Shikoku 2018

Day 13: Temples 37, 39

For the first time I didn’t take the temples in the numbered order. Temple 38 is on Cape Ashizuri, the south-western tip of Shikoku. It is a day trip by bus, which I plan to do tomorrow.

I left Kochi this morning with the 9.35 train going west. I took the first train to Kubokawa, where temple 37 lies. It was a bad idea. The 9.35 was a local train that almost took two and a half hours. I later learned that the train that departed 20 mins later than mine, arrived an hour earlier. So I sat back listened to a Maigret eBook, and travelled slowly through a varied landscape of hills and forest, coastline and coves, rice fields and greenhouses and lots of tunnels, before arriving in Kubokawa.

Temple 37, Iwamotoji, is situated in the middle of the smallish town, just 10 mins walk from the station. It was another beautiful and warm day, without a cloud in the sky. The temple’s main hall is open, which has not been the case with the other temples, and there are 575 different pictures on its ceiling. It was pretty spectacular to see all the different paintings on the ceiling, and made the temple stand apart.

There were 575 small paintings on the ceiling of the main temple. It was pretty spectacular and made the temple stand out in my memory.

I walked back to the station and caught the next train to Nakamura, where I planned to stay the next 2 nights. I changed to a local train that stopped at Hirata, 3km from temple 39. At the station I met the lady I have met the past couple of days, she will also be going to temple 38 tomorrow, which will be her last temple. There is a moderate climb to temple 39, which was only difficult because of the warm and lack of sign posts.

Enkoji as it is called, is a beautiful temple with a well for eye washing that should cure eye sickness. Legend also has it that a turtle with a red bell on its back came to this temple from the ocean! No matter, there were many beautifully cut trees and bushes in full bloom.

It was very quiet, one Japanese gentleman insisted on taking my picture. There were a couple of hours before the next train, so I should have hung around, rested my legs. But instead I got my stamps and walked back to the station.

I walked back down to the station and met two foreign girls walking up, I wished them luck and we moved on in each our direction. There was still an hour to spare before the train arrived to take me back to Nakamura. I took a sandwich and ice cream at Family Mart, and looked out at the view from the station waiting room, which you can see here.

For some reason, I have booked a hotel that is a couple of kilometers away from the train station, probably because there wasn’t a hotel near the station. It seems to be close to downtown, as it is next to the covered shopping street, that most Japanese towns seem to have.

For dinner I had a sushi platter at the hotel, after a hot bath at the public bath, also in the hotel.

Two temples visited and only 5 km of the route walked, but 8 km not on the route. So 38 stamps are now in the book and 50 remaining, and 259 kms on route and 83 off.

I saw this sign at the station, and there are many here that should take notice – including myself when checking google maps whilst still walking.

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