Ahoi! Etwas länger gedauert hatte es dann wie immer doch noch. Auf Arbeit ist derzeit viel los, sodass ich kaum zu was kam, was allerdings auch gut ist, denn so füllen sich meine Taschen wieder. Ferner steht jetzt die Entscheidung kurz bevor, ob ich hier bei WordPress auf Premium aufrüste, was 8,25$ pro Monat kosten würde. Bock habe ich keinen, aber die einzige Möglichkeit genügend Speicherplatz zu bekommen, denn meine 3Gb freier Speicher für Bilder sind sogut wie voll. Obgleich ich alle Bilder immer vor dem upload komprimiere, sodass es pro Bild nicht mehr wie etwa 200 kb sind, summiert sich der Spass. Mir war klar, dass ich während Japan irgendwann an die Grenze kommen werde. Kennt jemand vielleicht eine andere Möglichkeit?
Ansonsten hier der Beitrag. Falls jemand Anmerkungen, oder Verbesserungswünsche hat, bzw. Dinge gerne wissen wollen würde die sich nicht, oder nur angedeutet im Beitrag befinden, her damit, füge ich gerne noch hinzu. Bis zum nächsten Mal!
If you wanna start your pilgramage, one usually starts in Tokushima Pref. with Temple 1, though there is no rule from where and when to start, every temple is basically possible, but not every Temple may have the pilgrim utensils, which you might want or require. Starting with Temple No. 1 is the most practiced order. From there on, you may decide to walk the track clockwise, as I did, or anti-clockwise as many other pilgrims do. Either going directly to Temple 88 from Temple 1 coming, or finishing the first 10 Temples, before heading up to No. 88. The distance on both routes is about the same.
I came to Tokushima by Shinkansen from Tokyo. Changed into a local, head to Wakayama-City and took the Ferry to Tokushima. Up to Wakayama I payed roughly 14.000 Yen (~120 Euro) and another 2.000 Yen for the Ferry (about 16 Euro). Quite expensive, but all the buses to Tokushima were unfortunately already booked out^^.
Some days before I got a couch through couchsurfing, so that I at least didn’t have to pay for the night. Plus my host commited to drive me to the first Temple. There I bought some stuff which I would require for my pilgramage. Besides the stamp book, also a pilgrims hat, a pilgrams staff, a mantra/sutra booklet, a guidebook, with Maps and tips in english (very recomendable!!) and a stamp roll (bloody 17.000 Yen!). Roughly 30.000 Yen already spent^^. Good beginning…. In the beginning, the distance between the temples is very short, between 1 and 4 k’s, up until Temple 10. I decided to walk 20 additional Temples, which are called Bekkaku or Bangai in short. They do also have a relation to Kuukai, the monk which is said to be the founding father of the pilgramage and also an omnipresent figure all around Shikoku. Everyone knows him and his deeds. Usually it is but rare that one walks all 108 temples, although it would mean a mere detour of roughly 150 k’s on the long run (compare to approximately 1.140 kilometer for the normal 88 temples.
If you reach a temple, one should pray at the main hall (at least), before you buy the stamps for your stamp collection. The stamps are just the proof that you did your prayer at that very temple and that the headpriest, who will offer you the stamps and calligraphy, carry them over to some higher entity. I am not religious myself, but I tried to follow the costoms as much as it was possible and feasable for me. At each temple I payed 800 Yen for the respected stamps + calligraphy. 300 Yen for the stamp book, and 500 additional Yen for my Stamp roll. For the Bekkaku Temple, I had a different stamp book, which is filled out for the same price. But they do also offer one small pearl at each temple, which – combined – form to a rosary. 500 Yen for one of them, hence another 800 Yen per Bekkaku Temple. Which becomes quite expensive.
On my back, I carried – stupid as I am – 22,8 kg, which is by any means, way too much! But it was my first long distance track, hence I needed to make my own experiences and find out what works, and what not. It worked fine on plain terrain, but with my first mountain (about 400 m high, leading up to the first Bekkaku Temple), it became a tough ordeal for me. Especially because the weather was still like summer. Between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius, brutal sun, sunburnded and sweating all along. Starting date was the 16th of October by the way^^. The weather stayed like this throughout my entire time in Tokushima.
Usually I spent the nights in small shelterhuts. A waterproof roof, for pillars and some benches at the most. Enough to camp and have a quite night, given that the location is not directly on a major road (which happend sometimes^^). But the nights itself were usually quite. On my second day, Asano-san from a Henro Shop below Temple 10 recommended an Onsen about 2,5 k’s away from No. 11 where I could also stay for the night, for free!
