Day 37, Temples 67-70, 27km – Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage

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  • Monday 11 November, 2013
  • Weather: First cold day, 13⁰C 
  • Temples: 67-70 (Daikoji, Jinnein, Kanonji, Motoyamaji) , 27km
  • Accommodation: Motodai Business Hotel 0875-24-1384, Kanonji, (near temple 70) ¥3,800

The book I had started reading a few days ago on my kindle (on my phone) was called ‘A Tale for the Time Being’. I had bought it months ago (certainly before I knew I was going to do this walk) and didn’t specifically choose to start reading it now; it was just the next unread book on my kindle. It turns out it was written by a Japanese author and everything I read, I’ve also experienced on this walk! I read about goose barnacles 3 days after I collected goose barnacles from some rocks. One of the characters is a Buddhist nun and it mentions the ‘Heart Sutra’ chant that I read out twice at every temple and have basically memorised. And lots more coincidences with the book, but last night I was reading it before falling asleep and it was talking about Japanese ghosts and how scary they are (unlike Western ghosts apparently) and it totally freaked me out and I was scared all night, alone in my room on top of the mountain at Temple 66!

I had planned to leave the mountain at 4:30am in the dark in order to walk a 40km day and fit in 9 temples but when I tried to turn my headlamp on to eat dinner last night, it didn’t work! I fiddled with it and eventually got it to work again but I didn’t want it being unreliable as I was trying to walk down a dark, ankle twisting, moss covered path busy with wild boars so I decided it would be best to wait until it was light to leave and that meant 7am.

It was a slow journey coming down the mountain; it was still quite dark under the forest cover and it was nice to walk without expecting to stand on a snake basking in the sun! A lot of the soil on the path had been upturned though and I’m assuming this was from wild boars?? It actually made walking easier because I could walk on the soft soil rather than on the slippery stones or tree roots.

Leaving a few hours later than originally planned meant there was no chance of arriving at the temple I had planned to stay at tonight so I called them, changed my reservation to tomorrow night and booked a business hotel 20km away. It meant I was going to have 2 short days, but why not… I’m so close to the end now and I’m not in a hurry.  The temple tomorrow night is paid accommodation including a Buddhist veggie dinner and breakfast – my first time to pay to stay at a temple on this walk!

It was the first cold day I’d experienced so far. I kept my leggings on under my shorts, my icebreaker merino sleeves and my gloves on all day. Until today I was always walking in just shorts and a short sleeve shirt. I actually prefer walking in cold weather because if I’m wearing it, then I’m not carrying it on my back!

I took my time at each temple knowing that the check-in time at the hotel wasn’t until 4pm and if I’d walked at my usual pace I would have arrived by midday.

I met a lady in a field who stopped me and gave me 2 persimmons, 2 mandarins and a vitamin drink, so generous of her. I’m probably starting to look like a mandarin/persimmon considering how many I’m eating!

I arrived at the hotel right on 4pm and was surprised to see it was a converted apartment building and looked just like the last apartment I lived in, in Tokyo… It brought back some fun memories!

I went out for udon and sake, the perfect remedy for a cold evening.

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