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 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 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 27: July 17

Imabari City (今治市) →  Iyo-Miyoshi (伊予三芳) Temples: 64 Maegami-ji (前神寺), 63 Kichijō-ji (吉祥寺), 62 Hōju-ji (宝寿寺), 61 Kōon-ji (香園寺) Weather: Rain Travel Method:  Train + Walking Distance: 8.2km (+15.8km) The train lines are down until at least noon. I finally respond to a message from Aurelie, the French henro I’d met back in Shishikui. She messaged me from Cape Ashizuri a few days ago, then disappeared after I messaged her back in Matsuyama. Her latest message asks me where I am, and that she’d take a train immediately to join me. Unfortunately, there is no train for her to catch this morning, and she can’t join me where…

Henro Day 18: July 8

Michi-no-Eki Bios Oogata 道の駅ビオス おおがた → Shimonokae 下ノ加江 Temples: None Weather: Cloudy + Rain Travel Method:  Walking Distance: 28 km Last night was meh. That one word synthesises a relatively comfortable spot (under a table), feeling comfortable (mostly not too hot or cold), a full belly (from snacks), general feeling of safety (could see incoming traffic), and a decent 8 hours of sleep (broken). After forcing myself to sleep despite the sheen of sweat on my forehead, I drifted awake when the cool air sank in. The two hours before dawn are chilliest. The blackness and cold have reached their maturity. It’s often only when…