Day 12 – 4 October
I woke on the 12th day of my pilgrimage with the sound of the waves susurrating against the shore. Surfers were already in the water even though it wasn’t yet 7am.
Today I’d be trying to get round the temples of Kochi city. I hadn’t thought this would be too problematic as they were mostly on the flat. As I reached the city though the wind rose ominously. I’d heard there was a typhoon coming and was worried this wind might be its harbinger. Whatever it was, it was certainly a pain, slowing me right down, making visiting the temples a real grind.
It also became apparent that the temples weren’t really on the flat, most were on small steep hills, that really takes it out of you.
I treated myself to a good udon lunch to keep my energy up.
Thankfully it wasn’t all mountains and I rode by the pacific coast again, where the waves were definitely up.
I saw a fair few temples throughout the day, some indistinguishable from many of the others. There was one with a beautiful carpet of moss throughout and another with a five storey pagoda.
That night I was a little worried about camping outside. I knew a typhoon was coming but hadn’t found the internet to see exactly when it would hit.
So when I got to Temple 35 and found they had a suyado, a place where pilgrims could stay for free, I decided to take advantage. I was exhausted as well so it worked out.
In the end I think I was the only one up at the temple for the night, I’d expected there to be more people and it was a little creepy.
Day 13 – 5 October
I woke feeling somewhat refreshed and headed off for Temple 36. I’d arranged to meet a friend from when I taught in Japan there. We were supposed to meet the day before but due to issues with internet connectivity we had been unable to coordinate.
Thankfully I’d managed to find some internet and we were able to meet at the temple.
As my friend had the 3G on his phone we could check the weather and it became apparent the typhoon would be hitting that evening. I thus decided to ride the 60km to the next temple and stay there.
As we’d talked, showers had been passing over periodically and it was clear the weather has taken a turn for the worse.
Setting off for Iwamotoji, the next temple, the bad weather had added an incredible beauty to the landscape. With mists hugging rocky capes that protruded into the Pacific like fingers.
I’d wanted to get to my destination as quickly as possible but couldn’t cease from stopping to enjoy the views.
Eventually this was no longer possible as the rain really kicked in in earnest. It was no longer showers but a hard steady downpour. I was quickly feeling very wet in spite of my waterproofs and I hoped my bags would hold up.
It took me longer than expected to reach the temple and it was almost dark when I arrived. At the office I asked for somewhere to stay and the lady said they had rooms for 5000 yen or as she looked at the sorry state I was in, there was the garage for free.
I asked to look at the garage, it was quite a way away in the rain so I felt obligated to stay there after the effort the lady made to show me.
There was already another henro in there so I had some company.
He was doing the pilgrimage for the 14th time and had his own setup involving a trolley he pulled behind him.
In the end I was very glad to be inside that night. This time the typhoon didn’t turn aside and the rain got heavier and the wind stronger. I was really pleased to have the garage’s roof and walls even if having to nip outside to the toilet block was unpleasant. I’m not sure my tent would have held up.
Day 14 – 6 October
The next morning the storm had blown over and I knew I’d be able to continue. First I visited the temple itself which had a wonderful ceiling covered in paintings.
Then it was off to ride the 80km to the next temple on Cape Ashizuri, the western prong sticking out from Shikoku into the Pacific.
This was another lovely day of riding.
Again round on wonderful coastal roads. That were beautiful the whole day through.
At the cape, the temple there was very nice, with a pretty central pool, attractive rock features and a secluded location if anyone was looking to buy.
After the temple I headed back up the Cape and camped in a park at a nearby town.
After I pitched up I thought I was being kicked out when someone with a torch came towards me. But no, it was just another henro looking for somewhere she and her friend could camp as well.