Waking this morning to the sound of heavy rain banging against the barred windows of the cheap Business Hotel, I felt exhausted before even sitting up. I took the executive decision to make a dash for Enkō-ji (延光寺 – 39) and then rest during the afternoon.

Engraved stone at Enkō-ji

After laboriously putting on my still-damp rain gear I left my pack at the front desk and stepped out into the melee. Because I’d taken the long route, I’d have to return through Sukumo after visiting Enkō-ji anyway.

Enkō-ji Gate

Without the usual weight on my back for some reason, my left ankle immediately began to complain and it was a rather painful 7km tramp to the temple.

Pilgrims at Enkō-ji

Pilgrims at Enkō-ji

Upon arrival at Enkō-ji there was a tour group in full swing chanting the sutras. I proceeded to get my book stamped first and then found some cover from which to quietly listen (an audio recording is embedded above).

The temple looked beautiful in the rain and I was reminded of the 2002 film Hero where Jet Li mentally fights Donnie Yen in a traditional courtyard. Highly recommended.

I arrived back in Sukumo at 10.45am looking like a heavily pregnant drowned rate (I’d stuffed my satchel under my rain coat). After collecting my pack I ducked into a nearby post office and sent a few small items back to Tokyo. At this point, every gram counts.

I’d booked another Business Hotel on the opposite side of town which would put me in the right direction for tomorrow’s assault. Even though I was too early to check in the kind lady at the counter let me use the laundry and showed me to a spot I could wait. Much to my surprise, it had a fast wifi connection. Heaven!

After finding a family restaurant in which to have lunch and then being given access to the room I set about drying everything off and getting organised before collapsing on the bed for a two-hour nap.

Shortly after 5pm I woke and headed out to a nearby tonkatsu (pork cutlet) restaurant for dinner.

My plan tomorrow it to reach Kanjizai-ji (観自在寺 – 40) by noon and then take the Naka-michi trail north towards Ryūkōji (竜光寺 – 41). The route is marked as “experienced hikers only” as it’s very remote but I’ve found a place to stop for the night half-way and the weather looks fair. Fingers crossed.

Information

Distance walked: 13 km / 19,800 steps (rest day)
Temples visited: 39
Overnight lodgings: Akizawa (秋沢ホテル) – Business Hotel

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Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Luxury to stay in a hotel after the rain 🙂
    Make sure you grab enough kindle books and podcasts with your wifi!

  2. James Boddy says:

    Great words and photos, thank you.
    I enjoyed my stays in business hotels, long soak in a hot bath in the evening and in the morning before setting out, my leg muscles were pleased!

  3. Mo says:

    I know you’re going to do a post re gear later, but can I please ask what footwear you’re wearing? How’s it holding up in the rain?

  4. Athena says:

    I also have a left ankle issue, but it was the opposite. That’s weird!

    I admire your resolve to take the less travelled routes. I love mountain routes too, but I think I worry too much about all that could happen in them (having grown up on a mountain with bears for neighbours).

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