Koubou Daishi (or Kukai), the founder of Shingon Buddhism, experienced training on Shikoku island in his youth, and left a lot of legends in various places. Many people living in Shikoku call him "O-Daishi sama" with respect and familiarity.
The Shikoku pilgrimage" or "O-henro" is a 1200km-long journey to visit 88 temples associated with Koubou Daishi. The year 2014 was the 1200th anniversary of the pilgrimage. It’s been part of the precious culture of Shikoku, and is even familiar to people overseas these days. In fact, we can often see foreigners in traditional costume doing the pilgrimage.
Although there are no strict rules about the order to visit temples, visiting them in their numbered order is the general custom. The first temple is Ryouzen-ji Temple. It’s the starting point of the journey, and therefore, is always crowded with many travelers and pilgrims.