The next day I ran into the young henro from yesterday. He was at the bus station that I was at so I thought he was heading the same way that I was, but he was actually getting picked up by his parents. I didn’t get to ask if he was going to finish or not, but I hope he is able to one day.

Temple 40, Kanjizaiji, is a bit up the coast from Sukumo in a small town called Ainan. This temple is up in a neighborhood past an elementary school. The henro path takes you through this cool small corridor that leads you directly in front of the temple.

Main temple



Water basin


Looking out from the main gate


Frog statue


I was going to try and decide if I was going to visit all the temples that day or split them up into two days. Temples 41-43 are in a line of sorts. 41 and 42 are pretty close to each while 43 is a hike up north. When I reached Uwajima it was still pretty early into the day so I decided to try and visit them that day. I dropped my stuff off at the hotel and made my way to muden which is the closet train station and walked to Ryukoji which is temple 41.

It was a nice walk through a new neighbor hood and then a left turn to head up a hill to the temple. On the hill to the left of the temple was a large graveyard. When I got to the main temple, which is up a bunch of stairs, I was surprised when I turned around that I could see pretty far out into the valley. I did not think I was so high, but with the slope and stairs it put me on a nice elevation. This view was just the start for the day.

I prayed, got my stamp and headed off. The pilgrim route has you going through the graveyard and through the hill to get back onto the main road to follow to the next temple. I followed the path at first, but must of taken a wrong turn (sometimes the henro path is not marked very well) and ended up in someones back yard. I headed towards the main road which you follow all the way to temple 42, Butsumokuji. As I walked mountains framed all around me. Farms came and went and neighborhoods clustered together. I really cannot imagine what it would be like to live in a place as beautiful as this. I imagine this is what Switzerland or something is like. Where you step outside and are surrounded by mountains. Trapped in this valley of nature.

I moved past another bend in the road with a whole neighborhood on the corner. The architecture and set up reminded me of something that was built a while ago. The houses looked like they needed to survive some less fortune circumstances and were pretty brutish in design. Regardless of how they looked kids played in the playground outsides and some elderly sat chatting on the benches. As I walked in the distance their was this brilliance of purple on the side of the road. As I approached a flowerbed lined the side with purple flowers in full bloom. I thought it was just a section of the road, but it kept going. It was incredible. The sun was shining and hitting them just right to radiate their color. There was a father along the road that was taking pictures of his little girl riding her bike with the flowers. I tried my best to stay out of his pictures, but I am sure that I ended up in a few.

Temple 42, Butsumokuji, sat before a large hill on the side of the road. You walked up some stairs to the main gate and then straight forward was the temple office and to the left was the main temple. When looked back towards the way I just came the mountains and peaceful valley backdropped all the temple statues. After I got my book signed and stamped a lady asked me if I wanted something to eat and drink. They serve matcha and Youkan (a sort of jelly) which was delicious. It was just about 3:30 when I left the temple and I did not have time to travel to the next temple, so I went back to Muden station to catch the train home. It was a nice walk back, as before I was going against the wind, now I was going with the wind. The train that I caught home was a little bit different then the others (and not sure if I was supposed to be in there) Inside was plastic enclosures display cases with different trains in them. The whole train car was a train museum. There was this girl that I think was the mascot of the train taking pictures with this group that it looked liked booked the car. It was a pleasant surprise.

That night I went out to get yakitori, which is chicken cooked different ways on skewers. I ended up meeting a lot of cool people. First was Susumu and his wife. I was sitting a lot at first and he waved me over to sit next to them. He was wondering what I was up to in Japan. Turned out he knew the owner of the place we were eating, they were friends. I tried buying them a drink, but they kept refusing haha. Susumu is a metal worker. He makes some awesome stuff. Check out his Instagram He recommended me this vinegar chicken and it was amazing. Just the right amount of sweetness and sourness. Another guy sat next to my left who had worked in the United States a while ago. We talked a bit about the car companies when he asked me where I worked. It was a pretty great night. The next day I would explore a little of Uwajima and then travel to temple 43.

Uwajima Castle

The next day I wanted to see the castle in town. Up high in the center of the city was Uwajima castle. The path once you get to the main gate up to the castle is pretty steep. Large stone stairs followed by some stone ramps led me up to the top. When I reached the top I was pretty amazed at how small the castle actually was. On this gaint hill was this tiny castle. But I could see why it was located where it was. You could see everything around you for miles.





Some information about the castle


Mountains to the east


View of the north


After the castle I decided to head out to the temple for the day. Today I would be visiting temple 43, Meisekiji. The temple is in the town of Seiyo, on the train ride over I was sitting next to an elementary school teacher who had lost one her eyes. She explained to me that her kids always think that she might be in the yakuza(like Japanese mafia). She was in really good spirits. She gave a paper crane that she had been folding during the ride. The temple was over a large hill that did not seem so bad at first, but like all temples, the steepness comes out of no where. You walk on nice mountain paths and then all of a sudden stairs, then steep slopes. And they never end once they start. The forests in Japan are thick and shaded. As you enter them, even on a sunny day you will be clouded in shadow till you reach the other side. Sometimes I find descending the trails harder then going up. The steepness and rocky paths of some of the trails makes it scary to be heading down to your destination. Alas out of the dark woods I reached the gate for the temple.


