Accommodation: Kikusui Business Hotel 0895-22-0838, Uwajima, ¥4,000
We were up at 5:30am to a crisp autumn morning. There were no temples today as we had decided to stay the night in Uwajima, only 30km away and the biggest city since Kochi.
The path was a mixture of road walking along the coast, through tunnels and then city streets as we entered Uwajima city. Each day the tunnels seem to be getting longer and today was the longest yet at 1710m (more than a mile!).
A very long tunnel!
A very long tunnel!
Today the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage also took its first victim – Dave left from Uwajima to fly back home due to an injury… That leaves an Aussie and an owl keyring (with no tent!) attempting to make it to Temple 88! According to the guidebook, I’m halfway which should be around 600km but with all the alternative routes etc my GPS is telling me I’ve walked 737km to date.
I visited Uwajima castle on my way into the city then checked into my hotel. I met up with Dave to say goodbye and then started with the mundane task of washing clothes! As I was wandering around the city, I started to feel lost and worried that I was now completely alone, even though Dave and I hadn’t walked together for a lot of it, we had caught up each night, and at least someone knew where I was… And then I bumped into a float in the shape of a bull being pulled around by a bunch of drunk guys.
The view of Uwajima from the castle
A bull float being pulled through the streets
After watching the bull float be pulled through the streets, I bumped into a Japanese man, Mizusawa san, who I had met yesterday along the trail. He was also staying in the city and as this was his 4th time of walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage he had a restaurant recommendation for dinner. He showed me where the restaurant was and we arranged to meet at 6:30pm for dinner… It was the best meal I’ve had since walking in Shikoku! He gave me a stack of free/cheap accommodation recommendations and I was very grateful for the opportunity to have had dinner with him.
Kikusui Business Hotel in Uwajima, ¥4000, (between temple 40 and 41)
Dinner with Mizusawa san at Hozumitei restaurant in Uwajima
I have found that I have much more interaction with local residents when I travel alone. When I have a travel companion, we interact with each other. And, there seems to be a “bubble” that the locals choose not to try to penetrate. Alone, I am much more accessible. Perhaps this phenomenon is what underlies your experience this day?
I completely agree. I certainly had a lot more contact with the locals during the second half of my walk when I was walking alone.
I hope I’ve been able to convey just how generous and kind the local Japanese people were to me as I walked… I received so many gifts of osettai and words of encouragement from everyone I passed. It’s an incredible culture there.