Day 4 – Mountain Climbing

Today I had my first proper Japanese breakfast and it slightly exceeded my expectations. Miso, seaweed, rice, egg, ham, pickles and green tea. I wonder what a Japanese person makes of the full English breakfast or even the French baguette with butter and apricot jam.

Today was the first big mountain climbing day where we can experience the best Shikoku scenery. The climb included two big descents into river valleys before resuming to Temple 12 on the summit at 800m. I ordered a bento box picnic lunch which would have satisfied a sumo wrestler.

At the last minute I decided to send my backpack ahead on a baggage transfer service and then I set off with Sandrine, one of the two French ladies I met on Day 1. The trail took us straight into the woods and uphill. We soon rose above the mosquito zone and into fresh cool air. It was a lovely walk on a clearly defined trail with lots of signs and little shrines to reassure you.

A Chinese girl passed us with lots of girly things flowing from her staff and backpack.

After doing our duties at the temple we continued on our way through fruit orchards until we reached our various accommodations.

I’ve struck lucky with tonight’s guest house. I have an 8 tatami room, twice the normal size and the best meal so far. So many delicious things or perhaps I’m just getting used to it?

Even Coke has its own Shikoku pilgrimage bottle

And finally, Temple 13

12 comments on “Day 4 – Mountain Climbing

  1. Stunning! Did you pick any kiwi fruit Tim? They look too good to resist.

    • The kiwi fruit look great but I was using a big zoom lens and they were quite inaccessible. Hopefully they’ll be in the shops soon.

  2. Paul Buck

    Hi Tim: Great pics: new camera or the iPhone 8? How are the feet doing: still using the Meindl brand? Got any hotspots or blisters? I’m pleased to see that the trail is so well marked and that there seems to be a lot of support to facilitate the pilgrimage. Are you booking accommodations ahead or just rocking up in the evening? How much of a barrier is the language for someone with zero Japanese language skills? I must say this is awfully inspiring, I’m going to have to do it next year. A long motorbike trip is enjoyable, but nothing beats a long walk through an interesting landscape and interacting with a historic culture.

    Take care, stay hydrated (order the big beer) and have fun! Cheers

    • Hi Paul, good to hear from you. Same little Sony camera, just about hanging on. Same Meindl boots (a new pair) and I’m even wearing the actual Icebreaker socks I wore all the way to Rome; lots of life in them.
      Accommodation is fine so far. No dorms. Pilgrims stay in B&B with dinner for around 6000 yen and essential to book the next day. My early impression is no bars or cafes away from town but vending machines almost everywhere which saves carrying excessive water.
      It’s like the Camino. Plenty of signs, pilgrim accommodation on the route and lots of pilgrims. There is a strong sense of pilgrimage all the time reinforced by the temples, your uniform and the support of the local people.
      I think a few Japanese lessons beforehand wouldn’t hurt!

  3. How are your feet? Is your prayer working?

    • So far so good. Plenty of NOK cream and not attempting too much at the start plus a few prayers …

  4. Stuart Nelson

    Loving the blog Tim. It is helping me already with my planning for next March.

  5. Stuart Nelson

    Just a quick question – who is handling the CPR membership while you are away?

    • Julia is doing it, bless her. She takes on everything. I’d forgotten all about it. Fancy starting a Shikoku Confraternity? We could make a fortune!

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