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Henro Pilgrimage - Day 7

Wide awake at 4:30. As usual, there’s no one else around. I ate everything I had, including my emergency Calorie Mate, and headed off. The town of Hiwasa and the last temple of Tokushima, Yakuōji (23), are about a 4.5 hour walk away.

I first passed through the small coastal fishing town of Yuki. I wandered over to the harbour and sat next to the nearest drink machine I could find, sipping some canned coffee and resting my tight shoulder. The harbour cats roamed for scraps. An old lady wandered by and we chatted for 20 minutes or so about the town and its future. She said that while there’s still an elementary school, there’s nobody left to take over the rice fields; the generation that should have moved to the city instead. Apparently Hiwasa is still better off.

She was right, Hiwasa had much more going for it. I imagine that’s in no small part thanks to the train station and the temple atop the hill, Yakuōji. As I finished my pilgrim’s routine within the temple, who shows up from the dead but Jeffery. Apparently he hit temples 20, 21, and 22 in a single day, which is quite the load of mountain climbing. He opted to continue on from Hiwasa, while I’m resting here for the rest of the day. Tomorrow I begin the 3-day journey to Muroto.

Animals: 6 Harbour Cats

Post-trip Addendum:

That was the last I saw Jeffery in person. He ended up finishing the 88-temple pilgrimage a full 10 days earlier than me, in 36 days. That’s considered quite fast, and he could only have done so by averaging 30km per day, which essentially means walking hard every day and never taking a day off. For comparison, my daily average over this first week was ~22km. He later messaged me that he wished he had taken his time a bit more and enjoyed the sights. I honestly don’t know how he didn’t wreck his feet.

The gap between temples 23 and 24 is about 80km and typically takes 3 days to walk. It’s a walking pilgrim’s second test. But at the end is Muroto Cape, where Kūkai is said to have reached enlightenment.

Original Japanese:

四時半頃に起きた。相変わらず誰も居ない。非常食の Calorie Mate まで食べて片付けて出発。四時間位歩けば薬王寺のある日和佐に辿り着くはず。


その日和佐に着いて薬王寺でお参りを済ませたら Jeffery が現れた。20、21、22を一日で廻ったと言う。相当な登山だな!彼は先へ進み、俺は今日この町で少しゆっくりする。明日から三日で室戸まで歩く。


#henro #japan #buddhism

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