Shikoku 2018

Day 26: Temples 79 – 80

On paper it was supposed to be an easy day, but I don’t feel that I’ve recovered from 39 and 27 kms I did a couple of days back. I hope to be back in form soon, as there are 3 very hard days waiting with many kilometers and four climbs, two tomorrow and then up over 800m on Sunday.

It was windy last night. It caused the windows in the guest house to shake, and whilst I didn’t sleep badly, the noise woke me a few times. I was up at 6.00, and out of the door by 7.00. I left my bags with the landlady and went to do some early morning sightseeing, Kan-onji’s biggest attraction, a huge 17th century coin sculptured of sand, made in just one night to welcome a lord. 122m from east to west and 345m in circumference, it is said that by just looking at the coin, the viewer is ensured good health, a long life and freedom from financial worry. I took a good and long look, just to be on the safe side.

I said goodbye to the landlady, and recommend this guest house to anybody in the area – the rooms are newly renovated, the landlady will even cook for you if ordered in advance, speaks ok English and is very helpful. Contact me if needed, they are also listed on Air b’n’b.

I was on the 8.06 train for Utazu, where I had ended yesterday, deposited my backpack in the coin locker and was on my way. It was grey and windy, so I never felt warm, and in addition the scenery was main road, small industry, houses and cars and lorries. On the 6.1 km to temple 79 one passes through Sakaide City and its dying covered street (being replaced  by a mall at the end of the street). Halfway down the covered street, an elderly lady called my over and gave me a few coins on an envelope. I said to her that I didn’t need the money, but she insisted. In return she wanted a name tag, the ones you hand in at the  temple.

At the end of the covered street there was a film crew. They were filming a bloke pushing a bicycle, when he saw me he let go of the bike and it fell. Whether that was intentional or not, I don’t know.

Temple 79, Tennoji was empty except for an old man who kept pointing somewhere else and saying what to me sounded like Cuba. Again it was a large complex, with gravel eveywhere, few paths as such. Whilst getting my stamp a young American girl and guy from North Yorkshire turned up, clearly not walkers, but both English teachers at Japan high schools. They really liked it here.

Temple 80 was another 6,8 km away, and even less interesting, mostly along a main road through countryside and small industry. I felt tired and the wind and the constant noise from cars and lorries didn’t help. I passed the french lady and a Japanese companion (who turned out to be French) who I have seen a few times whilst walking. They were taking a break. I met them again as I was leaving temple 80, he was going to do temple 81, up the mountain, whilst she, like me, was taking the afternoon off.

Sign for wild boar on the way to temple 80.

Temple 80, Kokubunji, is the provincial temple of Kagawa and the bell and main hall have escaped damage over the years and are considered national treasures.

It was a very a pleasant temple with lots of things to see, and a large indoors shop, where my book was signed.

I walked to the closest station, 2 minutes away and only had to wait 5 mins for the train to take me to my backpack, pick it up and then 30 minutes wait for the train to Takamatsu, my base for the coming days. The hotel lies 2 mins from the station, and I was in my room in no time (the hotel is the high white building).

I took an avocado burger for lunch/dinner and walked around the town. It was windy but fantastic in the sun, that had now arrived.

I went up to my room, took a bath, and decided that the burger was enough for today. So no picture from dinner.

13km today, and thereby passed the 500km mark, with 507km on route, and with 8 off route, i.e. 134 km in total. I now have stamps from 80 temples, and I remain to visit 8 temples.

And a picture of the two mountains that start tomorrows agenda.

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