Shikoku 2018

Day 10: Temples 27 – 30

Todays first hurdle, 425m above sea level, along 4km partly road and partly mountain track and the last 1km with an average gradiant of 45 degrees. I’d slept well, rose at 6.30, left my backpack at the hotel, and caught the 8.03 train to Tonohama.

It took me 45 mins to get to the top, walking 500m with a middle aged Japanese lady. I also met a french couple on the way up, who I had not seen before. It was a tough climb, but temple 27, Konmineji, has a reputation of being the most beautiful of all 88, and it certainly lived up to its reputation. The temples were much the same as other temples, but the gardens were beautifully kept – I hope the pictures below, do them some justice.

On the way out I met Romain (France) and Sigrid (Denmark) who I met on the way to 19, and Romain several times since. Walking down there was Englishman from Norwich, who is the first person I have met that has only walked, no trains, buses or lifts in cars.

I arrived back at the station with a 30 minute wait for the train to Aki, to pick up my backpack and then another hour for the train towards Kochi – where I am writting this first part of the blog.

Nine hours later, I am again sitting in the laundry room, at a different hotel and without any English instructions for the machines this time. I got off the train at Noichi and walked the 2km from the station to temple 28, Dainichiji, with full backpack. It was an uninteresting walk along a main road, primarily with industry. I caught up with a Japanese couple where the man walked 10 steps in front of his wife. The temple was plain, not least in relation to temple 27.

This temple is known as the fingernail temple, due to legend saying that Kobo Daishi carved a statue from a camphor tree with his finger nails. This temple is supposed to be good to cure sickness above the neck.

It is 9,2km between temples 28 and 29 largely through suburban countryside, mainly rice fields. I met the third Danish girl (# 6 and last Dane) on the way. She was walking with a Japanese man. We spoke and walked for ten minutes before I moved ahead, as I knew time was tight if I was to reach temple 30 as well. She mentioned that she had expected that there would be more walkers, a thought that had also passed my mind when we “only” passed 12 walkers when I took the bus to Muroto yesterday – if that is representative, there can hardly be more than 500 on the whole route. In general there were more pilgrims around Tokushima than here in Kochi.

I reached temple 29 at 3.30 pm, my feet were sore, but I was surprised that the backpack didn’t feel like a burden at all. It was going to have to be quick, so I rushed through the part where you wash your hands, and sat down to find candles and the nameslip. A young Japanese man came over and told me that I did the washing wrong – it should be left hand, right hand and then drink from water in your left hand. I thanked him. This temple had a beautiful rose garden with umbrellas protecting each rose from sun and rain. The picture below does not do it justice.


Temple 29, Kokubunji, is the provisional temple of Kochi. I now had to make a quick decision, call it a day or make a 7 km dash for temple 30. Google maps said I would arrive at 16.58, two minutes before closing time. I decided to make a dash for it, changed shoes and set off.

The first two kilometers were through rice fields on small paths, the last 4 on a main road with cars whisteling by. I made it by 16.45, 7km in 1 hour and 5 minutes with a full backpack and a 100m climb just before the temple. My feet hated me for it, but I was pretty proud of myself after 10km up and down to temple 27, and now 19km with a back pack visiting 28, 29 and 30.

I decided to get a stamp before looking around, the lady gave me a pack of tissues after asking if I was walking – she probably meant I needed them. Temple 30, Zenrakuji is two temples joined together in 1929, when Zenrakuji was rebuilt. It is beautifully kept, surrounded by a white wall. The gate to the temple is well away from the temple itself. In the rush, I forgot to take a photo with the phone, so instead you get a picture of the stamp from temple 30.


The route to temple 31 goes past the hotel I am staying at whilst in Kochi, but when I passed a railway station on the way, I decided to take the train – even though I only saved 2km and had to wait 30 mins – it had been a long day.

I went back to Sushi for dinner. The hotel is dead center of commercial Kochi, and it seems to be a vibrant city with lots going on – at least there were many restaurants to choose from, buskers on the street and a lot of people out and about. Tokushima seems very provinsiel in comparison.

A record 32 km today, 22 with my backpack, so my total is now 203 km on the route and 57 off the route. With 4 temples visited, I have 30 stamps, and 58 to go.

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