I slept in and left the Minshuku at 9am. I was expecting an easy 18km day walking back to temple 1 because I hadn’t looked at the elevation plot!! As I was walking with the sea to my left, the mountain range in front of me was getting closer and I started to get a horrible feeling that I was going to have to go up and over it… I was right 😦 So much for my easy day, I went up and over the Osaka pass (Osaka means large slope/hill), then down, only to go up again. It was hot and I was sweating and it took 2 hours longer than I had anticipated! I stopped to have lunch at a hut on the pass and I had a lovely, almost 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains, villages and sea.
The shelter on top where I had lunch
On the second steep hill when I was walking along the road, a lady drove past me, stopped and offered me a ride, but I kindly refused and said I needed to walk.
I arrived at Temple 1 and even though I was only there 43 days ago, it felt much longer and the temple seemed smaller now. I chanted the heart sutra and gave thanks to Kobo Daishi for looking after me during the pilgrimage and allowing me to finish. Then I went into the temple shop to buy a book to keep all the slips I received at each temple – I saw it on day 1 but didn’t want to carry it! The shop lady asked if I had received my last stamp yet and I didn’t even realize I was supposed to get another one at this temple – lucky she asked! My stamp book is now complete except for the one I’ll get from Koyasan.
Henro chanting at Temple 1, Ryozenji
I asked the same lady about the timetable for the trains back to Tokushima – I remembered it was a very infrequent service and being a Sunday it would be even more infrequent. There was a train in 15 minutes and if I missed this one I would need to wait 1.5hr so the lady offered to drive me because I wouldn’t make it in time if I walked. Another wonderful act of kindness and she got me to the station just in time for me to buy a ticket before the train arrived.
Back in Tokushima I had booked the same hotel I stayed at the night before I started walking and when I checked in I changed my reservation to 2 nights instead of 1 so I could relax tomorrow and check out the sights of Tokushima. I also needed to figure out how to get to Koyasan and where to stay when I’m there! I had a long bath then went out for yakiniku (BBQ) to celebrate making it back to temple 1 and walking 1331 km around Shikoku!