Japan 2019 Japan 2019 Main

Returning to Japan – 2019

On April 7th 2018, almost exactly a year ago, I started on an experience for life – visiting 88 temples on the Japanese island of Shikoku. It was a fantastic experience – seeing a different side of Japan, a rural side, far different from the mega cities I had previously visited. A fantastic scenery, both countryside, but not least along the coast. Most of all the trip will be remembered for fantastic and helpful people. It was an experience I will never forget, an experience I wrote about on this blog.

In a little more than 2 weeks time, I will travel to Japan again, this time to walk the 5 stretches of the Kumano Kodo in the beautiful Kii Peninsula. I did a small part of the journey last year, so it isn’t completely new. But at times this year, I will be really in the middle of nowhere – so much so that it hasn’t always been easy to find places to sleep – some hotels and hostels weren’t willing to take foreigners. Although nowhere near as long, I will be pushing myself much harder this year. I will “only” be walking ca. 350 km. But this year, most of the days I will be walking with a backpack – something I didn’t need to do last year, as many of the temples I visited were close to large towns where I could use hotels as a base.

Many days, I will be walking upwards – starting at 2-300 m and reaching 1.200 m before walking down again. Denmark is flat, so it is almost impossible to prepare for this. Most evenings, I will be staying at small Japanese family run inns, often in the middle of nowhere. It will be Japanese food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch and dinner are OK, I love Japanese food – but for breakfast, I prefer cornflakes, oatmeal, rye bread and cheese – fish, rice and tofu are difficult at 6am in the morning.

As last year, encouraged by family, colleagues and friends, I plan to write a blog of my experiences and post as many pictures as I can. I do this as much for myself as for anybody reading it – last year I experienced so much, I would have forgotten most, if I hadn’t documented it. In the past few weeks I have added ca. 500 pictures to the 45 posts and 6 posts about the Shikoku 88 pilgrimage.

Up until I travel on April 23rd, I will post a number of blogs I have written following my trips to Japan. A number of these blogs will relate to things I didn’t know, but wish I had known whilst visiting 88 temples last year – the difference between a shrine and temple, what do all the figures in the temples mean, why the red torii gate at the entrance to shrines and many other pieces of information. Information that would have made my trip even more informative.

Last but not least, Japan is different, in many, many ways. I have written a number of blogs highlighting some of the differences I experienced whilst in Japan – from why do bus drivers and police wear white gloves, to pictures of manhole covers, that are a piece of artwork in Japan.

I hope you enjoy reading the blog. Please feel free to share with anybody who may be interested.

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