Today I had to back track to where I was the day before to head over to temple 48, Sainiji. I visited this temple at night when I walked back becuase it was on my way. I thought maybe if they were open… it was pretty dark and I felt the spirits creeping up on me. In the day time it was much better. The temple is next to a busy street and is compact with everything very close together. When ever I reach a temple, especially one that is on a busy road or in some place that is in the middle of town I always wonder what it looked like back in the day. When all the houses and road ways weren’t cutting through the land. Did a large dirt road run past this temple to? Maybe it was still in between all the houses and roads that is now, just old timey and less traffic.


Japanese grave stone


Temnple office



Cool garden which the statue is in


Temple 49, Jodoji

The next temples were at the edge of town to the north. They slope up the forest and end near Dogo Onsen park. So I retraced my steps from the day before back up north to the next temple, this time passing the train station that I used last night. Off one of the main roads and through a neighborhood some stairs appear with the main gate. You could easily drive, or walk past this place with out ever knowing that it was one of the 88 temples. A single path leads from the main gate to the main temple. The yard is pretty small, but with no obstructions it is full of space.


Main temple





Temple 50, Hantaji

As I leave temple 50 I end up walking behind a couple on the way to the next temple. The path winds behind houses and in between a graveyard. Someone had drawn a red henro figure on the walls and ground to signal which way to travel. It was helpful as a lot of the roads branch off into several directions. As I walked behind the couple I felt sort of like a ghost. They were dressed casual and I was in my full henro attire. My shadow with its round head and staff bobbing up and down as it followed them through the streets.

Up a steep hill and around a bend in the road that sat next to pond of some sort sat Temple 50, Jodoji. I did not expect any type of view but there was a nice one that overlooked the area I just came from. This temple had a long path that led from the main gate to main temple. I really like the space these type of layouts create. It gives the whole temple this airy vibe to it, as if there is all this space and your never in the way.


Pond of some sort



Ornate roof top


Temple 51, Ishiteji

Leaving the hill and walking back into the city the streets led me to a T in the road. Across from me separated by a busy street was a large gate and a statue of a lady riding a dragon branching out into the air. I had reached temple 51, Ishiteji. The main gate leads down a roofed pathway to the temple. Some shops selling henro gear,candy and some snacks line the inside and call for you to buy something. There were many of things going on at this temple. In the middle of the temple floor a boat made out of wood with different color of paper all over it, huge lanterns, giant idol statues and a pagoda with paintings at the bottom of it. There were a lot of people at this temple. Most temples are either empty or have a few people here and there. There are a few temples that seem to attract crowds. I performed the rituals and then wandered a bit before getting my book signed. I liked this temple because it felt as if a festival was happening. People roamed around and there were so many things to see. The layout of the temple with its closed spaces and paths gave a nice flow of traffic.

On my way to this temple I also ran into my travel companion from yesterday. I got a picture with him on my Instagram His name is Kawamoto. He is only doing up to Temple 60 this time and will hopefully (he says) finish the whole route in the future. I saw him again at temple 51 and I said my final goodbye to him.

Main gate


The main gate and tunnel When you come in





Main temple behind the idol


Main yard




Temple office and large lanterns infront a large incense burner




Lady riding a dragon


Temple 52, Taisanji and Temple 53, Enmyoji

The last two temples of the day were cutting it close. On the other side of town in the north west there is a large hill that has temple 52 on it. I approached the temple from a road and to my surprise the road just kept going up and up and up. I passed by the temple office which is at the base of the hill with out realizing it. The road almost became a 70% incline and i wondered who in their right mind would build a road like this. There was a lady that I passed on the way up and when I reached the incline I gave a quick prayer for her. At top of the hill some stairs led you into the temple. It was empty and chilly. When I went to look for the temple office I tried a bunch of doors, but there was no one up there. I panicked a bit as the sun was going down and I did not want to climb the hill again if I missed it. Luckily some folks were a bit down the hill and I ask them where it was. Near the base of the drive was the temple office in its own section. I raced as carefully as I could down to it.

The last temple of the day Enmyoji was pretty close. Down slightly in a neighborhood sat the temple. It was a nice sized temple nestled by some houses. Stone paths led you from each building surrounded by dirt. By this time the sun was setting and I had completed all the temples for the day.

Dogo Onsen Matsuyama
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