Day 13 – Three Temples and a Lighthouse

The sun returned but the temperature is a more modest 26 degrees; plenty warm enough. I left the hotel and after a short distance I met Erika waiting at the bus stop. She had been staying in a nearby hotel and is now taking public transport over the longer distances. Sandrine is a day behind and has teamed up with a Canadian woman. I then came upon two caves where Kobo Daishi achieved enlightenment and obviously popped in for a quick look. These are sea caves crawling with red crabs.

Temple 24 was a delight. It is approached by a path which climbs through woodland before suddenly emerging at the entrance to the little cluster of buildings. I was alone and gave the main bell a loud strike to announce my arrival before going through my abbreviated formalities.

Just below the temple is a lighthouse which commands a wide view of the ocean, perched on the very tip of Cape Muroto. From there, the route took me back to sea level and through more villages. The approach to Temple 25 resembled a funicular railway without the railway. Then the serene Temple 26 required another short climb through woods but a long gentle descent on a narrow path among crops. Rural Japan at its finest.

Before I started this pilgrimage, I wondered how I would locate each night’s accommodation. Most places are private houses and not all have a sign. There are no street names or numbers. Sometimes there is a note by the door in Kanji with a telephone number so if that matches, I’m home. Fortunately my map book shows all the accommodation so I can always narrow it down.

Today’s place was more difficult to find because it’s off the main road in Kiragawa Historic Streets. It’s called Kurakukan Sakan and is 120 years old. It’s a magnificent home of several buildings around a central garden and I have a huge set of rooms all to myself. It’s total luxury. Impossible to count all the tatami mats. It’s home to a lovely elderly couple and I’m mentally trawling though months of night classes to communicate. However the lady has promised me bread and coffee for breakfast so that’s a result. Let’s see if I can get a beer with the sashimi.


Dinner was brought to my rooms in the traditional manner. A feast. Here’s an odd thing though. The rice machine was brought in and switched on. I haven’t got to the bottom of the rice business but it seems to be eaten at the end of the meal. Same in the hotel last night. The waitress came to check I’d quite finished before clearing the dishes and then producing a dish of plain white rice. It also seems to be a complete no no to have rice and alcohol on the table at the same time. When the man came with my beer the woman went into apologetic sumimasen mode and tried to put the rice back into the cooker. I pleaded for sanity, citing examples of the best restaurants in New Delhi where rice and beer were tolerated together. They departed, quite bemused by my poor manners. And then I was caught retrieving my washing from the utility room wearing my outdoor slippers. I doubt they’ll accept any more foreigners, it’s just not worth the trouble.

I’m on Cape Muroto
Last night’s hotel
The two caves where Kobo Daishi achieved enlightenment

The approach to Temple 24
Down for Route 55; up for Temple 24.
Temple 24, one of my favourites
The Cape Muroto lighthouse oversees some 300 degrees of Pacific Ocean
The approach to Temple 25
Temple 26 – a definite favourite of mine

My luxury home today
Dinner served in my rooms. Note the offending rice and beer combination

9 comments on “Day 13 – Three Temples and a Lighthouse

  1. Tassie Kaz

    Congratulations on your geographical milestone Tim.
    You’re certainly motoring (by foot of course!) through the Temples…26 down already.
    I’m starting to see a few hints of autumn 🍂🍁 in some of your photos…looking forward to the contrast of my Spring 🌸 walk.
    Gambatte ♨️ ⛩

    • Thanks. I must say it feels good to have turned the corner. Autumn feels a long way off still. I hope I have enough sun cream.

  2. I guess you only have to worry if you find Uma Thurman staying at your hotel.

    • Well I’d settle for anyone as I’m invariably the only guest and usually some days since the last one. Who is Uma Thurman?

  3. Stuart Nelson

    I was diving on the Moray coast of Scotland in 1995 and went into the Station Hotel in Rosehearty to get something to eat.
    “May I have a ham and cheese sandwich please?”, I asked.
    “Ham – and CHEESE – in the same sandwich???” came the response from the astonished owner. “Is that an English thing, because we nae dae that here” she added.
    Who would have thought Rosehearty was so kosher?
    Cultural differences everywhere Tim – and doesn’t it make the world more interesting?

    • Yes you’re right, Stuart. Even within England. You won’t find a chip sandwich anywhere in Surrey. Japan is fascinating for all its customs and differences and long may they last. But I suspect they won’t.

  4. 🤣🤣who is Uma Thurman…..that is a joke, right? You are doing really well. Sounds like you are really getting into it. The temples look lovely. Still not sure about the food though. I would just eat salad and rice. Not that I am fussy of course!

    • Right, she is an actress. Thanks to Wikipedia it’s possible to quickly become an expert on anything. I’m ok with dinner, probably due to extreme hunger but you could snack during the day at convenience stores. I heard of someone on a business trip to Japan who spent the evenings at the finest restaurants with his hosts and then sneaked out to McDonalds to get dinner.

      • Jennykreeve

        Good idea, but I must say that I would feel guilty if I did that.

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