Day 10 – Typhoon Tapah Soaking Luxury Spa

Such a pleasant day yesterday, who would have thought a typhoon was in the neighborhood. Mercifully it steered itself away from Shikoku but even so, the wind disturbed my sleep. The forecast today was rain and wind but I set off anyway and without a reservation. The French ladies decided to remain behind where coffee and toast were plentiful so I bid them adieu and departed while it was dry.

I soon received an email from the owner of last night’s inn saying that he was trying to find me a place for the night but almost everywhere was full or, indeed, closed. However he had secured me a place at a beach hotel. There was a hint of apology and foreboding about his email but I felt the need to make progress so I thanked him and confirmed his recommendation.

Soon after I left town the rain started. Perhaps not the worst rain ever but it soaked me through and I was happy to only have 20Km ahead of me. Fortunately the trail was the main road so I didn’t have to worry about navigating my way over mountains. Indeed I had the benefit of several long tunnels which provided respite from the rain.

Before I left home I bought a couple of super lightweight LED lamps for just such an occasion. I attached one to my staff and set it to flash it’s 6 LEDs as I walked through the tunnels and I could tell that the few cars appreciated the warning. Japanese drivers are so polite and the last thing they would want to do is hit a pilgrim and Kobo Daishi.

I reached the ocean and rounded the beautiful bay where surfers were riding the wild waves. Ahead of me, all alone on a small promontory rose my destination. Even from the distance it carried an air of desolation. I reached the entrance where several cockroaches were enjoying the damp algae covered step. I opened the door and stood dripping onto the genkan.

Eventually the owner appeared with his wife. I suspect the hotel was built years before the Japanese economy stalled and had subsequently lain derelict until this man bought it for next to nothing and now they must endure a losing battle against the elements.

I won’t describe the shower except to say it is in the basement and if I hadn’t been soaked through I should have skipped the experience. I wasn’t alone down there. Even so, back upstairs a state of the art Toto toilet awaited me. The door wouldn’t close properly but I’m the only guest and I doubt anyone has stayed here for awhile.

Fortunately I saw the kitchen. Was I ok with Sashimi for dinner? Tabenai! Instead he drove me back to Lawson where I bought sushi, beer and croissants for breakfast.

Nevertheless they are a delightful couple and they phoned ahead to book my next stop.

My pack is soaked. The rain cover is soaked. My boots are being dried on a handy Japanese shoe drier, a device which looks like two hair dryers strapped together. My phone and camera were in the pockets of my waterproof jacket. Sadly the pockets are not waterproof and the camera is now in a coma so there are only a few photos today. Fortunately all my photos are backed up but I do hope it recovers otherwise it’s over to the iPhone for the duration.

Full wet weather gear today
My “budget inn” for tonight
Good sea view

8 comments on “Day 10 – Typhoon Tapah Soaking Luxury Spa

  1. Well, if it was easy everyone would do it. We are in for a rainy week here in the UK so you’re not alone, anyway tomorrow will be great 🙂

    • Hi Mike yes tomorrow often brings nice things. Typhoon experience done!

  2. Your description of the ‘hotel’ reminds me of some motels I’ve stayed at in Miami. Except that there, the owners were hiding behind iron grills in fear that guests might try to rob or shoot them. Count your blessings! 🙂

    • I’m braced for more horrors to come. I saw a sign with a couple of Kanji I know “car” and “person”. I was pleased with that and it saved me a few meters

  3. Hi Tim: Sounds like our stay at Miradolo Terme would have been a good introductory experience to your derelict hotel last night. I hope this hotel experience remains the exception rather than the rule.

    Is the challenge with accommodation due to the number of pilgrims or just a general shortage of hotels and hostels? Do any of the pilgrims camp, since there seems to be an abundance of huts and rest stops?

    How would you compare the signage with the VF or NDW? Are you using a GPS app to find/confirm the route? I imagine that as long as the ocean (when you can see it) is to your left you can’t really get lost.

    How much road walking is required versus footpaths? The pictures of the paths through the forests and hills look great. A couple of picture reminded me of that lovely walk down to Aosta.

    What’s been the biggest surprise so far compared to all your other European pilgrimages?

    If you get to a place with good wifi, give me a call. Stay safe, stay dry and have fun.

    • Hi Paul, great to hear from you. All the Accommodation owners have been exceptionally nice and helpful so far. But a lot of it is substandard. My guess is it’s due to the prolonged Japanese economic downturn and Shikoku is rural and a bit wild. The standard of living is far lower than average in Japan. There’s plenty of accommodation mostly in people’s homes and it’s a pilgrims market. Camping is not allowed in Japan but mostly tolerated on the pilgrimage, upholding the tradition. Likewise sleeping in the huts.
      Signage is excellent. I have a GPS route on iPhone but I find the English map book invaluable because it shows everything. The signs are almost CF standard so I use the iPhone to confirm my position rather then to navigate.
      Like most pilgrimage routes I’m expecting a lot of tarmac. It’s not meant to be NDW or PCT. There are mountain days to get to those temples but right now I’m walking along the beach.
      I think the biggest difference to European pilgrimages is that most people walk Shikoku for religious reasons. The couple I passed yesterday had their full Buddhist attire in 29degrees while I only wear it in the temples. Everyone prayers with intensity and they chant the sutras beautifully.
      I’ll give you a call when conditions permit.

  4. Philippa

    Hi Tim, good to see that the Pacific is looking its usual sunny blue green on your next post. I can’t comment on that post’s page – not able to leave a reply? Looks very calm and peaceful considering the dangers you’ve encountered / may yet face. Watch out for those sentinel red crabs!

    • Hi Philippa the Pacific is not so blue today. More like the English Channel in February. Thanks for the warning about the crabs. Tim

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