Much to my surprise, the brick floor I pitched my tent on last night wasn’t so bad. One of the advantages of walking 25-35km per day is that you’re so tired at the end you can sleep just about anywhere.
By 7am I was packed and ready to begin walking with my goal to reach Dainichi-ji (大日寺 – 28) by mid-afternoon. Today’s route was a straightforward march along the coast, much of it following a cycle road. Although it was still concrete, it was much better than a highway.
As well as the official huts, local people with land along the henro trail have set up many small rest stops where you can sit and sometimes have a cup of tea. I came across one near Akano where a large room was filled with intricate origami hanging from the ceiling and paper mache dolls of pilgrims sitting in chairs.
I stopped for lunch around 11am at Yasu Sea Park where I found an Indian restaurant which made a nice change from my almost solely Japanese diet of the past two weeks.
A little later a woman pulled up on her scooter and handed me a can of rice milk and a red bean biscuit. This immediately brightened my day, I only wish I could return all this generosity.
The pilgrimage certainly provides this in spades and, while I haven’t taken it to any extremes, it feels very freeing. I hope at the end of it all I can be a little more tolerant of discomfort and disorder (both physically and mentally).
Talking of discomfort, after two nights in the tent and with two rather painful feet I decided I needed a roof over my head so booked myself into a cheap guest house near Dainichi-ji.
Arriving around 2pm I left my pack before heading up to the temple, another 1.5km away. It looked like it had been rebuilt/restored fairly recently and I had a nice chat with the lady running the shop. Actually, she chatted to me and I replied to the 10% I understood.
Back at the guest house, it was a blessed relief to have a proper shower and be able to relax. Tomorrow I hope to make it to Kochi City and then have a rest day on Monday to explore the sights.
Distance walked: 31 km / 44,000 steps
Temples visited: 28
Overnight lodgings: Marukome (丸米旅館) – Guest House