Cool lantern in the front gate


The main temple


The temple office


It was a nice temple hidden among the trees and hills of the land. There is road that leads to this temple and I was tempted to take it back, but it goes all the way around the mountain I went over to get there. It seems that going back over the place you came from is always easier then the first time. Odd that it might be just as hard, but your mind is warmed up to the idea. The obstacle is not unknown anymore. I headed back to town for the night and planned out the next day. I would have to wake up pretty early to head off to Matsuyama.

I was glad to be leaving Kochi city as it turned out be to different then I thought. It was a nice place, but i was eager to get moving agian. I chilled at Kochi station before I left as my train would be another hour. I grabbed a seat that looked out towards the city so I could people watch. Even though I had built some rest days into my schedule I had not really just sat still.

Any idle time was filled with going over my schedule, where I would be next, how I would get there and what I was going to have to eat that day.

For now, I just sat watching the people go by. All different kinds with all different events to attend. I love seeing people in transit. You see them in the in between. They are not stationary, acting part of an event, but transitioning to the event. What ever that might be. Also since I live in a place that doesn’t have insane mass transportation, this rare viewing is only part of the safari at an airport.

In my plans I was actually going to visit temple 36 today then head down the coast to Shimanto, but since I was able to visit it the day before I had a lot of time.

Temple 37, Iwamotoji

Off to Temple 37, Iwamotoji. Traveling down the coast line I got off at the Kubokawa station in Honmachi. It was a very cute little town that had a neat station connected to its town hall. The temple is close to the station, just a ten minute walk down the road and around a bend. Alot of these temples that are in towns or cities have a main gate that is standing with the rest of the buildings around it, but once you enter into the temple grounds things open up and give you some space. For instance this temple you turn into a small road that leads you down into the main gate and then into the temple grounds. It is all well integrated. When you walk through the main gate the temple office and a nice covered area is directly to your left. If you keep going forward the main temple lays right in front of you. Like many of the temples there is a cool statue of Kobo Daishi next to a nice tree. When I was at this temple I had a really intense sense of calmness. I can’t point to what it might be, maybe the quite town that it was in, the weather, or maybe even the people that were there with me at the temple. All I know is that it felt good and right.

Kobo Daishi



Cool Water Basin


Directly to the left when you walk through the main gates


Main Temple


I ended up taking the later train out of the city to Shimanto as I didn’t really need to be anywhere and well the tiny town was pretty nice. I grabbed some bread from a local dealer and chilled on some seating near the station.

What struck me in this time, is that being in the adventure isn’t like thinking about the adventure. I realized this early in my journey, but I really started to think about it now. When I walked among the streets of Tokushima and in the mountains, the only thing I wanted was for someone to open their door and tell me it was alright for me to stay with them. Give me some normalacy. To tell me I didn’t need to go anywhere for the next days, I could just live and work with them. And when I was in the mountains I prayed for someone to be with me, to have at least one companion out there among the trees and rocks. I wished that the weather would be nice and my pack would be instantly lighter.

Of course none of this happened. As I walked past the doors, none of them opened, as I walked up the mountain no friends came out to greet me. Being the main character, the adventurer and or the hero, is lonely business. It means doing things that others will not and being in those situations that no one else would be in. While other people take on the challenge (and even walk completely alone the whole thing) while you are doing it, it seems that there is no one else out there. Alone you quest to the temples. Alone you leave them and embark on to the next one. You meet great people along the way, see beautiful places, but you must leave them. You must quest on. Life doesn’t have to be this brutal, but I think if you are going to strive for more, you will encounter these things more then most. Discomfort is not a negative, it is merely a state of mind. As my feet hurt and shoulders yelled for blood flow, I could not stop. I had to keep going. As the rain poured and my shoes slipped upon rock, I couldn’t give up and turn around. Then I wouldn’t get to where I needed to go.

A frame of space, a moment in time, once past, is like a distant dream.


Shimanto is a small city with the Shimanto river running through it. The place I stayed at, the Royal Shimanto, was pretty nice. It was near a mall that had a convience store open and near the river. When I arrived I got into my room and decided to head out to park and take some photos of the river. In Japan there are a lot of parks like this, where the river runs through town and the banks of the river are very flat and wide. So their put parks and then a vertical set of stairs to descend into it. Dragonfly park, the one I was visiting was the same. It almost looked like some sort of savanna because they had these bushes that were so fuzzy and perfect looking. Pretty funny. They had a dirt tennis court where some girls were playing, when ever I see tennis being played in real life I always have the itch to get back into it. Great sport. I got some shots and the sun went down pretty quickly so I headed in for the night. The next day I would be busing it down to Ashizuri and then over to Sukumo.

