2014.05.03 ohenro pic ii

2014 marks the 1,200th year since Buddhist monk Kukai made his holy journey to 88 temples on the southern Japanese island of Shikoku. The Shikoku Pilgrimage now attracts people from all over Japan as well as the world to visit the same temples along the 1,200 km-route.

Now, a new TV series, Ohenro, is out to appeal to a new generation of religious travelers and features three female pilgrims stylized in the ever popular moe fashion of super-cute anime characters.

But Japanese netizens, eager to soak up all things moe, are wondering if they will have to make their own “holy trip” since only four broadcasters are airing the show!

Although this is hardly the first time moe has infiltrated Japanese religious life, the supercute main characters of Ohenro are bringing a huge wave of attention to Shikoku and its famous pilgrimage. The 30-minute weekly show, whose title means “pilgrim” in Japanese, is about three girls, Megumi, Chiwa and Mao, who set out to complete the 88-temple journey. Each episode will show a temple and its surroundings as well as the girls’ “interactions” with Shikoku residents and of course, eating the area’s most famous foods.

▼ The three Ohenro ladies: Megumi, Chiwa and Mao

2014.05.03 ohenro picImage: Ufotable

Ohenro actually began as a newspaper column in 2010 in the Tokushima Shimbun as a way to promote the upcoming anniversary. The moe characters have also been heavily promoted with a barrage of merchandise like book covers, coffee mugs and water bottles.

▼ The girls have even helped to attract noodle fans to the 8th Tokushima Ramen Expo last month

2014.05.03 ohenro ramenImage: Japan Attractions

Japanese animation studio Ufotable is producing the show that features the three animated moe girls superimposed on top of live-action shots of the temples and their surroundings. And Marika Kono, Yuro Ehara and Nanami Yamashita will be the voices of Megumi, Chiwa and Mao, respectively.

Check out the video below to get a preview of Ohenro.

Video: YouTube (ufotablegoods)

Unfortunately, not everyone in Japan can tune in weekly to see Ohenro. Right now only four broadcasters are airing the show and only one isn’t on the island of Shikoku. Japanese netizens are hoping they can convince their local TV station to air the show, but right now they will have to make their own pilgrimage to the broadcast areas of Okayama Broadcasting, Ehime Broadcasting, Kochi Sun Sun Broadcasting or Tokushima Cable Network. Ohenro fans will have to tune in every Saturday at 11:15 AM in Okayama, every Sunday at 8:55 AM in Ehime and Kochi and every Sunday night at 9:30 PM in Tokushima.

▼ Ohenro‘s weekly broadcasting schedule

2014.05.03 ohenro pic iiiImage: Ufotable

Have you ever been on the Shikoku Pilgrimage or would you like to go now that moe characters are involved? Let us know in the comments below what you think of Ohenro and whether you would consider a “TV pilgrimage” to watch the show!

Feature Image: Ufotable
Source: NetLab