Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Temple 80-Kokubunji and Temple 81-Shiro-mineji

The plan for the day is to take the train to Kokubu station and walk to Temple 80. Then do the 400 meter climb to Temple 81.
The forecast for the next 3 days is suppose to be clear, so hopefully, it will be nice for my last temple mountain climbs.
The cat and the mouse and the snake.
The theme for today is the cat and the mouse and the snake (and the most spectacular view). I will explain later.
I caught the train to the closest station to Temple 80. Almost took the limited express train to Takamatsu. When I saw all these business men lined up on the platform, I thought I better go check. Sure enough, if I would have taken the train, it wouldn't have stopped at my temple stop, but taken me nonstop to Takamatsu. Good thing I checked. When I got on the train there were other ohenros, which is a good sign.
Once I got off the train, I was able to find Temple 80 OK. I looked for a bench to leave my day pack and found one near the stamp office. So I put on my wagesa (stole) and off to do the routine. First I wash my hands and mouth. Then I manage to find the bell to ring to announce my arrival. I find the Main Hall (where the particular Buddha statue is for this Temple), light my candle, three incense sticks, drop in my coin contribution, then drop my osame-fuda in the box and commence to do the sutras. I end with arigato gozaimasu. Then off to find the Daishi Hall where Kukai's statue is enshrined. I walk around and walked around, and couldn't find it. Oh well, might as well go get my book stamped. When I went in, it was like a gift shop and that is when I noticed they had a place for the candle and incense, and sure enough, you could see into the next building, which is where Kukai's statue was. All of a sudden, I could hear this very loud cat meow. I looked and out popped a cat through a trap door, with a mouse she had caught. She wanted everyone to know she caught a mouse and was earning her temple keep. She would drop the mouse but just as it would try to escape she would grab it and parade to another spot for everyone to hear and see her. This went on for about 5 minutes, with the cat meowing loudly and showing off the mouse she caught. The next thing she disappeared, probably to have her morning breakfast. I found it very amusing to watch the cat parade around with the mouse.
I continued with my routine, did some checking out of the merchandise (and kept saying don't need, don't need as I would have to carry it) and then got my book stamped.  I spent some time taking pictures and enjoying the temple, since it was such a nice day.
Then time to head off for the climb up to Temple 81. And a climb it was. Tried my SAT NAM breath work again to help me make it up the steep climb and it worked again. I was working my way up and the sun was warm on the path. Then all of a sudden, what I thought was a branch, became a 4 foot long brown snake and really startled me. I guess the vibrations from my Kukai staff woke it up from sunbathing in the mid-morning warmth of the sun and quickly slithered away. Not sure if it was one of the poisonous ones I read about, but didn't want to find out. I sure my heart skipped a couple of beats. I was glad he slithered away and kept a sharp outlook, but didn't see anymore to my pleasure.
When the trail met the road I checked the book and was going to use Dara's suggestion to take the road, which links back up to the trail. The problem is the trail makes you go quite a distance towards temple 82 before heading back to Temple 81. As I headed on my way, I heard this yelling from two ohenros behind me. I went back and checked with them.  They said the way I was going way was for cars and I should use the trail for walkers. I said, but the trail takes me 3 km the wrong way. I thanked them and said I will go with my fellow ohenro-san Dara's suggestion, and will meet you there. Sure enough, the road was a better route and easier to walk, verses some of the 18 to 24 inch high steps, which are a killer on the knees and hips. I kept saying to myself as I walked along the smooth road verses hilly terrain, I feel like a car right now.
Sure enough, I made it to the temple well before them, and got to enjoy extra time at the temple, as it was such a nice day. Some of the views on the way up was spectacular. Kukai was happy, he was in his mountains again.
As I sat there enjoying the temple energy and the beautiful tall cedar trees, some of my ohenro friends, that I have run into, the past couple of days, appeared and we exchange "konicewa". We usually give an update on where we have been and where we are going next.
Then this Korean ohenro I met at Temple 75 appeared ,and we exchange greetings. I watch his bag for him as he headed out to do his routine. I explain where everything is. I asked if he was camping (since he has a huge pack) and he said no and showed me his plan in Korean. I gave him my osame-fuda and he gave me a nice small wooden Korean mask. I gave him one of my Canadian pins and he proudly put it on his hat. He had just done temple79, now temple 81, then plans to do temple 82 and then back to do temple 80. When a tour group arrived they asked where I was from. I said Canada and pointed to the other ohenro and said Korea. They made a big deal out of Canada, but didn't acknowledge the Korean ohenro at all. I felt bad for him. He showed me the same book that I am using but in Korean.  We said our farewells and off he went to temple 82. I said maybe we will meet at another temple. His name was Shin Take Sik. He had to use his smart phone to convert it from Korean to English I think.
Since I still had some extra time, I thought I would check out the restaurant it showed on the map on the way to my accommodations. There were no buildings at all along the road. Just lots of forest and wilderness. What a good choice, as the view from the restaurant was spectacular looking over the bridge that connects Shikoku to mainland Japan. The mountains were stunning. When I went in, I thought I would try udon again and maybe see if they had the tempura one, like the last time I had it with David. Well, I was told no udon, but what I heard next was magic to my ears. He said 'curry rice'. I thought I haven't had curry rice since I have been to Japan. I said a loud HUI 'yes'. As I sat there enjoying the view, I thought what made him say curry rice, as the next customer had fried rice. Guess the spirit moved him, that this is what I needed. Masa you are right, it came with a spoon not chopsticks, so ate it with a spoon, so as not to embarrass you and try to eat it with chop sticks like I do back in Ottawa. It was only ¥450 about $4.50. He gave me some tissues and a couple candies as osettai. I gave him my osame-fuda and he was very happy to receive it.
I headed out to find my accommodations. Since there were no other buildings, just trees, I thought should be easy to find. Well when I did find it, it was a resort hotel (Sakaide Kanpo-no-yado), on the side of the mountain and every room has a wonderful view of the mountains, valley and sea. I thought, this is well worth the ¥9800 about $98, which includes supper and breakfast.
I used the Japanese labels with my name and address, to help with filling out the registration form. They have come in handy. Then the bigger hotels want a copy of your passport. In the lobby, they had a beautiful Boys Day display which is picture 6.
The hotel is very much like North American hotels. I thought it was going to be a minshuku. I was pleasantly surprised.
I went and did a load of laundry, after taking a bath in the beautiful onsen they have, that overlooks the mountains and sea. The yukata they provide comes in handy, so you can wear it while you wash your clothes.
Supper was interesting, where they had a list to pick from in Japanese. I was lost and just typed the translation for the word "everything" in my phone. Of course they wanted to know if I wanted beer and said ouchra (tea) was fine. Picture 7 is of some of the food. The sunset was spectacular. What a way to end the day. The good thing is the onsen is open from 5:30 am to 7:30 am, if you want to use it in the morning.
All in all, again another wonderful day. Tomorrow the plan is to do temples 82 and 83.
Picture 1: Temple 80 Main Hall
Picture 2: Temple 80 statues I liked
Picture 3: Temple 81 Stamp Office Building
Picture 4: Temple 81 Main Hall
Picture 5: Temple 81 Gate
Picture 6: Boys Day display in hotel
Picture 7: Supper meal
Picture 8 & 9: Sunset from dining room

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