Autumn has finally arrived. The temperature has dropped from 30 degrees last week to a more reasonable 21 and the dreadful humidity is no more. In the past 7 days I’ve walked 250Km and visited just 8 temples. That has brought me to the city of Matsuyama in the north west of Shikoku. It’s the home of Dogo Onsen, one of the oldest and most famous of Japan’s bath houses as well as a castle and much besides. I’ve now walked exactly 800Km and nailed 51 temples. That leaves me with about 350Km and 37 temples. Time for a couple of rest days.
Today was a short 13Km walk with 5 temples along the way. I barely departed from one before the next one appeared. It was all very civilised. The rural ramshackle houses gave way to plush suburbs with hybrid cars gliding along the streets with more urgency than I’ve seen for awhile. I love being in a city; there is a Starbucks and an Italian restaurant within “walking distance”. And yet… and yet I’m already missing the little fishing villages and the rural backwaters with elderly homeowners caring for me, the strange birds and the rice paddies. Ah well, they’ll be back soon enough.