Shimanto River and Dragon Fly Park




These trees reminded me of something out of a savanna


Imagine seeing this when you go to the park everyday


Temple 38, Kongfukuji

I would be visiting two temples today. Temple 38, Kongfukuji, which was in cape Ashizuri on the very south of the west peninsula and last, temple 39, Enkoji, which was in between Sukumo and Shimanto back up north. First I would travel two hours by bus down to cape Ashizuri. I give huge props to everyone who drives a bus in Japan. They have to maneuver this large bus among the tiniest roads I have ever seen and to swing around tiny mountain cliffs. There were some moments when I actually thought we might just fly into the sea.

But before I knew it the bus was pulling into this small parking lot and dropping me off. To my suprise it was very busy. Cars were flying by to park in the other parking lot down the street and people were walking in and out of the temple entrance. This must be a popular destination.

I walked up a elevated path and into the temple. Inside there was a slight wooden area that opened up to the main temple grounds. In the center running through alot of it was a pond. Stone bridges let you cross back and forth and some statues rose out of its murky waters. This was one of the unique temple layouts I had seen. To me it was pretty neat. It seemed at this temple it had a lot of statues that I had not seen before. The dark spire in the ground that looked like the staff I was carrying was new, and bigger statues of some of the artifacts that Kobo Daishi carried. I had around an hour to wander around so after visiting the temple I journeyed out into the cape. Down the road from the temple was parking where a couple of police were directing traffic in and out. Past that was the entrance to the cape. A small miniature village or something sat in a open space before heading in to the twisting trees. Unfortunately it was an overcast day, so when I go to the lookout point where I could see the water it all kind of blended together. But it was still awesome. It is a place that I would like to return to someday when the weather is nice.

Main Temple


Looking into the temple from the right side. This pond ran through a lot of the grounds


Kobo Daishi next to a spire. It looks like the staff that is carried by the henro.



Looking opposite way from other picture. They were doing some repairs on something in the water so there were al ot of maintenance workers all over the place. I tried to leave them out of the pictures.


This is one of my favorite shots to get. A lantern with the background blurred haha


I took the bus back up the coast and then to temple 39, Enkoji. I actually planned to take the train from Sukumo to this temple, but the bus actaully goes back up to Shimanto and then east towards Sukumo. So I got dropped off at the bus stop closest to that temple and made my way up. To tell you the truth probably 90% of the temples are up hill, even ones that are in town are elevated some how either with steeps roads, stairs or with tall hills sprouting out of nowhere to climb. This was a relaxed temple. It was not too busy and spacious. Nothing really was going on around it and it was removed from the main road. I ran into a young henro at this temple that I ended up following into Sukumo.

Turtle inland



Main Temple


It was early and town was only a couple of miles away so I decided to just walk the rest of the day. It was a pretty easy walk since there was a side walk the whole way. When no side walk is available, you are left walking on the side of the road, which is already small as it is, with the traffic speeding by. As I got into town the the other henro went in the opposite direction of me, but later that day after I had dinner it turned out he was staying at the same hotel as me. I gave him O-settai of some yen for something to drink when he needed it. Next I would be heading up the west coast to Uwajima for two nights.

I headed into Kochi today. I would take my luggage to the hotel, which was in the middle of town and then head out to all the temples. First part of the plan worked flawlessly. The Hotel took my heavy bag and kept it waiting for me until checked in later that night. What did not go as planned was the distance of travel to the temples and then the walking distance between them.

The first day in Kochi will be just a story. When I stashed my luggage at the hotel my main camera goes with it. The only things that I have on me is my hat, staff and henro bag with all the essentials (english guide book, stamp book, candles and etc) I started off by heading back to the east side of Kochi.

Temple 29, Kokubunji, seems like it is out in the fields in the middle of nowhere, but as you start to get closer you start noticing some cute little restaurants around and then you encounter a fortress of tall shurb like trees. Out of the blue there is this green wall. I followed it around and in the sun stricken fields of crops was a oasis of shade. It was nice for a bit to relax, but I knew I had ton of temples to get through that day, so I said goodbye to the shade and started out among the fields again.

Walking to temple 30, Zenrakuji, was a bit like going from the country side to the tight knit neighborhoods. The fields fell away and thin streets spun their way around houses. The pilgrim route takes you into some of the temples sideways or at least not through the front gate. For this temple I entered through the side and at first it was a standard temple, but as I left there was a large entrance path that sunk into the ground. You stepped down into this wide long gravel road with trees canopied above. This was the entrance of the temple that I was looking for.

