- A leader or guide, usually of ascetic practitioners or pilgrims. Originally a Buddhist term meaning a revered priest, it was applied particularly to leaders of groups of shugenja (practitioners of shugendo). Pilgrimages to shrine-temple complexes such as Kumano and Yoshino in the Heian period were organised and led by sendatsu; up to the Tokugawa period sendatsu were employed as 'middlemen' by the oshi or priestly organizers of Kumano whereas the oshi of Ise jingu organised their own confraternities of pilgrims. In modern times male or female sendatsu have an important role as pilgrimage leaders, travelling with pilgrims, leading them in worship and ex- plaining the special features of the shrines and temples on a pilgrimage.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.