign countries.  At our hostel, we collect and hand over many brochures from all prefectures in Shikoku.  Every city and town have their tourism associations.

HOSTEL PAQ tokushima
Inside view

As running a hostel, I met many guests from all over the world.  From the open to today, we had guests from 62 countries and regions. Many of the purpose of coming to Shikoku is to walk the pilgrimage and healing their hearts by worshipping the temples along.  A young girl from Greenland, 80-years-old lady from France, a musician from United State, a Spanish man with his foldable bicycle, a couple of French man and German woman spend 60 days for whole way, a hitchhiker from Israel, group of 26 from Italy and 12 year-old kid from Japan stayed at our hostel.

One Italian man stayed at our room when I was not at our building. He is a true Japan lover and published a book about Shikoku pilgrimage in Italian.  He made few reservations during the Covid 19 was spreading everywhere and had to cancel those reservations.  However, the Italian man and I were talking through internet and SNSs.  As I was talking to him, I felt that he liked Japan and our culture so much, I sent some gifts from Japan to his house in Italy.

During that time, he published the book of Spanish translated version. He sent me some copies, and I bought some more copies to keep at my house and our hostel. I also donate one copy to Tokushima Library.   I carry the new book with me and drove to the temples and took many pictures of temples with the book. He really liked it.

Then finally, he got a job offer to guide Italian tourists in Shikoku and showed up at our hostel and met first time.  (He is on the right in the photo above.)

I took them to a Soba restaurant and enjoyed that first time Japanese meal in Japan. The next day, I had a surprise for him and his group.  I called over 30 Japanese people and welcomed the tour by eating outside together, folding Origami for the chopstick’s holder, Maccha show, singing with a guitar and at the end, we gave them a lesson of “Awa odori” for couple minutes and danced together.  Even though, many of the local Japanese people did not speak English nor Italian, everyone enjoyed and laughed so much.  That party was filmed by local cable TV and was televised next day.

This year, my 10-years-old daughter started pilgrimage with us.  We live close the No.17 temple Idoji. She has been taken to Idoji since she started walking with me walking our dog.
She could be the first one to accomplish “Kechigan” in our family.

HOSTEL PAQ tokushima
2-5 Nakatori-machi, Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture 770-0844 TEL +81-88-679-8990