Henro Day 26: July 16

Imabari City (今治市) Temples: 57 Eifuku-ji (栄福寺), 58 Senyū-ji (仙遊寺), 59 Iyo Kokubun-ji (伊予国分寺) Weather: Rain + Typhoon Travel Method:  Walking + Train return to Imabari Distance: 16.8km   Typhoon day! It’s forecasted to make landfall tonight, so I still have the morning to visit the temples clustered around Imabari. My hosts, having walked the Ohenro themselves, urge me to get up earlier.     I crawl out of bed at 6:30 for breakfast as I’d promised Akiko. She’s humming away, asking if I want coffee, and tells me to eat first. She gets a warmed up dinner roll and a tray of condiments. Orange juice…

Henro Day 24: July 14

Matsuyama City (松山市) → Kuma Kogen (久万高原) → Iyowake (伊予和気)  Temples: 44 Daihō-ji (大宝寺), 45 Iwaya-ji (岩屋寺) Weather: Sunny Travel Method:  Car + Light Walking Distance: (+42.6km) Today is a late day because Noriko-san, the Couchsurfing friend I’d met yesterday, is driving me up to Temples 44 and 45. Even though I was looking forward to a mountain trail between the two temples, a car is a much more realistic solution. I wake up late-ish, have breakfast, and repack all the things I’ve spread out over three beds my empty-shared room. The smell of mosquito incense is reassuringly thick, which means my tent will properly…

Henro Day 23: July 13

Matsuyama City 松山市 Temples: None Weather: Sunny with Clouds Travel Method:  Walking + Car Distance: None Glorious sleep, oh glorious sleep.  Real henro holiday. Henro-related things: zero. Today is errand day and lunch with a Couchsurfing host.  I drift into the living room, savour the yogurt, cereal, and cut fruits. I step outside onto the covered veranda and my laundry baked dry. Clean.  And it will stay clean for at least another day. Even the thought makes me giddy. I head out in search of a barber to shave my head. In this summer heat, even 2-inches has a noticeable difference….

Henro Day 20: July 10

Hirata Station 平田 → Michi-no-Eki Mima 道の駅みま Temples: 39 (Enkō-ji 延光寺), 40 (Kanjizai-ji 観自在寺) Weather: Sunny with Clouds Travel Method:  Walking + Train + Bus + Train Distance: 12 km (+78.1km) Tired of trying to sleep, I get up at 4:30am. I spent the past four hours lying on the hard plastic chairs – the ones that curve up into ridges – on the platform waiting room at Hirata station. I learned that the lights stay on for about an hour after the last train. The 3am and dawn were chilly. Outside it’s just a uniform darkness sprinkled with a handful of street lamps outlining angular contours. I walk down…