I would like to say I enjoyed getting to temple 31, Chikurinji, but most of the way was through the city. Once you have seen a store front or apartment building, you have seen most of them. The amount of time it took me to get from temple 29 to 30 plus the travel had taken around 4 hours. Now I had another 2 hours to walk down to temple 31 and I figure another hours and a half to temple 32. The route to temple 31 isn’t interesting till you get to the end. You cross a river into a little neighborhood that is being overlooked by a massive hill.

As I looked at it I knew I was about to climb it.

Yes, I climbed it.

The path takes you into the Kochi Botantical garden which you wouldn’t really know till crawl out of the woods onto a paved path with very beautiful lighting everywhere. It is very short lived as the henro path leads you off the nicely paved roads and into the woods and onto pure jagged rock paths. While getting through this I actually got my foot stuck in between the rock path which scrapped my whole side of my foot. I would of liked to enjoy the stride through the park, but being in pain sorta puts me on edge. My tolerance is pretty high, but when everything sort of hurts and then add more pain to it, I lose focus.

Once you get out of the garden you follow a path down the hill you are on to a three way cross road. To the right is the temple which stands past some long stairs.

This was the first temple that I saw with a giant pagoda tower in it. I would see a few more temples like this through out my trip, but not many. There were long flat steps that had these lanterns laying on the ground. Which was different, usual lanterns are hanging on something or elevated by being on some sort of staff, but these sat on the ground almost guiding you to where you were supposed to go. If I reached the temples near the end of the day it is getting pretty dark already, which I noticed that I lose a lot of what the temple looks like in my mind. By 5 o’clock the sun is pretty much behind any sky scrapers or tall building that are there. For this temple which was covered in trees, it made it pretty dark inside. After getting there and realizing that I would not be able to make it to the last temple in time, I resided to head back to my hotel for the day.

If one thing that day taught me is that I underestimated the time it would take to actually get to all the temples in Kochi. I knew from my experience that day that I would no be able to actually walk to all the temples the next day. So I researched the buses and which ones I should take that night to get prepared for the next day.

Kochi - Missed Options

The next day started early. I called a tax, as I was to return to pretty much where I was yesterday and made my way to temple 32, Zenjibuji. Now I didn’t expect it, but from the ride to this temple, again I looked at the map and saw that it is in the city, no problem. But as we neared a large steep hill approached and we soon climbed it. Sadly even though I had my camera with me, I didn’t take any pictures of this temple with it, not sure why. Next was to head to the west to temple 33, Sekkeiji.

When I was at temple 32 I ran into this older henro who I saw again after I left, we were both heading in the same directions so we both sorta teamed up. I will tell you, this guy was moving fast. I thought I was moving sorta fast before, following this guy made me realized I was slow. We powered through the streets to the river which a ferry took us across. The ferry was pretty neat, free and you could ride your bike or motorcycle onto it and just chill as it took you across. Temple 33 was near a cute bend in a road that held a little inn and cafe.

A cute Tanuki Status


The Main Temple


The main entrance opposite of the main temple


The guy on the left is the henro that I power walked with to get here


The cool water basin to cleanse your hands at


My ended up leaving before my new henro friend and that was the last time I saw him. Off to temple 34, Tanemaji which was again more to the west. Now this temple was easy to get to, but rather hard to endure. The buildings fell away and all that remained were fields and long roads with almost nothing along them.

Even when I got close to the temple the buildings were very short and provided no shelter from the blazing sun that was raining down that day. For this part I intended to take the bus after this temple and by the time I got to the temple I had about 10 minutes to actually get to the bus stop. I can with out a doubt say I rushed this temple very hard. Not something I was happy about, but the next bus wasn’t for the next 3 hours. So I said the heart sutra faster then possible and got my book stamped and ran out towards the bus stop. I made it, I think, but no bus came. I stood for about 15 minutes after the time it was supposed to be there. I panicked a bit. I had really no idea where I was, there were no other bus stops or trains around.

I was pretty much stranded.

My next destination on foot was around 3 hours away, which is fine, but then I had another 3 hours to go to the next temple. Kochi was the place where I had to improvise a lot. And this came at me learning on how to call a Taxi. I normally don’t like talking on the phone in English, so calling to talk in Japanese was going a bit past my comfort zone. I walked back to the temple to have a place I could tell them and somehow, it worked, at least I thought it did. After I told them where I was, there was a quick exchange of words that I couldn’t quite make out and then they hung up the phone.

Jonathan, I hear taxis in Japan are pretty expensive, hell yeah they are haha. They are expansive, but they literally go everywhere. Up to the mountains, into the seas, the Japanese taxis are fearless. So I used them a little during my trip.

We acsended to temple 35, Kiyotakiji which on the way I saw an Udon shop that I would head back to down to eat at. So high above Kochi rested this temple. It over looked the whole western part of the city.

The view from the temple.



