Shikoku 2018 Shikoku 2018 Main

Day 1: Temples 1 – 5

Today wasn’t supposed to be a walking day, but a settling in day. However, upon arriving in Tokushima, I went straight to the hotel to check-in. But when official check-in time is 14.00, it doesn’t help that you’ve just flown in from HEL and have barely slept, when it’s only 12.45!

I left my bag with them and decided to see when the next train to Bondo, close to temple 1, departed. It left in 10 mins, so my journey was about to begin.

I met three Germans on the train who were going to walk for 10 days, and three Japanese ladies about to start their first trip. There were lots of people at temple 1, Ryozenji, where Kukai prayed for the farmers. I bought my book, some candles and nameslips, a white jacket, but no hat or stick. The lady in the shop asked if I was walking all the way and gave me an armband to wear and bring me good luck. The first signing in my book.

Temple 1, is just outside town, and walking towards temple 2 one walks through suburben countryside, nice houses with a small plot of land. A lot of people out looking after their garden.

I’d quickly walked the 1,5km to temple 2, following the signs. Gokurakuji, is, according to the book, a temple where Kukai carved a statue, and where people pray for easy childbirth – most of the people at the temple were certainly past childbirth. I remembered to get the stamp and go through the rituals, before moving on.

The three kilometers to temple 3 passed through suburban countryside, but mostly countryside. It was getting hot. At Temple 3, Konsenji, where Kukai repaired the buildings, there is Gold Well where it is said that if you can see your face in the reflection you will live until you are 92, otherwise you will die within 3 years. There was a long queue and I’d rather not know, so I didn’t take the chance. The lady in the stamp office gave me an origami bird.

It was decision time now, should I call it a day and take the train back, or should I walk the 5km to temple 4. Given the beautiful weather, and I wasn’t feeling tired, I choose the later. For the first time the path took me off the road and through a small forest. I passed a smaller temple with a beautiful garden, and also did my first uphill walk, 73m.

Temple 4, Dainichiji, is said to be founded by Kukai. It was past 4pm now and they were beginning to close down. The main gate was being restored and apart from a couple that arrived by car, nobody was visiting. Probably because the temple lies higher up, the trees were in full bloom, with pink, white and red flowers – luckily I wasn’t too late to see blooming cherry trees.

Temple 5 was only 2km away, so after getting my stamp, I walked back down the 73m in the direction I had to go anyway to get the bus back to Tokushima. I increased my pace and made it to temple 5, with 15 mins to spare before closing time. Temple 5 is a big temple founded by Kukai in 811. Again, I went through the rituals, got my stamp, and left, just as they were about to close the gate. I almost forgot my guide book in the office, but luckily remembered before the office closed.

I was feeling a bit tired now, and walked to the main road and hopefully a bus. It is said that Kukai walks with you and helps. If so I should thank him, as no sooner had I reached the main road than the bus came. It was a slow 1 hour trip back to the hotel. The three Japanese ladies from the train, got on around temple 3.

Back at the hotel! I could check in and both the powerbank I had ordered from Amazon Japan and my 4G access point had arrived ????

I had sushi for dinner, and was laughed at by a Japanese gentleman who I was sitting next to – too much soya. We had a chat about Temples and life in general.


l walked 12km, have visited 5 temples (plus one or two in passing), so there are 83 left.

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