Please start at Day One

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Day 13 - Warning Signs and Tourist Sight Seeing

The route to Temple 27 was a steep path up a mountainside, another Henro Korogashi (pilgrim falling down point). The Okaasan at this Minshuku also suggested I leave my rucksack with her while I walked up the mountain. There was a warning sign on part of the path that I didn`t understand, it said beware of something but I had never heard of a "Mamushi" so put it into my electronic dictionary - apparently it is a Pit Viper - luckily I did not meet any.



Another Henro at Temple 27 gave me his name card, which was red - signifying that he has completed the Shikoku Pilgrimage between 8 to 24 times, he told me this was currently his 16th circuit, and he also gave me his friend`s name card as an omamori (lucky charm). It was gold, meaning his friend had completed the pilgrimage 50 to 99 times. Back at the minshuku at around 11am, Okaasan is hanging out the Yukata (the light informal Kimono style clothing) which I wore last night and which she has already washed. She confirmed that the local railway was running ok, this area had not been seriously affected by the earthquake or tsunami, and gave me an up to date timetable, a boiled egg and some coffee.



It would have been a 37.8km walk to the next temple, so I had decided in my new plan, to jump ahead and get a train from near the minshuku to the town of Akaoka, which was only about 5km from Temple 28, this would give my feet a rest, and give me time to do my first spot of sightseeing. At Tounohama train station, while waiting for the train, the tsunami siren sounded again, and I translated some of the more interesting notices on the platform. One poster had some useful counter terrorism advice, "Upon the discovery of a suspicious package, there are three rules: do not touch it! do not sniff it! do not move it!", good sound advice. The station was unmanned and on the train I wasn`t sure how to pay, I heard voices from the seats behind me talking in English and turned round to ask a young male and female for advice, they were both American and were in Japan teaching English.



At Akaoka I departed from the Henro path for the first time and visited the Ekingura Museum, Ekin is the nickname of a 19th century painter of folding screens. I think I was their only customer for the day, as the two ladies at reception seemed very pleased to welcome me in, they handed me a small lantern and ushered me into the darkened hall where the displays were kept, it took a while for my eyes to adjust to the dark after the bright sunshine outside. I don`t know if the darkness was to protect the precious screens, or to create a more spooky atmosphere, each of the screens was just barely lit by a dim yellow light made to resemble candle light. The paintings were grotesque, gory and to my surprise - and delight - bawdy! The paintings contained an awful lot of people being poked and groped, or having various bits hacked off, while onlookers pointed and laughed. I was self-conscious that the the two slightly serious looking museum curators could hear me sniggering like a schoolboy at some of the more "imaginative" paintings. As my Mother and my partner`s Mother may be reading this blog I cannot describe what I saw and still look them in the eye, but ask me when you see me, and I will tell you. This "Carry On" style art was a welcome relief after the more noble artistic efforts at the temples. The two ladies were disappointed that I did not want to sit and watch their 20 minutes educational video, I headed straight for the gift shop and bought a pack of postcards. After the museum I rejoined the Henro path and visited Temple 28 before going to the Ryokan for a big bath, a big evening meal, a small load of laundry, and I was ready to go to bed by about 7:30pm.

  • Distance walked today = 14.8k
  • Distance walked so far = 261.7km
  • Temples visited today = Temple 27, Kounomineji; Temple 28, Dainichiji.
  • Koban visited today = nil
  • Accommodation = Ryokan including two meals ¥6510 Marukome Ryokan, Kounan City, Kochi-ken 〒781-5232
  • Expenditure today = train fare Tounohama to Akaoka ¥890, Ekingura Museum entrance fee ¥500, gifts in giftshop ¥1600, two temple stamps ¥600, two more telephone cards ¥2000.
  • Settai = a boiled egg and coffee, and some more sweets.

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