This truck that lay in the parking lot


Statues among the grounds



The main temple


After this I walked down the mountain and had lunch at the udon shop I had seen before. The last temple of the day and last temple of Kochi was temple 36, Shoryuji. Way down south on a peninsula this temple resided among some beaches and tropical scenery. There was high long bridge that connected the peninsula to the town just south west of Kochi. You wrapped around some mountains along the beach and then went inland a bit to reach the temple. At the base was a small shop then the main gate and stairs leading up into the main temple area.

The main gate


The main temple


A large pagoda inside


Kobo Daishi



On my way back I decided to stop by one of the beaches. In Japan I saw many stray cats just laying around or chilling. Here there were some as well.


The outdoor area sitting area


The walkway to the beach


I was taking pictures of the water and cats and this guy came over and gave me 10 dollars of O-settai (which is the most anyone gave me) he told me to be careful and walked off with his girlfriend. I was very grateful, but the way he said be careful made me a bit worried. It was so serious and sort of sad sounding. But I used that money to get back to my place that night so I was extremely grateful.

Kochi showed me that plans can sometimes not go accordingly and that looking at the map from above does not mean things are close. It also does not take in the account that there are other factors that will affect and slow you down as you go along. In reality I should of stayed in Kochi city another night and took a little bit more time, but I had the west peninsula to head off too.

My trip would start to move a lot faster in distance. I decided that for the long treks of following the road side I would take the train or bus. The next day I would be traveling to the western peninsula then back up to the west coast.

You can see the Kochi city temples on the south middle part of the island

I had two nights at my current hotel which was the MinshukuKuurashima it was nice inside and my room was Japanese style with a tatami floor and futons. My second day there it was raining outside and I decided not to go to temple 27, Konomineji, which is up the coast and looked to be a climb.

I am glad that I didn’t because the next day when I caught the bus to go up I was accompanied by a couple from Denmark. They were heading to the temple same time as I was so we decided to go together. Luckily we had heard that there was a cafe that allowed us to drop our stuff off before making the climb. This made it a lot easier because the path is pretty much a 25-40% incline up a road for an hour and then some stairs.

I tried to get something from the vending machine at the top, but everything was sold out. It also didn’t give me my money back. Konomineji is separated into platforms, the office is at the bottom then some stairs to the main temple which is on a long cliff side. We took a slight rest and then decended back down the mountain to get our stuff. I was actually staying on the way to Kochi in a cool place called the Royal Hotel Tosa. So I said goodbye to my friends from Denmark and got off to drop my stuff off before heading to complete the first temple in Kochi.

The hotel was nice, but it was not easy to get to. I had to walk about 20 minutes through town and up a pretty steep hill to get there. The place was nice and I believe that the Hanshin Tigers (a professional Japanese baseball team) was staying there the same time I was because they had their flags all over the place and it looked like some players were in the lobby. I felt sorta bad, because they had made the place look spik and span and had like 5 door men waiting and here I come in sweating profusely with all my gear. It all worked out though, I dropped my stuff off, grabbed my henro gear and went off to complete the first temple in Kochi.

Kochi was the first place other than Tokushima where there were a lot of temples that were “inside” the city. My biggest mistake on this trip was looking at a map from the sky and deciding I could go the distance. Like “Yeah that looks pretty close, maybe an hour or 45 minute walk” when in reality it is a 2 hour walk with hills and in the blazing sun with no shade.

With all that said, the first temple I went to in Kochi this day was nice. I got off the train, took a walk to temple 28, Dainichiji, felt good becuaes I was actually going to wait and do it the next day. Dainichiji was a standard temple. What I mean by that, is not that it wasn’t impressive, but it didn’t have any landmark features that stood out to me (but you never know, maybe I wasn’t looking) as I was leaving I ran into the Denmark couple again. I wished them luck and returned to my hotel. Back after temple 21 I started booking my hotels early, so I got a pretty good price on the Royal hotel. This place had one of my favorite onsens that I have come across so far. It had a nice indoor and outdoor area. The outdoor area had these cast iron pots that you sat in and let the water balance out around you. It was very relaxing. After this the trip was about to take a spin. I decided I was going to take the train to cover some of the long hauls and try to get to the temples so I could walk to each of them in there area. Before in Tokushima, there really wasn’t that option and the temples were all over the place and then flew into the mountains.

After Miniami-Cho it was time to hit the coastline and head down to the eastern peninsula, Muroto Cape. I took the train down the coast and then switched to a bus that went all the way down to the cape. There are three temples on the cape itself. First is temple 24, Hotsumisakiji. There is a large hill that over looks the coast line with a lighthouse on it. I accidentally went up the way you go down which is this very steep winding road, luckily the top was shaded with lots of trees.


I saw a couple of people knock on this stone. I am not sure what it was, but it looked neat.


The view of the other side.


Kobo Daishi looming over


This view is of the west side of the cape. I would walk up this whole thing to Kochi.


