Day 51 – Completion Day

It was a strange evening ceremony in Temple 6 last night. But first we enjoyed another inadequate dinner made up of the usual bits and pieces without anything of substance. I’ve lost 5Kg since I left home. That’s 69kg down to 63kg.

The service involved some chanting and then we had to invoke our ancestors by means of floating a candle down a stream in the temple and writing a wish on a piece of wood and tossing it into the fire.

I set off on my final day of this pilgrimage to retrace my steps of mid September to Temple 1. It was a very pleasant sunny morning with the temperature in the mid to high teens and no humidity. I envied the pilgrims coming towards me on their first day. While I saw the temples bathed in beautiful soft greens they will walk in a blaze of autumnal reds and gold. And while I had to withstand 36 degrees of afternoon heat and humidity, not to mention typhoons, they will need to button up their jackets and hurry along to keep warm.

Unlike my previous walks, I’ve completed a circle to arrive back at the starting point. Nothing had changed. I performed my temple rituals including burning 3 sticks of incense (for the past, present and future) at the main and Daishi temples and then obtained my completion stamp which also includes today’s date. I bought a T-shirt and a fridge magnet and then set off to the station for the train to Tokushima feeling quite empty. That means it was a good one.

The completion stamp at Temple 1

Last night’s dinner
The Temple 6 evening service about to start
Here’s a photo of me on the way to Temple 88

Back at Temple 1
At Bando station near Temple 1. Depending upon which way you’re going this sign says good luck or congratulations

26 comments on “Day 51 – Completion Day

  1. Roger Clarkson


  2. Tassie Kaz

    Congratulations Tim 🙏
    Glad for your safe passage despite the efforts of typhoons 🌀 snakes 🐍 & Japanese breakfast 🍱 !

    • Two typhoons, 5 snakes and no Japanese breakfasts. Thanks for your encouraging comments Karen. Off to Koyasan soon

  3. Carlos Correia

    Congrats Tim! It was wonderful to follow you online throughout this amazing adventure. Whilst I will be missing your daily updates, I can’t wait to catch up in person.

    • Hi Carlos, that reminds me I must buy some whisky. Let’s meet before Christmas.

  4. Jane Van Buren

    Thanks for sharing your journey Tim. I enjoyed your amusing updates and the lovely photos!
    Looking forward ti hearing what will come next. That is of course after you fatten your self up a bit.
    Take care my pilgrim friend.

    • Hi Jane thanks and I’m hard at work doing that like the Christmas goose

  5. David Rose

    “Don’t be sad that it’s over. Be glad that it happened.”

    The circularity of your route is itself a (very Buddhist) metaphor.

    Thank you for brightening up my days with your posts, Tim.

    PS Will you be sending a photo of your next, huge western breakfast to all the ryokans you stayed at? 🙂

    • The Japanese just don’t get breakfast. They look appalled when I suggest bread

  6. Annette Blais

    Wonderful adventure following your post. Blessings, Annette

    • Hi Annette, thanks for the kind words. I hope you’re tempted to walk this wonderful pilgrimage. Tim

  7. Rachel Birks

    It has been so interesting Tim reading all your blogs; I have always fancied visiting Japan and your daily accounts plus spectacular photos have given us a real sense of what Japan can offer…must feel like a tremendous achievement.
    Regards Rachel

    • Hi Rachel, my journey has been so interesting to me because I’ve experienced rural Japan, Buddhism and lots of different people. It will take awhile to absorb but I have two more weeks here so will probably write another post to sum it all up

  8. Philippa

    Congratulations Tim on completing your long journey & thank you so much for your blogs & photos which I’ve looked forward to reading each day. You mentioned a book – about your pilgrimages? Would love to read that! But meanwhile all the best for a safe trip home.

    • Hi Philippa, you won’t find my books in a book shop. When I get home after a pilgrimage I enjoy compiling a book of my blog and photos and adding captions for my reflections. It helps me digest the journey and is a nice souvenir on my bookshelf. There are many websites offering this service but I use blurb.com which works best for me. Tim

      • Philippa

        Thanks again Tim, I will check out blurb.com as I meant to do something similar as part of my post-walk reflections, but other things have taken precedence. I just picked up a book (The Way of 88 Temples) today which will join my ever-growing to-be-read pile! Best wishes, Philippa

  9. Vicky Williamson

    Kia Ora, Tim. Congratulations on your epic pilgrimage. Your daily postings with commentary and photos has been excellent entertainment as well as useful for me. I have made notes in my Guidebook from your comments to help me when I walk the route next year. Many thanks for the help. Now that I can no longer experience it vicariously from reading your postings I will have to go back to reading books and doing further research! Regards, Vicky

    • Hi Vicky, thanks and remember to message me if you need anymore help.

  10. Huguette Charaudeau

    Hi Tim
    Congratulations 👏👏👏 and thanks for the good moments I spend with your photos and comment . I ‘ m french and I could understand what you were writing 😉
    It was a real pleasure .

  11. Thanks Huguette. It has been a pleasure to meet so many French people on Shikoku. Perhaps you can help me improve when we all walk to Mont St Michel. Tim

  12. Vikki McLean

    Wow, Tim – you’ve done it!

    Were I wearing one, I would take my hat off to you. That is some achievement. I can understand you needing time to process your many and varied experiences. After living life at walking pace for three months, it must be difficult to shift to a higher gear.

    From my side, I have loved my daily armchair dip into Japanese culture and scenic beauty. Thank you for sharing both your words and stunning photos so generously.

    • Hi Vikki, I’ve stopped short of converting to Buddhism but it was a great mixture of culture, nature and people. I’m very happy

  13. Vicky Williamson

    Kia ora, Tim. Thank you for your offer of help. I could well be in touch in the future. Meanwhile look back with pride and look forward to eating well. Kia kaha, Vicky

  14. Well done Tim!!! Great to follow your pilgrimage once again.. so interesting and such wonderful photos of the temples and statues surrounded by woods: I had no idea Japan still has such green spaces.
    So where next? Hopefully somewhere with food that is more to your liking, and cats of course! Safe journey home 🙂

    • Thanks Calum. Interesting place is Japan. 130m population, world’s 3rd biggest economy etc.. But when you leave the action zone it’s a very wild and remote place covered with mountains, forests and volcanoes. Shikoku feels more like another struggling Asian country with so many failed businesses and derelict buildings, empty plots, weeds, people scratching a living (compared to the rest of the country) and all the Tori gates into the ever present spirit world. I love it!

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