Day 39, Temples 76-79, 31km – Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage

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  • Wednesday 13 November, 2013
  • Weather: Sunny but cold, 12⁰C
  • Temples: 76-79 (Konzoji, Doryuji, Goshoji, Tennoji), 31km
  • Accommodation: Azusa Minshuku 087-874-0273 (near Temple 80), Takamatsu, ¥3,500

I woke up at 5:40am to get to the morning service in the temple at 6am. I wore all my layers expecting it to be freezing in the temple and it was! The service was led by the head monk and started with him giving a ‘sermon’ I guess about how all things are living even the rice we eat… I understood a bit and then Katsumi filled in the gaps at breakfast! All of the monks (about 8) then chanted for half an hour and after this it was our time to chant the sutras we’ve been chanting at each temple. (Everyone at the service were Henro, 3 of us walking and the rest by bus).

The service finished at 7am and before leaving we were instructed to go through the underground passage which was pitch black so you needed to touch the wall with your left hand and chant “Namu Daishi Henjou Kongou” – it was scary, I had no idea what was happening and I literally couldn’t see the person right in front of me! After this it was time for breakfast.

Katsumi and I agreed to leave together but first he needed to sketch the temple and I needed to work out the next couple of days. The kind of sketches Katsumi did were exactly what I’ve been looking for in a postcard. Can you believe Temples don’t have any postcards of this pilgrimage but they sell literally everything else (that you couldn’t even imagine you needed!)…

We were walking together along a road when my left hiking pole snapped in half, and it’s made of carbon! I couldn’t believe it; my poles are just as important to me as my shoes especially because it’s my left knee with the injury. I stopped at the next convenience store and bought some superglue, hoping and praying to Buddha that the glue would fix my poles, but no, not fixable 😦

We met a lady standing outside her house who gave us both a small pottery jizo statue that her son had made as osettai.

It was fun walking together but we were staying in different locations so had to say goodbye and as I walked the last 10km to my accommodation I was handed ¥500 by a lady riding past me, then I was invited in to a barber’s shop and given a tomato juice by two elderly ladies who had lots of questions for me 🙂 … I’m not a fan of tomato juice but I forced it down with a smile on my face! Then I met a lady picking figs off a tree and she told me to stop and try one, it was delicious. I don’t think I’d ever eaten fresh figs before this walk and they’re really nice.

I arrived at my Minshuku (Japanese style inn) after dark and had brought some pot noodles with me for dinner. I watched some sumo wrestling on the tv in my room and then hit the sack.

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