Day 2 : 08 April 2009

Posted in Shikoku Pilgrimage (click on pictures to enlarge)

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We have seen a few walking henro (single Japanese men).  Most people do the pilgrimage by bus and it was very calming to sit and listen to large groups chanting together.

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At each temple we had our book stamped with 3 red stamps then overwritten with calligraphy.

Early in the day we came across a group of people working in the cemetery of an unnamed temple who invited us to join them in a cup of tea and something to eat.  They sent us away with a bottle of tea and some biscuits as our first osettai (gifts given to pilgrims).

 

 

We visited Temple 4 Dainichiji (Temple of the Great Sun)

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Temple 5 Jizoji (The Earthbearer’s Temple)

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Temple 6 Anrakuji (Temple of Everlasting Joy)

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Temple 7 Jurakuji (Temple of 10 Joys)

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Opposite the temple is a lovely little udon restaurant where the noodles are served in large wooden bowls of hot water.  We stopped there for lunch and had to be shown how to dip the noodles into a separate bowl of stock before eating.  The owner came back a little while later to make sure we were doing it right.

 

 

 

Temple 8 Kumadanji (Bear Valley Temple) where we were given permission to sleep in a little hut in the parking lot reserved for walking henro.  We had it to ourselves.

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 (34.1212 N 134.34 E)

 

We received more osettai of 2 bottles of water from a tour bus driver, a big block of jelly from a deliveryman and some delicate sweets (wagasi) from the temple stamp office.

 

Day 3 : 09 April 2009

Posted in Shikoku Pilgrimage (click on pictures to enlarge)

We woke up to 6 degrees but our shed was warm and cosy.

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Temple 9 Horinji (The Dharma Wheel Temple) where many straw sandals can be seen in the main hall, hung by people wishing to cure leg problems.

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There are 333 steps leading up to Temple 10 Kirihataji (Cut Cloth Temple) a taste of what was to come.

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We had been walking along a wide valley dotted with small fields and farmhouses with their traditional tiled rooves, curved at the ends.  In front are beautifully sculptured trees of varying sizes making it quite a picture.  It was flat and off the main road with very little traffic.  We were amazed at the number of vending machines selling all kinds of beverages, even beer.P1000080

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When we stopped to buy supplies for the next 2 days at a little family run grocery store  Jeff waited outside guarding the packs while I was followed around and offered advice as I tried to choose things with Japanese labels.  Before I could pay, the ladies called Jeff in to the shop and we all sat down for tea, wishing we could understand what they were saying to us.  We left with 2 fresh carrots as osettai.

 

As we crossed over to the other side of the valley we met a lady who gave us a packet of tissues and a can of drink.  It was so thoughtful of her as the day was starting to heat up.  Later we were given 2 oranges.

 

At Temple 11 Fujiidera (Wisteria Temple) the wisteria was just starting to appear.  After this the path headed steeply upwards into forest.

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We stopped for the night near a small Temple in a little wooden henro hut with tatami mats on the floor and blankets.

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There were 3 other henro.  David from Australia stayed up late to take amazing photos of the full moon.  We were to cross paths with him many times more in the strangest of places and he was always cold.

(34.0155 N 134.3303 E)