2019

Day 48 – So, to Temples 84, 85, 86 and 87

Today there were mini mountains with steep trails and urban highways with nothing of note. I told Blanca that my snake count was only four but I had a feeling it might reach five before the end as everyone else seemed to have far more impressive tales to tell. But we were untroubled by wildlife despite many warning signs about wild boar attacks in the area.

The climb to the Chinese takeaway Temple 84 was steep but safe. It was founded by a Chinese priest of the Ritsu Buddhist sect but converted to Shingon “in the old days”. Among other things it celebrates the badger, a god of peaceful families, marriages and the restaurant business. The descent was steep and slightly slippery after yesterday’s rain.

Temple 85 was halfway up the next mountain and was remote and peaceful. We stopped in a nice cafe at the foot of the mountain for a cup of tea and were not charged. Temple 86 was being renovated and its charm was limited. Our next stop was a small village shop where we bought a banana. Two Japanese ladies engaged us in conversation and bought us each a large juicy apple as a present. I produced one of my name slips with a Buddhist prayer, as is the custom when someone gives you settai. It’s usually welcomed but these ladies refused it saying they were Christians. Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Temple 87 was back in the urban sprawl and forgettable. But we did stop in an attractive pilgrim rest hut on the way and I wrote a note in the visitor book expressing my gratitude for all the rest huts which I’ve used and photographed along the way.

So now there is a small and select crowd of pilgrims in the ryokan preparing for the climb up and over the next mountain to Temple 88. It is, of course, the final temple of the 88 temple pilgrimage but it is not quite the end of the pilgrimage. For that, we face a further two days of walking back to Temple 1 to receive the final stamp when the pilgrimage will end.

Main gate to Temple 84
The badger in Temple 84

The steep descent from Temple 84

Temple 85
Pagoda at Temple 86
Temple 86
The stylish pilgrim rest hut just before Temple 87
Temple 87

8 comments on “Day 48 – So, to Temples 84, 85, 86 and 87

  1. David Jury

    Hi Tim – How are you feeling about the impending end to this pilgrimage? I remember when we met towards the end of the VF you were happy for it to end – is the feeling different in this instance?
    David

    • Hi David, yes I find 3 months rather too long. Shikoku has a very strong pilgrimage spirit which I’ve enjoyed. I’ll be sorry when it ends but also pulling my book together and returning to normal for awhile. How are you? I haven’t had an update for some time.

  2. I’m very gratified to hear the Japanese consider the good old badger as a “god of peaceful families, marriages and the restaurant business”, though the last bit about restaurants is a bit odd… Perhaps if Defra was aware of this they would stop trying to kill all the badger in the UK in the name of bovine TB! Beautiful temples and fab pics as always Tim. Enjoy the rest of the pilgrimage 🙂

    • Hi Calum
      The restaurant business sounds like a recent addition but most restaurants have a little model badger or two outside the front. I wouldn’t have thought peaceful families and the restaurant business go together very well. Maybe marriage?

  3. So your pilgrimage finishes the day before England play in the rugby world cup final, so you can enjoy it in peace. Someone is indeed watching over you!!

  4. Enjoy your final temple!

  5. Vicky Williamson

    Kia ora, Tim. That looks like a breast-feeding badger – it’s trying to hold one breast in check! Maybe that’s why they are considered symbols of marriage. Are you planning on visiting the Pilgrimage Community Centre on your way to T88? One last climb to go – ganbatte. Ki o tsukete, Vicky

  6. David Rose

    Of course! Those red bibs on the statues are in favour of the Japan rugby team, who play in red and white outfits. The locals didn’t want to tell you that, the other day, because Japan had just been knocked out of the competition.

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