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Henro Pilgrimage - Day 3

I set off at around 5:40. I slept like a log last night. Breaks included, the climb up to Shōsanji (12) took about 5.5 hours. At Jōren-an I swapped addresses with Takahara-san; I have the feeling I won’t see him again.

I took a longer lunch break and let the others go on ahead. Though hours later I ran into them again at the foot of the mountain. Kenji-san will be staying at a hut nearby while the other three of us pressed on to a campsite another hour or so down the road. A lot of people were nice to us along the way. Tonight my tent is pitched by a river. It’s peaceful here.

Animals: 3 cats, 1 boar(?)

Osettai: Vitamins, a woman washed my cucumbers, water, citrus fruit, words of encouragement.

Post-trip Addendum:

The hike up Shōsanji is quite steep and is the first place that gives pilgrims real trouble. Apparently a lot of people quit the journey here. It was peaceful at the top and the air was quite cool. Looking back, that was the most intense raw hike experience on the trip, probably because it was only the 3rd day and I wasn’t as strong yet. I remember seeing lights in my eyes as I got to the top. I really had to push myself in some places.

As I thought, I didn’t end up seeing Takahara-san again after that day, although I heard later that he did make it up Shōsanji (reminder: 80 years old) and continued his journey. As far as I know, he made it as far as he had planned, about halfway.

I said “the three of us” after Kenji-san stayed behind, since a girl from France named Barbara had joined up with us during the morning. It was myself, Jeffery, and her at that campsite that night.

For a long time after this, whenever I was feeling tired or daunted by a mountain climb or long stretch of road, I’d ask “Is this harder than Shōsanji?” and the answer was always no. So on I went.

Original Japanese:




#henro #japan #buddhism

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