The morning started well with a nice view over the ocean
There were two options for my day’s path: back over yesterday’s f@#king bridge and along the inner harbour or up the Yokonami Skyline.
Although the skyline was longer and had more ups and downs, I’ve never been a big fan of back-tracking so decided to take it. It actually looks pretty spectacular from the air.
Looking at the route on the map, there wasn’t anywhere to buy food, so I decided to hit up the hotel’s gift shop and see if there was something that would tide me over. I bought a box of citrus and honey donuts (which were quite nice and I ended up eating them over the next few days.)
Mr first stop was Temple 26, Shouryuuji, which was about thirty minutes away from my hotel.
It was here that I met two foreign couples who were walking the pilgrim path and one of the couples was from the Netherlands. We crossed paths several times over the next week and eventually became pilgrim buddies.
Like every other temple, there were a lot of steps…
The pilgrim path from the temple was difficult to locate and I luckily overheard someone else asking about it so I figured out where to go. The path itself was surprisingly rough and steep. The ground was also still very wet from yesterday’s rain.
On the map, the walking path looked like a very short section that then joined up with the main road. I’d list it in my top five of scary/difficult sections and that is why what happened afterwards annoyed me so much.
I’d purposely taken the walking path because it was a direct route that avoided backtracking to the hotel and then walking on the windy road for about 3kms.I saw one of the couples ahead of me before the path got really rough and they went the wrong way which climbed up the mountain further instead of heading out to the road.
When I finally made it onto the main road, bathed in sweat and panting, I was super glad. I did hesitate slightly which way to go, but after checking the map again, turned left and headed down the hill. For some reason, I thought that was the right way. They were doing roadworks and one lane of the road was closed and there was a whole road crew on the road who I greeted and they made sure I was safe as I walked down the road for about 45mins.
Then I turned a corner and I was pretty sure in the distance I could see what looked like my hotel from last night. It didn’t even click with me then – I thought that somehow the windy road was doubling back on itself and that’s why I could see it. It wasn’t until I had walked all the way down the hill and was nearly in front of my hotel again that I realised I had completely come the wrong way and that I needed to walk all the way back up the hill, past the road crew and back to where I had turned left.
It took me about an hour to walk back up the hill and several of the road crew guys laughed a bit as I walked past them again. I was so annoyed that I’d struggled up the walking path from the temple for absolutely nothing and actually cost myself a lot of time and added more distance.
When I stopped for a rest and a donut at a lookout, I saw the couple who had gone the wrong way already sitting inside a hut that was there and they looked like they had been there for a while.
Being the socially awkward person that I am, I decided to sit on one of the logs outside. I had a drink and took out one of my donuts. I was down to the last mouthful and was just sitting there about to put it in my mouth when I heard a “Wooomp!” and felt a rush of air and the donut was gone. I wasn’t really sure what had happened, but then I looked up and saw the hawk that had snatched my donut. That fucker.
The couple from the Netherlands had arrived and came over to me to ask me if a hawk had swooped down. I said, “Yes” and we had a bit of a laugh about it, so they decided to head into the hut. I then understood why there was a hut there. I decided at that point not to have any more donuts and headed off.
The road was definitely full of ups and downs, but fortunately it wasn’t a very busy because there was no footpath. It was quite scenic in parts, but more than anything, I was just glad that it wasn’t raining. I’d been lucky that my shoes and gear had dried overnight but my new blisters were hurting.
There was one section with a tunnel and just before it, I caught up to a lady that I had run into several times over the past few days. She was walking quite slowly and we talked a little before I pushed on ahead, wishing her well.
Fortunately the tunnel was short because it was very narrow. On the other side of the tunnel and a few kilometres along, there was a pilgrim rest house. I sat down and had a drink and another donut. I decided to leave a donut and a little note for the lady who I knew would be along at some time. When we’d spoken she said she was really tired and struggling because there had been nowhere to rest so I wanted to give her some encouragement. I’m hoping she found it, but I never saw her again.
A little bit further along, I came across a Dutch guy talking to a Japanese lady. There was a little bit of a communication problem, so I provided some assistance in English. He was sure that the path turned to the right, but the Japanese lady and I agreed it went left. We had the Dutch guy take a photo of us together and we talked and it turned out that we were staying in the same hotel that night. She was a very chatty lady from Osaka and we walked along together for about an hour and a half. We actually ended up going the wrong way because I decided that the Dutch guy had been right and we ended up turning around and going back (but it was of course the wrong way….) So it had definitely been a day of getting lost.
My hotel for the evening was the Susaki Prince Hotel.
I met the chatty Osaka lady again at the one washing machine the hotel had. She apologised for putting her stuff in it first, saying that the previous night she hadn’t been able to wash anything because all the pilgrims staying at her B&B had been saturated and they ran out of time to wash/dry everyone’s clothes.
We went to the convenience store together where I got some dinner and she got some beer and snacks. I laughed at her choice and she said it had been a long day. I had to agree – my feet were killing me so I just wanted to get off them.
I went back to my room and she kindly knocked on my door to let me know when she had finished with the washing machine. The washing machine was in the carpark so I had to keep my shoes on instead of changing into comfy slippers, but I got my clothes washed and settled down to rest.