Henro Day 40: July 30

  Tokushima Otsuru Ryokan (徳島市大鶴旅館) → Ono Noen 小野農園 Temples: 10 Kirihata-ji (切幡寺) Weather: Sunny Travel Method: Cycling Distance: 24km Everything disappears quickly, food included. It takes 30 minutes to eat and pack up the pile of things that I’d left at Otsuru Ryokan two days ago. The ‘pile’ had overwhelmed me last night when I returned fits in my 25-litre bag with room to spare. The last thing I do is loop my tent to the front, which takes a few tries. It only takes two days to unlearn things you never cared for. At 6:34, I head downstairs to say goodbye to the…

Henro Day 39: July 29

Kamojima Town Kamo-no-Yu Onsen Henro Hut (鴨島町鴨の湯遍路小屋) → Tokushima Otsuru Ryokan (徳島市大鶴旅館) Temples: 12 Shōsan-ji (焼山寺), 13 Dainichi-ji (大日寺), 14 Jōraku-ji (常楽寺), 15 Awa Kokubun-ji (阿波国分寺), 16 Kannon-ji (観音寺), 17 Ido-ji (井戸寺) Weather: Sunny & Cloudy Travel Method: Walking (+ Car + Train return to Tokushima) Distance: 25.7km (+ 25.9km) 1305. 225. 15.7. 14:19. 25.7. Sigh. Breathe. Smile. Sit. Close eyes. Those are the last numbers of my pilgrimage. It is a 1305 metre elevation gain, 225 minutes of moving time, over 15.7km, at a pace of 14:19mins/km from my henro hut to Shōsan-ji. My total walk on my last day is 25.7km when I add Temples 13 to 17, my…

Henro Day 35: July 25

Goshikidai Plateau Henro Hut (五色台遍路小屋) → Furu-Takamatsu (古高松) Temples: 83 (Ichinomiya-ji 一宮寺) Weather: Sunny Travel Method: Walking Distance: 22.7 km At 5:30, Kouhei is already done packing his tent and sitting on the bench. Why does he have to be so Japanese (early) ?! No matter. I roll out of Aurelie’s tent inhale the morning dew on the grass. Despite an initially sleepless night, it was one of the best sleeps I’ve had.     Aurelie was right – the grass was more comfortable than the bench I originally chose. It was a valiant effort to set up a lopsided tent,…

Henro Day 34: July 24

Utazu (瀬戸大橋四国健康村) →Goshikidai Plateau Henro Hut (五色台遍路小屋) Temples: 78 Gōshō-ji (郷照寺), 79 Tennō-ji (天皇寺), 80 Sanuki Kokubun-ji (讃岐国分寺), 81 Shiromine-ji (白峯寺), 82 Negoro-ji (根香寺) Weather: Sunny Travel Method: Walking Distance: 29km All the other capsules remain silent as crawl out of my cozy unit-bed. The room is a contained, detached darkness lit by a glow of mini LEDs on the floor. I push open the door and exit into the lit world with carpets and pastel beige colours. I pop downstairs to the onsen for a morning soak, pack my bag, and I’m out in the lobby to meet Aurelie, Kouhei, and Edvaldo. In total, we’ve spent barely…

Henro Day 33: July 23

Fureai Park-mino (ふれあいパークみの) → Utazu (瀬戸大橋四国健康村) Temples: 72 (Mandara-ji 曼荼羅寺), 73 (Shusshakaji 出釈迦寺), 74 Kōyama-ji (甲山寺), 75 (Zentsū-ji 善通寺), 76 (Konzō-ji 金倉寺), 77 (Dōryū-ji 道隆寺) Weather: Sunny with Clouds Travel Method: Walking Distance: 24.8 km Last night averaged out alright. After being turned away by Iyadani-ji, I relaxed in the onsen down the hill, snacked on o-settai cookies, napped on a lounge chair until midnight, and found a covered bench beside the onsen entrance, sheltered from the rain, as my final sleeping spot. What more could I ask for? It’s another night in the memory bank. Time passed, not quickly, not slowly, not relaxed enough…

Henro Day 32: July 22

Kanonji City (観音寺市) → Fureai Park-mino (ふれあいパークみの) Temples: 66 Unpen-ji (雲辺寺), 67 Daikō-ji (大興寺), 71 Iyadani-ji (弥谷寺) Weather: Cloudy + Drizzles Travel Method: Walking (+Car, Cable Car, Train) Distance: 19.2 (+40km) It’s 8:10am and I drop my bags on Jizo‘s lap. This is the same Jizo statue I’d always give a nod to even when I was reduced to mechanical reflex by heat and exhaustion. Why were there so many benches at the base of the trail and none up here when you really need it? Despite getting a ride to the trailhead of Unpen-ji, by the time I got out my mosquito incense just 15 minutes after…

Henro Day 31: July 21

Shikokuchuo City (四国中央市) –> Kanonji City(観音寺市) Temples: 68 Jinne-in (神恵院), 69 Kannon-ji (観音寺), 70 Motoyama-ji (本山寺) Weather: Cloudy + Drizzles Travel Method: Walking (+Car, Cable Car, Train) Distance: 19.2 (+40km) Two big, heavy, onigiri courtesy of the hotel! I stow them in my backpack and finish the rest of my cheese and bread breakfast in the lobby. The guest laundry is waving outside on the veranda. I message friends using the hotel WiFi. An hour drips by. The more I sit, harder it is to dislodge myself. I’d originally planned to detour 2 kilometres for an onsen en route, but I probably won’t have time anymore….

Henro Day 30: July 20

Iyo-Doi (伊予土居) → Shikokuchuo City (四国中央市) Temples: 65 Sankaku-ji (三角寺) Weather: Sunny with Showers Travel Method: Walking Distance: 25   ばかはろくでもないものにかねをつかう、賢いやつはじぶんの成長のためにつかう。おとこのかちはかねの使い方でわかるもんさ。 The fool will spend his money on worthless things. The wise will spend his money to better himself. A man’s worth can be measured by how he spends his money. – Silverspoon (2013) I wake up with the sound of footsteps outside. The station has a pale golden glow just before sunrise. Well, I might as well get up to air out the sweat on my back and face from sleeping. I didn’t have a blanket, but the mosquito net that I cocooned myself…

Henro Day 29: July 19

Imabari City (今治市) → Ishizuchiyama (石鎚山) → Iyo-Doi (伊予土居) Temples: None Weather: Sunny with Showers Travel Method:  Walking (Train from Imabari to last point at Temple 64) Distance: 29 I really wish I had enough sleep. But, I also wouldn’t trade the apple crumble we made for another two hours. 6:30am breakfast is so late for a henro and too early for a nomad who wants to nest temporarily. It’s Akiko’s 365-Day Breakfast Special, in her own words. Special every day, methinks.  Just as I’m finishing up, Tsuneto comes with a severe face. ‘Aa-chan, you’ll be late for your train!’ Aa-chan is…