Day 27 – Forty temples behind me

I was happy to reach Sukumo last night even if it meant staying in a business hotel. A business hotel is a place where Japanese business people go to smoke. Probably all night long. I had a smoking room and wondered what I’d been missing all my life.

This morning I had a 5Km journey each way to Temple 39. Pilgrims who chose to backtrack from Temple 38 were now coming towards me and so I met an Australian man called Stephen. We had a little chat and he told me he was walking in stages. Previously he walked in April and said there were many more pilgrims and the weather was nice, not the extreme humidity and heat that I’ve been enjoying. I hope to catch up with him because he seems a very nice chap.

Shikoku is full of barbers and on the way into Sukumo I popped into one. The barber was very pleased to see me. I climbed into the chair and after double checking that I really did want my head shaved like the monks, he set to work. We had the usual chat in my basic Japanese and afterwards he wouldn’t accept payment. O-settai, he said.

I collected my pack from the hotel and bought lunch supplies from Lawson because I decided to walk straight up and over the mountain rather than taking the road around the bottom. Once again it was another excursion into Shikoku’s wild side. The trail was very well signed so even though you don’t know where you’re going you’re confident you’ll get there. There were encouraging markers as I approached the top where I set up my picnic in the ruins of a shrine.

The decorators were working on Temple 40 but it was still very restful sitting in the late afternoon sun breathing the incense.

Dinner this evening in a local feeding house. I had a delicious tofu and vegetables in a meat sauce. I know what you vegetarians are thinking. And then Stephen walked in. He’s planning to sit out the typhoon here. I would prefer a long tunnel.

Temple 39 this morning

I’m back trekking in the hills
Great views
Encouraging signs on the way up

Easier path down

Tree maintenance in progress
Temple 40
Stephen who could use a haircut

4 comments on “Day 27 – Forty temples behind me

  1. Vikki Mclean

    Come on, Tim. Show us a photo of your monk-like shaven head.

  2. Vicky Williamson

    Kia ora, Tim, at least you are away from the face of the typhoon but no doubt it will still be very wet and windy. Not sure I would wait it out in a tunnel as it will funnel the wind and you could be stuck for a day or more! I’m sorry to see that the England v France rugby match is cancelled however if you have Scottish roots congrats on their fine win. Ki o tsukete, ganbatte, Vicky

  3. Philippa

    Sounds as if you have reached the dojo of enlightenment?

    • Yes it’s possible but you’d have to sit in a cave for 7 years to complete it. Nowadays a business hotel qualifies.

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