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Henro Pilgrimage - Day 8

I was on the road by 5:15. It wasn’t quite raining then, but started soon and didn’t stop all day. My rain gear held out and kept my body dry. However, 8 hours of exposure was more than enough to soak my backpack’s rain bag through, and the contents were a bit wet. My sleeping bag was absolutely waterlogged. Aren’t I glad I saved 72 grams but not bringing its own protective bag along?

Along the way I passed by Saba-Taishi (Bekkaku 4). Despite being a Bekkaku, it was splendid enough to rival any of the nicer official 88 temples I had seen so far. It had a “Kannon Cave” as well, with a Gomadō at its core where a Fudō-Myō-ō is venerated. The staff in the Nōkyō office helped me pick a lodge for the evening, and an older man who must have been the Abbot gave me some canned green tea for the road. Their Goma rituals are every Sunday at 10:00, and I’d definitely like to come back at some point.

From there it was 3 hours to the surf shack. The owner is a former pro surfer in his late 60s, and his wife - apparently his second - is much younger than he is. They have a 1-year-old named Shiki. For dinner they offered some Anroku, which is a very rare form of seaweed that can only be harvested during a 10-day period each year, a period which happens to be right now. Lucky me! It was really quite good, and turns an interesting shade of light green with only a second or so of exposure to boiling water.

Animals: 12 cats

Post-trip Addendum:

The “Bekkaku” (lit. different level) temples are 20 extra temples along the route, not included in the original 88. However, 88 + 20 = 108, the number of human “worries” named by Buddhism, and this gives them semi-special status. But since they’re not in the main 88 and are sometimes out of the way, they often get fewer pilgrims. That said, I found them splendid in their own right. They also sell a unique prayer bead with their temple’s name engraved on it - collect all 20 and you can form a full Juzu! I hadn’t got to the first 3 Bekkaku, but once I picked up the bead at the 4th I was hooked. I ended up taking the extra time to visit the rest, except 1, 2, 3, and 20. Next time.

Original Japanese:


そこから三時間位歩いて今日の宿、波流月に着いた。店主は六十後半の元プロ Surfer 、とその奥さんが二人目らしくめちゃくちゃ若い。一歳の娘が居て「四季」と云う。「安徳布」(あんろく)と云う、本当にこの十日間位しか獲れない珍しい海藻を食べさせてくれた。


#henro #japan #buddhism

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