Day 30, Temples 52-53, 33km – Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage

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  • Monday 4 November, 2014
  • Weather: Hot & Humid, 23⁰C 
  • Temples: 52 & 53 (Taisanji, Enmyoji), 33km
  • Accommodation: Asanami ‘Daishido’ – Daishido refers to Kobo Daishi’s house – free for pilgrims 

After 2 nights resting in Matsuyama, it was hard to get out of bed and muster the strength to start walking and carrying my backpack again! I had a slow start and left at around 8am.

On my way to Temple 52, a lady riding toward me on her bike stopped and gave me a handful of mandarins as ‘osettai.’ I thanked her, put them in my Henro white shoulder bag and continued on. The main hall at Temple 52, ‘Taisanii,’ was built in 1305… I’m amazed every single day at the beauty and age of the temples I’m visiting…

After Temple 53 the path once again continued along the coast, this time the north western coast of Shikoku.

It was an easy walk and the only worry I had was whether the free accommodation I wanted to stay in would be open because today was a national holiday in Japan. I had never stayed in a ‘Daishido’ before but had been told it meant Kobo Daishi’s house, like a temple space for pilgrims to sleep in, but not attached to a temple. My notes told me to ask for the key at the shop next door after 5pm. So I continued on, hoping the shop would be open but thinking something else would present itself if I was unable to get the key… There didn’t seem to be any places to get food near the accommodation so when I passed a Marunaka supermarket in the town before, I went and bought some sushi and snacks for dinner.

I arrived at the Daishido at 4:30pm and as I had expected, the shop where I had to get the key from was closed – because of the national holiday. I knocked a few times anyway, with no answer. I walked up the path and tried the Daishido door and it was locked.

So I left my bag outside and decided to take a walk to see what was around. The only shop I could find open was a liquor store so I went inside and decided to buy a plum shochu drink (like plum and vodka I guess). The owner asked where I had come from and where I was planning to stay and I mentioned the Daishido but that the people I needed to pick the key up from weren’t home so I was going to wait a while and see if they returned. He made a quick call on his mobile and said they were home in the house above the shop and to go and knock on their door, then he gave me a persimmon as ‘osettai’ and wished me luck.

I went back, found the stairs to their front door, knocked and the lady came out and unlocked the Daishido for me. Having never stayed in one before I had no idea what to expect but was delighted to find a large tatami room with blankets and a Buddhist alter, toilet around the back and running water… Free and all to myself… Could this kindness and generosity happen anywhere else in the world??

I settled in, ate my sushi dinner and snacks and had a long and peaceful sleep.

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