After sweating for two days, a warm onsen was more than welcomed, so I made my way up there, and reached my destination after sunset. Henros (pilgrims), pay just 400 instead of 500 Yen Onsen entry fee, whily the stay for the night is free. Just a small Hut for three people and Tatami mats, nothing more. Woman and Men are seperated.
On the next day, I had a tough climbing part right in front of me, between No. 11 and 12. Three mountain peaks, from which, one of them, reached up to 750 m, were quite a tough ordeal. It took me eight hours to reach the temple, two more than I intended to^^. Some parts were really hard to walk on, for there slippery charakter or just because the path was narrow and with my luggage not easy to maneuver. But the hardships were worth it, No. 12 was by far the most stunning Temple uptil then. Big cedar trees and the temple itself were beautiful. Up there I met Mason, an american, who does live in Fukuoka for 6 years now.
Together we walked the mountain down and stayed at the „Henro Eki“, for the night, were I tried my new Pad for the first time. It worked very well, and was bloddy expensive. Almost 10.000 Yen (around 80 Euro). A little reluctant to pay the price, was it in the end, a well invested amount.
On my fourth day, on my way to the second Bekkaku Temple, the luggage problem became more and more a real problem for me. I made more breaks than actual progress, which – on the long run – would be devastating, not just for my money, but also for my body. Hence I decided to send some stuff to my host in Tokushima, which I wouldn’t require instantly and hopefully wouldn’t for the rest of the trip. 5,6 kg tidied out. As I walked between 2,5 and 3 k’s per hour before, did I manage to speed up to between 5 and 6 in the following days. It was a real difference and I think 16 kg, may be the upper comfortable zone. However, that night I slept in a Ryokan, because there was no Hut nearby and I lost way to much time with getting some rests^^. The Ryokan was right beside Temple 13 located and for 7.500 Yen probably the most expensive night I ever had… Anyway, two very good meals, a nice Tatami-japanese Style room, and a hot bath. Just four days of walking so far and already yearning for a hot tub^^.
As mentioned above, the next days have been much easier on me and my body. As I reached the realm of Bekkaku No. 3 I left my luggage at a Ryokan, for I had to ascend a mountain again. I felt so light and as if I would float above the grounds. It was a great feeling to walk without your backpack, but just accompanied by a Camera and your stamp book^^.
The next regular Temples would be 20 and 21, which are extremely beautiful and old fashioned, located on mountain tops (again), right inside a big and old looking forest. The Temples between 13 and 20, where around city/town areas, which means to follow Asphalt roads. Here – at least – I could be walking on forest ground, which is better for my feet, even though I was ascending mountains again. But for what would lie ahead, I should have cherished these moments, despite the hardships even more :D. In Kochi Pref. I almost always followed the road.
The last regular Temple in Tokushima is No. 23, and Bekkaku No. 15, despite the fact that No. 66 and Bekkaku No. 15 are also part of Tokushima Pref., but at least No. 66 is very close to Kagawa. Hence I will come to write about this specif one, later and not hear.
With No. 23, I reached the Ocean, had an Sento right beside to the Temple (which was located on a slope so one had a beautiful view around the town), and a conbini right beside the Sento (public bath). So everything close by =). For Bekkaku No. 4 I didn’t have to walk a detour, this one was exceptionally directly on my way, while I had to walk around 20 addiotional kilometer for the third Bekkaku Temple.
With this Temple, my time in Tokushima Prefecture came to an and, and some kilometer further ahead I reached Kocho Prefecture, of which I will tell you about the next time. Photgraphs can be seen up here, which is but a small selection of my 1.400 picture collection^^. Down below some major facts about my tour to end this article. If you happen to have any questions or suggestions on what to talk about or to put more into spotlight, don’t hesitate to tell me. Till next time!
- Temple in Tokushima: #1 bis 23, plus 66 / Bekkaku No. 1 bis 4, plus 15
- Number of days for crossing Tokushima: 9
- Walked km: 220,8 km (based on my guidebook, in average 24 km per day)
- Expenses for the Temples: 23.200 Yen (plus 29.272 Yen for initial stuff; ~ 200 Euro + 250 Euro)
- Expenses for groceries: 12.227 Yen (~ 106 Euro)
- Expenses for Public baths/Accomodation: 900 Yen/7.500 Yen (etwa 8 Euro/65 Euro)
- Loss in weight: Start with 77,8 kg –> minus 3,3 (74,5 kg)