I received a volume of emails from my partner who is now in Tokyo with her parents. She was woken by an earthquake this morning, an aftershock from the powerful earthquake which caused the devastating tsunami on the 11th March, I have not felt any quakes yet in Shikoku, but she says I will get the 'real' Japanese experience in Tokyo. We have arranged to meet at Koyasan and I am excited, this is a perfect arrangement. There have been occasions when I have been emotionally overwhelmed by a temple, mountain, forest, view or some encounter that I wanted to share with her, but by undertaking the main part of the pilgrimage by myself I have encouraged myself to engage more with Japanese people and to practise my language. Both of which aspects I have enjoyed, and both of which have made my experience more meaningful and memorable.
It had been raining all day, and this slowed down my walking on the mountain paths where the rocks and logs had become slippery. I arrived at Temple 87, my last temple for the day, at around 4:30pm and it was very quiet. I took the time to consult my electronic dictionary and translated a sign at the temple wash basin, "Rinse well. Don't drink the water!", I wondered how many of these signs I had inadvertently ignored at the previous 86 temples. The Ryokan was literally across the road from the temple, and when I arrived, tired and soggy, Okaasan gave me a hot ginger drink which hit the spot perfectly. In the evening she gave me, and the two other Henro guests, a hand-drawn map of the route from her Ryokan to Temple 88, and some brief instructions on which roads to take, she also advised us to stop off at the Maeyama O Henro Salon on the way to Temple 88.
- Distance walked today = 26.5km
- Distance walked so far = 783.1km
- Temples visited today = Temple 84; Yashimaji, Temple 85; Yakuriji, Temple 86; Shidoji, Temple 87; Nagaoji.
- Kouban visited today = nil
- Accommodation = Ryokan and two meals ￥6000 , Azumaya Ryokan, Nagao, Sanukishi, Kagawaken 〒769 2302
- Expenditure today = cable-car to Temple 85 ￥550, candles at Temple 86 ￥150, four temple stamps￥1200.
- Settai = the calligrapher in the Stamp Office at Temple 84 gave me chocolate biscuits. At Temple 85 "amacha" - sweet tea, and snacks were being handed out to all Henro as O Settai, they were celebrating Buddha`s birthday, which is on 8th April in Japan, but 8th May in most other countries.