Please start at Day One

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Day 5 - Mountain Temple

The route to Temple 12 starts from behind the main hall at Temple 11 so I had to re-trace my steps back there, carefully, from my hotel. It was a clear sunny day and I was hot when I reached Temple 11 so sat down for a few minutes to take off my fleece, adjust my pack, and apply plaster tape to a couple of points on my feet that were threatening to become blisters.

The path behind the main hall immediately enters the mountain forest and climbs steeply. For the first few minutes walking, in every direction you look there are small shrines, wooden and stone path markers, Henro signs, trinkets and talismans hanging from trees, and countless statues with offerings in front of them. The forest vegetation is thick, blocking most of the bright sun, and the gloomy interiour has a magical feel to it, I expected to see Elves. The shrines, statues and Henro talismans were encouraging at the start of what I expected to be a difficult day. All the route so far had been on asphalt, this was the first off-road path, and the steep forest trail quickly turned into small steps, then into bigger steps and after 10 minutes my left knee was feeling the strain. The walking staff had only been part of my Henro outfit so far, I carried it, rather than used it. Now was the time to start putting my weight onto it to relieve the pressure on my joints. However, I was still dreaming of Elves and didn`t realise until a few more weary steps later, that I wasn`t even holding the staff, I must have left it behind it Temple 11.

Some people believe that the staff represents Koubou Daishi, the monk who trained at, established, or visited these temples, and there are certain rules about taking care of the staff: when you stop for a rest you should take care of the staff before yourself, wash the staff at the end of the day, don't tap the staff on bridges ...etc,  so I could not just leave it there. On the other hand, it is just a stick I bought from the gift shop at Temple 1, I could buy another one at the next temple. After some deliberation, I went back for Koubou Daishi. And I cimbed back up the weary, and now familiar steps.

Unexpectedly, I caught up with Rex and Rachael. They are carrying a lot of extra weight in their packs because they are camping out, and they had a difficult day today so we stopped for plenty of breaks, but I was glad of the breaks too as this was a very tough walk. By the time we reached Temple 12, I rushed straight to the stamp office before it closed for the day. The Temple is in a spectacular setting near the top of the mountain and there was snow and ice on the ground; the scenery was breathtaking, well worth the blood, sweat and tears spent in getting there. Unfortunately, I still had some distance to get to my Ryokan for the evening, and I was concerned about getting lost in a cold dark mountain forest, so I thumbed a lift with a mini-bus Henro tour party to the Ryokan. I arrived at the Ryokan quite late and didn't have time for a bath before dinner, and the water was a bit cool after dinner.
  • Distance walked today = 14.5km
  • Distance walked so far = 57.3km
  • Temples visited today = Temple12, Shousanji.
  • Koban visited today = nil, but as I left me hotel this morning I took a route which, according to my map, should go right by a Koban, but there was just a plot of derelict land.
  • Accommodation = Ryokan stay including evening meal and breakfast ¥6615, Nabeiwa Sou, Kamiyama Town, Tokushima-ken 〒771-3421
  • Expenditure today = bottle of Pocari Sweat ¥150, Temple Stamp ¥200
  • Settai = sweets from Rachael and Rex, and a lift from Temple 12 to the Ryokan.




訪れた寺= 第十二番 焼山寺
今日の支出= ペットボトルのポカリスウェット 150円、寺の朱印200円、旅館(夕食・朝食付)6615
接待= レイチェルとレックスからもらったお菓子。焼山寺から旅館までのミニバス。

No comments:

Post a Comment