Sadly this was the only temple with a view of the coast. After, I walked up the coast to temple 25, Shinshoji. This temple surprised me because while it looks like it is in the middle of town it is actually on a steep hill. You walk down into this neighborhood and then there are stairs. And then more stairs. I was expecting something just in town that I could walk into, but I was mistaken. This temple had a cool fountain that was motion activated. When you got close, the dragon would start spilling water out of its mouth into the basin of water. I thought I was seeing things at first when I approached and it just started.

There was an older henro that I met up with at his temple. We had seen each other here and there, but we had finally stopped at the same temple. It is nice to see other doing the journey. Even if most days your by your self most of the time, it is nice knowing others are walking the same route as you.

The last temple of the day was temple 26, Kongochoji. I was actually going to do this the next day as my lodging was near, but I dropped my stuff off and took it on. Boy am I glad I did. This was the first temple that I had done with out my full pack. Again, on the map it looks like it is fairly close to the place I was lodging, but I was proven wrong. This temple turned out to be a 45 minute hike up a steep hill. Some of the paths were just complete chiseled rock. Totally took me off guard. It was pretty cloudy that day so when I reached the temple it was a little creepy. There is something about a ancient place being empty and overcast that puts off an odd vibe. On my way down I ran into my old henro friend from before. I gave him 150 yen as a gift and told him it was for something to drink. I hope I got it across that it was for something like water or a sports drink from the vending machine instead of alcohol haha I did this gesture a few times to people when I saw them after tough climbs and hoped they understood.

Some of these posts are mismatched with pictures as I sometimes do not have my camera with me if I drop my stuff off somewhere before I head out (which was the plan from today on forward if able) so for any temples that are not shown in picture form, you can head over to my instagram to check the ones I take on my phone.


Hey everyone!

I am getting all the posts together,but as you might see, I am very behind haha. But you can check out my flikr to see all the upcoming photos. Also check out my Instagram, I have been most active there. My trip started to speed up a bit with how many temples and distance I was covering a day. Also posting full stories is not as easy as I would like it to be haha, but they are in the works. stay tuned as I will be getting more time to finish the posts and give a better account of what went on.

Thank you for stopping by, watch for some updates.


It was time to head out of the mountains. A lot of the route from here on out follows the coast around Shikoku. Before that I had to follow the main road out of the mountains and then pass through a hilly forest to reach Temple 22 Byodoji. I saw a lot of downed trees and a few snakes on my way up which made me speed up. I am usually not squeamish of snakes, but there are some pretty scary ones here and there.

The route then leads through a small town and into the temple. There might of been a festival or an event recently because there were ribbons hanging through out the temple. I remember passing through the gates and this young guy was standing there. He didn’t enter the temple, just stood by the gate. I thought, this guy, he’s a reporter isn’t he. Just as this older couple were exiting the temple he went in for the strike haha he was a reporter. The route to get down the coast is following the main highway down and I heard that there isn’t much to see and you have to go through some tunnels which can be a bit dangerous. Knowing my pace and what the other pilgrims I had run into say I decided to take the train down.

You hear that the trains in Japan are always on time. I would say that they are always on time near the cities. Out in the country they can be a bit late. In this case it was around 45 minutes late. But with all odd things comes amazing things. As I waited another man came onto the platform with me. He didn’t have any of the pilgrim stuff, but he was making his rounds to the 88. I fumbled a conversation with him and we rode the train (when it came) down to Miami-Cho.

Temple 23, Yakuoji, was impressive. Standing among the tree filled cliffside is this giant tower of red and white.


Of course there are stairs, but it was worth it. There were stone lanterns everywhere, different Kami (gods) shrines here and there and then the view when you went to the top. Even when riding the train the sea could only be seen here and there. In Minami-cho there is a beach, but is in the north east side of town. From the top you can get a clear view.

The main gate


The stone lanterns. I noticed these were actually plugged in somewhere so they were all electric.




The wood carving on the shrines is excellent. Each shrine has very intricate carvings of many different things.


The tower was a sort of museum. I didn’t need up going in.


The view from the top of the tower towards the ocean.


View of the tower from the river.


Me and my new friend said goodbye at the gate and he told me to be careful in a very heartfelt way. What I mean by that is that I could tell he really meant it.

I stayed in Miami-cho for two nights at a place called Ichi the hostelran by a guy named Hero. He actually renovated the whole place with a friend of his. The next post will be about my day off and the peopel at Ichi that I met. I ran into a friend from earlier in my trip too.

As alaways thank you for reacding and I apologize for the pictures being here and Instagram. I will work on it.

Cheers ~!

Day 6

After taking a rest I was ready for another long haul. I had decided that after temple 22 I would use the train and bus a little bit more to get me through some of the long stretches. While I will be walking to the temples, some of the route is following the road for miles at a time. For instance today, temple 18 Onzanji and temple 19 tatsueji are south of Tokushima in the suburbs, so to get there I followed the main high way for about 4 hours to get down there.

