One Man Walking

2008-05-01 Faith restored

May 1st, 2008 · 1 Comment

The plan worked and no-one asked me to leave. I snuck out at 6:30am and hit the road. East again, it’ll be the same right across Shikoku. More long tunnels, more busy roads. I generally didn’t enjoy this morning but I did get a lot of eating done. I even found a proper pint of ice-cream!

At the big supermarket I met my first pilgrim. He wasn’t dressed in white or wearing a straw hat. But he had the stick and bell and he was walking. I saw more later, all going anti-clockwise. There were two cyclists going my way, one gave me sweets, and a pair of English teachers hitch-hiking for charity.
fellow walker      hitch hiking for charity 
The overcast sky and (many) early lunches made it seem much later in the day. Plus my pack was weighed down with supplies so I was more tired than normal. Did I explain earlier that I plan to do the full 88 temple tour with my girlfriend Tania next year? Well days like this make me change my mind. Walking through urban areas is not fun. I prefer mountains and rivers (hence my Iya Valley route). So why put myself through it again?

IMG_5689

Struggling on I finally started seeing ‘henro no michi’ (pilgrim’s route) signs. They lead me up route 379 in a little valley where the houses were once again wooden with curly grey slate tiles and sliding doors. I like this side of Japan a lot. It did present a camping problem though, no space. I saw a nicely cut area of grass, big enough for a tennis court, and asked two locals if it’d be alright to put up a tent. They said not to bother, just around the corner is a free place for pilgrims. Or something to that effect, my Japanese is mostly interpreting their gestures.

Sure enough I found the shelter. A raised eight-tatami complete with shrine, trail register and cupboard full of futons. The lady from the little shop across the road talked to me for a while. I understood very little but I tried. She brought me a bowl of hot udon noodles and told me the shelter is 85 years old.
the shelter      friendly lady who gave me udon 
So my mind is changed again. If this is normal and the shelters are well spaced, I can see us coming back next year. And I’ll bring the lady a gift too.


Word of the day: higashi = east

Distance today: 41km

Key:
hiking  ·  movie  ·  photo

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Lighthiker’s World // Nov 14, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    [...] temples over on the Shikoku island in Japan. I’ve learned about the trail this year following Craig Stanton’s walk across Japan and it looks tempting for me. Don’t know if this movie will run in cinemas [...]

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