Waking with the sunrise at 5am this morning I shuffled out of my sleeping bag to conduct the usual temple rituals before bidding farewell to Kiyotaki-ji (清滝寺 – 35) around 7am.
Early mornings are always my favourite time. It’s quiet, the air is cool, nobody is around and the light is perfect for photography.
Making my way around Shikoku, it’s become easy to lose track of time and I rarely know what day of the week it is. It rarely matters.
On my way back through Tosa City I stopped for breakfast at the nearest combini and to use their wifi to upload yesterday’s post (no internet up in the mountains). I wondered if I wasn’t wearing all the pilgrim garb whether I’d be mistaken for a vagrant. Perhaps a pilgrim is a type of vagrant?
I continued south along the henro trail and after a few kilometres of following the road, veered off to climb up to the peak of Mt. Chausu.
At the top, I found the most wonderful viewpoint, complete with bamboo benches. Three ladies were having a small picnic and they shared some snacks with me before moving on.
I sat for what seemed like hours but was probably only ten minutes staring out towards the Yokonami Peninsula where I would soon be heading.
After descending back down to the coastal road I stopped at Family Mart for an improvised lunch where the flavourless chicken wrap made me resolve to try and eat less combini food (if it wasn’t so… convenient).
Having crossed Usa-ōhashi bridge onto the peninsula, a side trail leads up through the woods to Shōryū-ji (青竜寺 – 36) where another flight of steep steps are required to reach the main hall.
Although I’d only gone about 18km by this point, I called it a day 2km further on at Kokumin-shukusha Tosa hotel which I had been recommended. On the way, I stopped at Fudōdō, the inner sanctuary of Shōryū-ji.
I enjoyed their hot spring onsen with a wonderful view out over the Pacific Ocean, feeling extremely lucky and grateful.
It’s a two-day walk to Iwamoto-ji (岩本寺 – 37) and for much of tomorrow, I’ll be following the ragged edge of the peninsula. Looking at the map there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to stop for food or drink for at least 25km so hopefully everything goes ok.