The day started well though. As I packed up my stuff and got outside the hotel it started to rain, which I knew it would, so I started to put on all my rain gear. One of the hotel receptionists saw me and asked if I needed an umbrella (you could buy one at the front door), but I already has so much stuff and rain gear covered most of it, so I politely decline. As I finished getting everything put together she came out and handed me an umbrella telling me it was a gift. I couldn’t refuse now, so I took it. And boy, was I glad I did.

That day I did use it, but it was really the next day that it came in super handy. The walk was un-interesting, just walking among the cars and stop lights till it finally died down into the country side where the streets got narrower and far between. Temple 18 was off the main streets up in the hills. I am not a big fan of these type of temples. They are close enough to town, but just far enough away to be isolated. There was a nice path that was off the road, but as I learned, these paths can be extremely steep and not the easiest to traverse. Especially in the rain. I also noticed that the temples that are a little more remote, but not in the mountains, don’t seem to be taken care of as much as ones in the mountains or right in the cities, which lends to an odd feelings. After getting my book stamped I made my way back to town and headed more south to temple 19. By the time I got there the rain started coming down even harder and I was ready to just be dry, but my lodging for the night didn’t check in till 3 pm which was 3 hours from then. So I headed to the only convenience store in town and got something to eat.

There is something neat about being part of a journey others are taking as well. In Japan the convenience stores are filled with everything that you might need. Hot and cold food. Food that they will microwave for you, fresh bread and sandwiches and all sorts of things. They even have a place you can sit and eat your food, which I took advantage of. As I sat and slurped some microwaved noodles a guy that sat to my left asked if I was doing the 88 shrines (my hat and staff sat next to me). Turns out he was completing the 88 shrines as well. Here sat next to me was Kent, a retired guy from Malaysia. He had completed the Camino several times, and planned to complete the triple crown in the upcoming years, but had head of this and after being injured decided to see what Shikoku was all about. Kent was very well rounded. He had traveled all around the world and kept up on all the news and economies of different places. We shared stories of our journey so far and discussed the future plans for the trip.

My place to stay was called the Fun Farm which was a guest house ran by the nicest couple.

Day 7

When looking at the elevation map and thinking “yeah temple 12 was hard, but I think I will be okay, because this is only two mountains instead of three” at the beginning of the day I felt confident. The weather said rain only in the early morning then sun shine and my host had my me breakfast which was great. When I left the sun was shining and everything seemed to have dried off.

Then about 10 minutes later it starts raining. Then pouring. I check the forecast again. It is stated to rain the rest of the morning. I put all my rain gear on, pulled out the umbrella that I am thankful to have now and kept going. The beginning of the mountains are always pretty easy. They are small paths leading through the trees, but then the slopes start getting steeper, and then stairs start. First it is log stairs then just cuts in the rocks that lead you up. So I ended up ascending a mountain again, in the rain. I won’t go over to much since my post about temple 12 sums up the experience again.

After around about 2 hours of climbing I reached the top. Temple 20 is pretty condensed. Once you get to the top the main temple, I think some dorms and the temple office are all crammed into the same spot. It was still raining so I found a dry spot to set my stuff down and went through the rituals. There were two tour groups when I was there. A foreign tour group that was leaving when I was getting my book stamped and a Japanese tour group. As I sat eating trying to escape the rain I looked out into the distance and into the fog. To get to temple 21, I had go down the mountain and ascend another mountain. Around 500m on each mountain (would you call it a mountain?) Anyway as I stared out the Japanese tour group had gotten its books stamped and was leaving when a man stopped and asked me where I was heading. I must of looked weary or something, because when I told him temple 21 he said he had room on his bus if I wanted to ride. I agreed. It was luck, fate , maybe Kobo Daishi was saying it was okay to get some help, but I took it. I threw my self on that bus with so much politeness and gratitude I still cannot believe it happened the way it did. Let me tell you, taking a tour bus, is the way to go. It was a great ride, some of the people on the bus talked me about their trip and the host would get on the loud speaker and say some things about where we were going . It was fantastic. When we reached the base of temple 21 the man that offered me the ride wanted a picture with me haha. The most friendly of all people.

Temple 21 has a ropeway that can take you to the temple. If you walk from 20 to 21 you end up on the opposite side of the mountain so you cannot take it. My lodgings were actually at the base of the ropeway so it all worked out. I have to say so far on this journey, temple 21 has been my favorite. The ropeway was neat, though scary at times just hanging above the trees, the way I got there was something else and the temple was beautiful. I posted a lot of the pictures on my Instagram as I had left my stuff down at the lodge. Which now that I look back at it , I should have brought my camera up with me. Missed oppurtunity.

Over all the day started unfortunately and ended fortunate. I had a great end of the day and met some amazing people.

