Shikoku 2018

Day 4: Temples 13 – 19

Seven temples and 25km, a long day. I caught the 8.10 bus to temple 13. Temple 13 is 10km after where I’d finished yesterday, so this was the first, and certainly not the last part of the route, that I will skip. As with other early trains and buses, it was full of school children travelling 45 minutes and more to school. The temple itself, Dainichiji, was rather small, so I quickly went through the rituals and moved on.


The temples here are fairly close, temple 14, Jorakuji was only 2,5 km away, along the river, but I managed to get lost and had to retrace my steps.

Situated next to a beautiful pond, the temple is  built on rocks, which you walk across to get to the different halls. This is the temple for diabetics, if they pray and drink the boiled leaves from a tree next to the main hall, they will be cured.


Temple 15, Kokubunji, was only 1km away and is a temple rebuilt in the 18th centuary. The main hall was undergoing renovation, so there wasn’t much to see. I spoke with a Japanese lady, who I had to show where Denmark was in her atlas. In return I received two pickled cherries – I eat one of them, it was awfull.

On the way to the next temple I passed another temple – obviously not serious enough to be on the list of 88 (with Mickey and Minnie gaurding the entrance).


Still in the countryside with small villages, next up was temple 16, Kannonji, 2km away. This is a small temple, but whilst the other temples today were pretty empty, this was packed with three bus loads of Japanese pilgrims. It was the first time I had to wait to get my stamp.

The pilgrimage buses even have a built in stick holder.

Temple 17, Idoji, was another 2,9km away. At temple 16 I realised I had run dry for money. I had tried to find an ATM last night, but they close when the banks close, and Japan doesn’t seem to have a lot of bank branches – they use the post office to collect money. The only ATM’s open late, are at seven-eleven stores, but non of the downtown stores had a ATM. I had just enough for the stamp at temple 17, and was already planning to end the day after temple 17, so I could find an ATM, even though it wasn’t 12 o clock yet. However, as luck would have it, I turned a corner, and there was a seven-eleven with a ATM. Some of the sights between temples 16 and 17.

Now with plenty of cash, I continued to temple 17, a beautiful temple with a well kept garden. Legend would have it that Kukai dug the well here during one night with his staff as his only tool. A foreign couple just left as I arrived, we exchanged pleasantries, but I have no idea where they were from.


Temple 18, is 18km away from temple 17, and takes you back into town, and 2 mins away from my hotel. My legs were feeling good, but knowing that there are two mountains tomorrow, I didn’t want to push it. So I did the first 8km passing the baseball stadium and a massive hospital, and yet another temple (picture below) before stopping off at the hotel to change my shoes. Whilst I was checking the bus time table, my VELUX T-shirt gave me away, and I was asked if I was Danish. The man that asked was Danish and had been walking for 4 weeks, with two Americans he had met on the Camino. He’d run out of time at temple 50, and was staying in Tokushima, before flying home in a couple of days.

Although temple 18 was only 10km away, the bus took forever. This clearly agitated one of the passengers who sprang up, shouting at the top of his voice, and threatened the driver. He calmed down, until the bus stopped to change the driver. This was too much for the passenger who stormed off the bus, threw the fare at the two drivers and had a 5 minute heated exchange.

I finally arrived at Onzanji, temple 18, at 15.40, walked up the hill with a statue of Kobo Daishi watching whilst I climbed, my legs not really wanting to go uphill again. The temple was originally a man only temple, until Kukai’s mother visited him whilst training there.


I had an hour to reach the next temple, which was 4km away. The beginning of the path was through a bamboo forest. I must admit walking alone was a bit scarry, with the wind blowing, the bamboo creaks and makes strange noises.

I made it to temple 19, Tatsueji, with 15 min to spare. Another well kept temple, with the thickest bell rope I have seen. Allegedly a woman visited the temple with her lover, after killing her husband. Her hair got entwined in the bell rope, and taking this as a sign, admitted her crime.


The station back to Tokushima was close by and I had to wait 20 minutes for the train. The ride took 50 minutes, but we waited at stations for at least 20 of these. As it was past 7pm, I decided to go straight for dinner. I found a noodle place, where you got a bowl of soup, a bowl of noodles and a bowl of rice. First you add the noodles to the soup, eat the noodles, then you add the rice to the remaing soup. Strange, but filling.


7 temples today brings me up to 19, with 69 remaing and 25 km takes my walking total up to 82 km.

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