Thursday, March 31, 2016

Day Off

First of two days off before second tour starts on Saturday. Nothing that needs doing so i've been laying around in the hotel, reading and watching baseball. The championship game for the national high school tournament this morning and pro ball tonight. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Temple 88

An amazing final day for this first (of two) tour. Walked from Temple 87 to Temple 88. A little warm (around 68°F), but overall another great day in hiking boots in the mountains.

And, of course, another statue of Kobo Daishi.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Temple 60

Climbed to Yokomineji, Temple 60, today. Hard to believe tomorrow is the last day for this first tour group.

A Shinto shrine we passed on the way to Temple 61.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Temples 44 & 45

Spent another day in the mountains hiking from Temple 44 (Daihōji) to Temple 45 (Iwayaji). Great hiking weather--sunny and upper fifties. 

Kōbō Daishi greeted us at the top of the first pass.

Then, several hours later we arrived at the temple and were greeted by the main deity, Fudō Myōō.

Tomorrow we climb to Temple 60, Yokomineji.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Cherry Blossoms

Walked to and visited seven temples today before heading to our hotel in Matsuyama. This tour is going by incredibly fast!

The cherry blossoms today at the temple above were stunning

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mount Tsurugi

Spent the day climbing Mount Tsurugi, the second highest peak on Shikoku. 6,414 ft.

Beautiful, beautiful day. Blue skies, sunny, and temperatures in the upper forties or lower fifties. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Temple 27

Took this picture of a hedge and a dozen trees in full bloom with beautiful red and pink flowers called hanamomo (peach flowers?)

Then someone told me i should have made it a selfie to prove i am really here, so......

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Heading South

The view along the trail today as we head south towards Cape Muroto. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Temple 12

Did the climb from Temple 11 to Temple 12 today. Total climb about 3,500 ft? Most consider it one of the hardest climbs on the pilgrimage, but that's only because it's at the start.

The trailhead as it leaves from the back of the Temple 11 compound

It is an increfibly beautiful walk. This is just before the last uphill section, and the hardest section.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Almost There

So close, yet to get to where you start at Temple 1, it takes a train ride from Tokushima Station and then a fifteen minute walk. Only then can you say you're at the start.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Traveling Buddies

Dave and I leave for Shikoku tomorrow morning. It's hard to believe that the trip is here already. 

For Dave, i dedicate these few words from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:

You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed. 
As your deed is, so is your destiny.

And Dave, nice guy that he is, gave me this from the great, great Katha Upanishad earlier this morning:

The Self is the sun shining in the sky,
The wind blowing in space; he is the fire
At the altar and in the home the guest;
He dwells in human beings, in gods, in truth,
And in the vast firmament; he is the fish
Born in water, the plant growing in the earth,
The river flowing down from the mountain.

These may sound unlelated, but they are, in fact, two sides of the exact same coin.

Dave, the hired tour guide, starts work on Tuesday morning. I'll stick him out of sight in my pack when i, the henro (pilgrim), start walking in Hiwasa on April 12th.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Suitcase, backpack, coats, and piles of clothes around the living room floor. Will pack it all tomorrow after one more inventory. A day and a half before leaving.