Day 4 and 5

Thankfully the rain from the day before had stopped and the day was nice and sunny. The host helped me get to the first temple of the day which was 13 Dainichiji back in Tokushima. The day was straight forward, I went from temple 13 to temple 17 in the city which took a couple of hours of walking. I ended up taking the train back into Tokushima because my lodgings were there for the night. I ended up staying at the Toyoko hotel which I guess is a large chain. I had booked two days to give my self some rest and plan out the rest of my trip. I got to head around the city and take some cool shots of the river running through Tokushima.

On my day off I wondered around the city a bit. As I strolled through an outdoor/indoor mall I was walking next to a guy named Nobuhiro, that started talking to me. I am not sure where he was going, but he offered to show me the Awa Odori Museum. Awa Odori is festival dance that is Tokushima is famous for. It is pretty intense and has had a long history in Japan. There is a gift shop on the bottom floor, a performance hall on the second and a museum the third that I checked out. When I return to Tokushima when I have completed the 88 Shrines I plan on checking out the performance.

The Museum and some benches that are under replicas of the hats during the dance.



The rest of the day was spent planning out my trip. After day I had going to temple 12 I had think about how I was going to approach the rest. To walk all of the island is unrealistic for me as my pack is way to heavy and to tell the truth, walking next to the roads (which most do not have a sidewalk) is dangerous and nerve-wracking.

Story Time

Today was all about getting to temple 12 which is in the mountains. While not being that far away distance wise, to get to temple twelve you must go up and down two mountains and then go up the third to get to the actual temple. From what I had read and heard, this is a difficult journey. What is not stated on how difficult it is. I imagined my self in okay shape before embarking on this, but the route to temple 12 really showed me that I am not a hiker. If you hike a lot, this might not be a big deal. What I imagined the climb to be was like what I posted on my instagram, but what I did not imagine was sheer verticalness of the route.

  • If you are going to do this trip here is a tip on how to get ready based on my experience from this day. Get your backpack fully packed so it is realist weight, go find a stair stepper or use stairs and climb them for an hour (or work your way up to an hour). Do this over a month before and this whole part should be a a lot easier plus all the rest of the mountains during the trip.

It might seem like a joke, but I really wish someone would have told me to do this. My legs would be in way better shape for this and it would of been ready for 6 hours of climbing stairs with 25 lbs on my back. I did train with a 20 lb bag for about a month walking for 3-4 hours at a time, but it was the stepping that go me. Walking incline here and there is no problem for me. I didn’t get many pictures from the climb because I was just trying to survive the climb and get to temple. It also did not help that before going up the second mountain it started raining which made the whole thing even harder as the rocks go slippery.

There were a few breaks where you could look out among the mountains which was something experience. Since it was raining, mist laid deep on the side of the mountains and into the grey sky which made the views a little spooky. When I reach the temple I dragged my self through the gravel to the first vending machine and downed a whole bottle of water to appease my body. I went through the temple ritual and luckily there was an Udon shop on the temple grounds.

All I remember is sitting there staring at those noodles thinking “What am I doing?” The first part of this whole island (later given) is the “Awakening”, and sitting there, past the limit of what I thought I could have done, it was starting to set in. I am not going to lie, I was frustrated going up this mountain. I had to stop every other minute just to catch my breath. I cursed, questioned what I was doing, hated everything I could see, but each time I stopped I realized that getting angry or mad at the situation was not going to get me up the mountain. So I took deep breaths in-between my bouts of rage and kept climbing to the protest of my body and mind.

After finishing my noodles I looked to where I would be staying tonight. I had lodging in Kamiyama, which when I booked looked pretty close to the temple, but experiencing what I just had, close was relative. It turned out to be another two and half hour hike down the mountain. I knew that I needed help, I had seen some taxi signs when the path took some of the roads at the base of mountains, when I passed them, I thought they were kind of odd, but really wanted one half way up the second and third mountain. I asked the Udon shop owner if she could help me get a taxi to my lodging that night and she truly awesome with help me out. By then the rain was getting heavier and I was grateful for being able to speak a little Japanese to able to ask.

My lodgings that night was a Japanese style guest house named Saraya. It sat on a small hill facing Kamiyama. The owner was extremely friendly. He spoke English and took me to an Onsen when he arrived later in the night which after that day was heaven. The wall were a little thin, but the room was cozy and I slept well.

The bar in the front entrance


My room beyond the shoji


The view from the front. Can’t see much today, but in the morning it was really something.


The front of the lodge. My room is on the very left. To get to the bathroom you had to take the path round the corner.


An eventful day. Still working on taking pictures. I feel a little awkward taking pictures when around people haha. Something I need to work on to get some better shots. When the trip is over I will most likely do some editing to these pages to have links and everything. I have a travel log file with everything in in for myself, but I will work to include in this blog for anyone looking to use it for travel purpose.


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