Sunday, April 6, 2008

Catchup post 4: Shikoku Pilgrimage Part 2 of Day 1, Saturday March 16

I divided the Shikoku weekend into four posts because otherwise it would've been a long, long, long post. I split the first day, Saturday the 16th into two parts at this point because between Temples 4 and 5 we took a wrong turn and ended up climbing a mountain instead of progressing to Temple 5 as planned. What's funny is that of all the temples on the whole island, temples 4 and 5 are the closest together, yet we followed a nature walk instead.

At this point we just thought we were on our way to Temple 5, and were so pleased to see some bamboo!

However, not pleased to see dumping in a riverbed. It was my impression that Shikoku islanders didn't really dispose of their trash properly, there was a lot of dumping in open areas along the road.

A bamboo forest! I was so excited to see this because I thought it was so cool. This is the Japan wilderness you see in movies.

I was very impressed, and wanted to attempt to climb them, but I didn't know how to even start it.

You'd think we were climbing to the moon if you saw how many stairs there were on the mountainside. It wasn't long after this that we, a group of determined and intelligent college students, realized that old people and busses couldn't take this road, so that probably meant there wasn't a temple at the top, just guessing. Though, if there was, it would've been amazing. Because I definitely saw the pilgrimage to be more like this instead of 90% asphalt roads.

But alas, we consulted my maps and compass and realized that we were heading in the wrong cardinal direction to be going toward temple 5 from temple 4. So we turned around and headed back through the bamboo forest.

I don't think there is a way to convey how impressive the forest was.

Finally! Temple 5! We got there just as it was closing, around 5 p.m. actually, and didn't stay long. This is the view from a top the stairs. Temple 5 is known as Jizoji temple, the temple of Earth-Bearer. It was beautiful, yet deserted.

I was struck by how the color of his sweatshirt and the color of the wooden hut were almost exactly the same. I didn't mean to scare him.

I really should be hired as this politician's campaign propagandaist. Isn't this a powerful, yet homey photo? 

More run-down things to take pictures of. Why is derelictness so photogenic?

Hehe, sneaky politician.... hiding behind his fan.
Oftentimes we would walk and walk and walk, but we wouldn't see people for a log time. I like the thoughts this image conjures, at least for me. I think about how there are people, still surviving and thriving and enjoying other people, even amongst the consumerism left over from the 80's.

A traditional roof of a house.

This is a statue of Kobo-Dashi, the founder of Japanese Buddhism. He is the man in whose footsteps we are following when we walk between temples.

Temple 6, Anrakuji Temple, the temple of everlasting Joy. It was officially closed by the time we got there, but it was still pretty.

What a peaceful place it was.

As we hoofed it to Temple 7 sunset creeped in. We were supposed to make it to Temple 9 and then to our hotel by sunset. Needless to say we didn't make it that far. We got to Temple 7 and it was very dark out. The nice monks at Temple 7 helped us call for a taxi to our hotel.

Daikon, Japanese radishes.

No comments: