Shikoku 2018

Day 14: Temple 38

Today, Saturday, was in reality a rest day before 2 hard days (red days I call them) with full backpack. But what a day, the highlight so far.

I woke around 6am and was packed and ready for breakfast at 7am when it opened. So were all the Japanese guests. At least there was a slight western style to the breakfast buffet with yoghurt, toast, chocolate cornflakes, croissant, egg, sausage and bacon; so it was OK.

Temple 38 is 50 kms away on the southern most tip of Shikoku, towards the west. The bus left at 8.20, and I was there in plenty of time. The Japanese lady I have seen the past 3 days was on the bus, as was one other pilgrim. The bus takes one and a half hours through the beautifully green valley of the river Shimanto. Instead of taking the main road, the bus takes smaller roads through small villages passing spectacular coastal views that you don’t get from main road. The road through the villages is one lane only, and at one point we had to take a five-minute break, to wait for the bus coming in the opposite direction. This was the view when we stopped. I had no idea why we stopped, but a young lady explained it to me in perfect English.

Cape Ashizuri-misaki, todays destination, lies on a precipice, 70m above sea level, with sheer drops to the ocean and a lighthouse sitting on the edge. It is truly spectacular.

I had planned to get off a few stops in advance, but with the passing scenery, we arrived before I realised. Today I have taken pictures of the main parts of temple 38, Kongofukuji, where Kobo Daishi carved a statue of Senju Kannon (statue with 1000 arms and an eye in each palm). It is believed on can set off for the land of paradise from here, because Kobo Daishi saw Kannon when he looked out into the sea.

The main gate on the way in.

Stone slabs for sale that you can write a message on.

Wash basin.

The bell tower – this the most advanced I have seen, the wood to ring the bell can just be seen above the balcony and the bell through the door delow.

Main hall

Daishi hall

Book signing

Signed book

Not everybody has a book to collect the stamps

Statue of Kõbõ Daishi

Main gate on the way out.

And some photos of the coast around the temple.

Did you see the guy fishing on the third picture, I have no idea how he got there.

I was back at the hotel by 4pm, and went for a hot bath at the hotel, where I spoke with a Japanese gentleman who was back in town to visit an old school friend – otherwise he lived in Osaka. He knew that lego was from Denmark.

It was time for dinner and I wanted to try something else than the hotel. I walked around the centre, but there were no English menus, and you can’t see inside most restaurants. I ended up choosing the only one that I could see inside, there was a long bar desk and food was cooked on the other side. There were other guests and with four or five young guys behind the desk, I assumed it couldn’t go wrong. But there was no English menu, nor did anybody speak English.

With help of google translate I managed to order chicken and a salad. I got a fried chicken leg and a chicken salad. It tasted fine. Next to me sat a mother with her aldult son and daughter, who were eating lots of small dishes, and had just got sushi. I was still feeling hungry, so asked them if it was good, they said yes and ordered the same.

Suddenly first the daughter, then the son spoke some English and when they asked why I was in Nakamura, they were very happy when I said I was doing the 88 temples. We spoke, they showed me videos of when their three pets, a dog, a duck and a goat that got on so well, that they were on TV.

The sushi came with a beer they gave me as Osettai (a present), and as I have vowed, to keep anything I am given, and I couldn’t keep a beer, we had pictures taken together.

The sushi roll was a speciality from Kochi province, the same as I had the other day as sashimi, grilled bonito, that must be eaten with a slice of garlic and soya. Very nice.

39 temples visited and stamps collected. With 8 km today, I have walked 267 km on the route and 90 km off the route. Temple 39 (which I did yesterday) was the last in Kochi province. Tomorrow I enter Ehime province which in Kobo Dashai terms, means I leave the place of ascetic traning and move on to the place of enlightenment.

I leave Nakamura tomorrow and spend the night in Uwajima. A big storm is reported to hit Tuesday – so far no rain whilst walking, I really hope it stays that way!

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