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Day 2: Temples 6 – 10

I slept well, and only woke once during the night, which was not due to the earthquake that hit Japan and could be felt here. Breakfast was Japanese, so I’m going to have to get used to eating rice and pickled fish for breakfast. Something I would otherwise eat at dinner back home.

I caught bus 48 back to just beyond temple 5, and walked on to temple 6. If I exclude a bus load of Japanese that I met at 3 of the temples I visited, today was foreigners day. Just as I got off the bus I met an English guy on his bicycle. He’d just completed all 88 temples and was on his way back to temple 1 to close the ring. He wished me luck, and told me he’d had a great time.

Temple 6, Anrakuji, was really well kept with a beautiful garden. Kukai founded this temple in 811 (like #5) and it is reputed to have running water that cures illness.

Leaving temple 6, I missed a sign and got lost. Thank goodness for Google maps. Temple 7, Jurakuji was only 1,4km away, so it didn’t take long, despite my detour. This temple is visited by people with eye problems, and there was also a blind person amongst the visitors. So far I have taken pictures of the people signing my book. The lady at number 7, was the first that would not allow me to take her picture, whilst signing.

On the road again, and a fairly steep climb (108m) to number 8, Kumadaniji. Here again Kukai carved a statue. As I arrived I met the three Germans I’d met on the train yesterday. They were a bit disallusioned after barely sleeping due to the cold, and having lost the accomadation list, they were given. They each had backpacks weighing at least 20kg, and were not looking forward to tomorrow’s 12km trek with at least 8km uphill.

I left them and started a 2,4km walk through rural Japan, passing strawberry booths on the way. In Temple 9, Horinji, there was a group of foreigners – 2 from Switzerland, 2 from Germany, a Canadian one other westener (and a Japanese person) who left, just as I came. Kukai carved a snake statue here, due to the white snakes in the area.

We walked together the 4kms to temple 10, sharing experiences. As we left the main road for the first time today, there were beware of snakes signs. Lukily, non bothered us.

We left each other on the climb to temple 10.

After a steep uphill climb to temple 10, Kirihataji, and then another 300 steps up to the main temple, I was greeted with a manificent view over the valley and the next days mountains. At 157m above sea level, this the highest point so far, but by the end of day tomorrow, I will have passed 750m.

On the way up I met a 71 year old Japanese gentleman, who walked up every day to pray, and speak to a foreigner. He showed me around the temple and prayed for me to have good luck on the tour. If I understood him correctly, he’d met a 75 year old dane, the day before.

The bell tower has been moved here from Osaka and the temple honours a lady that made Kukai a new kimono, despite him only asking for some old cloth.

Down the 300 steps was easier and quicker. It was just past 12 ‘o’ clock and it was the last temple today, as temples 11 and 12 are visited during tomorrows climb. Just past temple 10, I passed this dummy sitting at the side of the road, with a bench for travellers.

But I still had to walk 8km towards temple 11, before I could catch a train. Just like yesterday, I didn’t need to wait – just as I reached the platform, the train pulled up. It pulled in to Tokushima  at 14.50 and as I hadn’t eaten, I stopped by Strabucks and enjoyed a sandwich, cake and coffee, for less than 60 dkk (8€).

This evening I’d planned to eat noodles, but instead ended up with a Japanese omelette, with scallops, shrimps, squid and octopus, assorted vegetables and, of course, tofu, all made in front of you.

10 temples visited and 78 remain. I walked 21km today, so I’ve walked 33km so far. I feet and legs are doing fine, and Im looking forward to the big climb tomorrow.

(Disclaimer, this blog is written on the go, in buses and trains, and only with pictures I remember to take with my phone – not with my camera. I always wondered who on earth needed wifi/bluetooth on a camera – now I wish I had ????).

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