2019

Day 32 – A valley forgotten by time

Today felt like a day off after yesterday’s marathon. First there was a return walk up the road to Temple 45 and then off to Temple 46. But it was still over 30Km on all sorts of terrain.

Temple 45 was carved into a huge cliff face and was approached from the village below (where the locals were charging 300 yen for car parking) via an extremely steep path and hundreds of steps. So, very nice but it was a 14Km round trip from my inn.

Once again the couple who owned the Hacchozaka inn couldn’t have been more helpful. They even rushed to serve me some hot tea and iced water when I returned from Temple 45 to collect my pack.

On my way to Temple 46 I passed through a town with a real baker shop. It was packed with shoppers and also packed with bakers. I stocked up on croissants for breakfast, chocolate cake for lunch and apple pie for tonight, assuming dinner is on the light side.

A little further up the road I entered the woods along a well marked trail which brought me down from the plateau and out into a valley forgotten by time. There were small farms and people harvesting by hand. Honestly I felt like I’d stumbled upon a film set, perhaps some Thomas Hardy adaptation. But there were no cameras and the people were not extras. I wonder how much longer this rural Japanese lifestyle will continue. The people are old and their children have moved to Tokyo.

I’m sleeping in accommodation which is owned by Temple 46. Everything is brand new, there are dozens of rooms and in the basement a row of washing machines and dryers. Only two Japanese pilgrims staying the night.

A photo spot on the way to Temple 45
Grand entrance to Temple 45.
Dramatic setting
Temple 45 main temple

Just imagine building this temple
Fighting over the fruit pastry in the bakery
Back into the forests today

This pilgrim hut is deep in the forest. I wish I had the guts to spend a night here
The path comes out into this magical valley
Harvest time

You’ll see Buddhist and Shinto statues all over Japan dressed with red bibs and hats. I think it could be a football thing.

A sneaky peep into the inner temple
My room tonight
The little temple in the dining room has small offerings of rice and tea.