Day 18, Temple 37, 37km

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  • Wednesday 23 October, 2013
  • Weather: Pouring Rain, 20⁰C 
  • Temple: 37, (Iwamotoji), 37km
  • Accommodation: In the tent at a Henro hut called Saga next to Kobushi-no-sato Onsen, free

 I woke throughout the night to the sound of rain but luckily we were sheltered by the Henro hut roof and weren’t getting wet.

We slept in and got up at around 6am; it was still pouring rain… And still is as I write this now at 10pm…

Last night, the Japanese Henro in the tent beside us said that if it was raining in the morning to walk along highway #56 rather than the mountain trail because the mountain trail would be too dangerous. Who were we to argue with common sense like that?! So off we went on route 56 and were on it all day as it wound up into the mountains then down again after about 20km. The views were spectacular and very atmospheric with the mountains covered in mist. I wish I could have taken more photos but I was like a drowned rat after an hour and didn’t want to risk taking out my phone or camera.

We finally arrived at Temple 37 after 20km of walking in the rain. We were both soaked through even in our wet weather gear and didn’t even want to think about what the contents of our backpacks would be like. The staff at the temple asked us where we were planning on staying the night and we said the hut near the Onsen (bathhouse) about 15km or so further down the path. They suggested we stay at this temple in their free accommodation but because it was so early (around 1pm) and the fact that having a nice, long, hot bath at the end of the day was the light at the end of the tunnel, we politely declined their offer and headed out into the rain again… How much more wet could we get?!

We walked fast, stopping just once to buy breakfast for the next morning and arrived at the hut at 4pm. It was a terrific looking hut with just enough room for the tent inside, a statue of Kobo Daishi looking over us and a wide roof which we hoped would keep the rain out. But best of all, it was literally next door to the Onsen – about 10 steps away from a nice hot bath, free wifi, a restaurant, laundry and power plugs… We used all the facilities and stayed there from 4:30pm until 9pm when they kicked us out!

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