Day 15, Temple 30-31, 24km

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  • Sunday October 20, 2013
  • Weather: Rainy, 22⁰C 
  • Temples: 30 & 31, (Zenrakuji, Chikurinji), 24km
  • Accommodation: Business Hotel ‘Town Centre,’ 088-824-1800, Kochi, Henro discount ¥3,500

The rain was non-stop throughout the night and I kept having to move slightly further down my bench to avoid the drips coming through the tin roof of my hut. I woke often to different noises in the forest opposite me and when I slept I had very strange dreams… That’s how I know I had managed some sleep!

Patrick came walking by around 2am, he had moved on from the shelter he was in because of the rain. I couldn’t see who it was because of his headlamp so when he turned into the hut and was standing over me it was a nice surprise that it was him and not some stranger! I slept well for another couple of hours knowing I wasn’t alone.

It was still raining when we got up at 5:30am and my sleeping bag and mat were wet from the drips throughout the night. It was a short walk to Temple 30 and we arrived before it opened at 7am.

I had decided to have a rest day in Kochi because the Sunday market was on and it’s quite a famous market in Japan. I booked a business hotel near the market with a Henro discount but I hadn’t realised it was 5km off the path! Dave was already at the hotel so it was going to be a reunion with the three of us. Patrick and I arrived around 8:30am but couldn’t check-in till 4pm so we dropped off our bags and went to the market on an empty stomach! I tried and bought everything; apples, mochi, yuzu cakes, yakitori, sushi, beer… It was heaven to have a choice of good food after eating convenience store food for so long!

After gorging myself I headed to the castle and met a volunteer English guide who took me around. It was a stunning looking castle with a few parts remaining from when it was built in the 1600s.

Today was my rest day but because I couldn’t check-in until 4pm I decided to head to Temple 31. Patrick came along and we took a streetcar a couple of stops (considering we’d already walked an extra 5km off the path!) then headed up a mountain to Temple 31. No idea how, but we lost the Henro path… We saw a lady and asked for directions and she said to go basically straight up anyway we could, but warned us of the wild boars and said we should make as much noise as possible… We ended up walking through an orchard pushing our way through hundreds of spider webs, and not enjoying it! It was the first time I had to look at my GPS out of necessity rather than interest. I found a road marked on the GPS but first we had to find our way to the other end of the orchard and jump a fence! We made it to the road but very soon came to what looked like a dead end with no-entry signs. We took the left no-entry road and it took us through the back of a botanical garden (the path we were supposed to be on was going to take us through the botanical gardens anyway so it wasn’t all that bad what we were doing!). We found a lady who showed us how to get to the temple through the garden and arrived delighted that we hadn’t encountered any wild boars or been stuck on the mountain as the sun went down!

The temple was stunning and well worth all the spider webs I was covered in!

I asked staff at the temple for the easiest way down (not through an orchard) and the way they showed us was definitely easy, but much longer.

Back at the hotel we checked in, washed clothes, showered, then the three of us went to an izakaya (Japanese pub) for dinner and finally tried the famous local sake. It was delicious!

It was an interesting rest day. I’d walked 24km!

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