Monday, October 2, 2017

Tōnohama - Kagami

Shikoku 88 Temples Pilgrimage, day 12.
Temples: None.
Distance: 31.1km (339.8km), time spent: 9:57.
Weather: Heavy rain.

There is no escaping rain when you walk the Shikoku 88 Temples Pilgrimage, as it is with most long distance walks spanning over such a long time, Shikoku is also prone to be hit by typhoons coming in from the ocean. Today was such a day, with heavy rain and wind, although I am not sure if it was a typhoon or not. I woke up with the sound of heavy rain outside, but all it did was making me happy that I had got to climb up to Kōnomineji and the observation tower above in good weather yesterday. I go to Kagami today, which may prove to be a little bit too far in this weather though. Having no temples to visit this day will however leave me with more time to walk.

A henro mural on a wall.

Setting forth in the rain, I do not envy those that has to climb up to Kōnomineji now. All the mountains above me are besieged and enshrouded by dark clouds full of rain. Of course, it is wet down here as well. The rocky shoreline that I walk along is the perfect shape for creating small puddles on top of all the rocks. At Cape Ōyama-misaki there is a wonderful little shrine, Jizōdo, 'hidden' underneath a cliff. The entrance to the shrine is behind a building and some large pillars, and also consists of a small cave. Since it is raining, the cave is filled with the sound of dripping water.

The Jizōdo shrine at Cape Ōyama-misaki.

Inside the cave at Jizōdo.

Along this shore, separating the ocean and the land is a long engineered wall, which the henromichi follows on the 'dry' side. Almost all the way to the town of Aki, past the Ōyama michi-no-eki where there is a nice little park on a tiny island outside reached by a bridge, familiar faces sitting outside the road station.

Walking next to the shoreline towards Aki.

I have had a short break from the rain upon nearing Aki, where I of all things had put in my mind to visit the Nora Field Clock. Leaving the trail and heading towards the clock, the rain returns, even heavier than before. Burdened by the weight of the raindrops, I stand looking at the clock, built in 1887. No cellular phones or smartphones in that time, nor was it normal to have a wristwatch, the farmers out in the fields shared a large common clock to know the time. It is quite the nice one too.

Dark clouds resides over the mountain and Aki river.

Naomi and I are walking past each other all the time, having ended upon a different rhythm of when to take a break, both shaking our heads at the impact of the weather. The sandy beach outside Geisei Village is a dark and ominous version of a beach, gloomy beneath the rain, not a person in sight. A Lawson Station is a temporary perfect escape for lunch, in this weather I see no reason not to indulge my self a little. Sweet bread with slices of bacon on, a riceball, a small piece of chicken katsu, a hot coffe, a coke and a caramel pudding. Not very healthy though.

Nora Field Clock.

There is a zenkonyado next to the beach, Hagimori, locked up, has to call a phonenumber to get access to it. A nursing home for the elderly has made a small resting space for henros, with free tea and coffee available, as well as small gifts, such nice hospitality. Naomi is there when I come, soon Koh arrives, wet and tired. They will be heading to Sumiyoshi-sō not far away, which appeared to be where most of the other henros I have met will be staying at, happy to be finished with their walk today. I trudge solitary on in the rain.

The beach outside Geisei, not a day to go swimming.

Outside a house in Geisei.

Even in the rain and with the clock indicating that I do not have time, if I want to be at my minshuku before five o'clock, I decide to deviate from the route and walk around the Cape Tei-misake instead. There is some sort of general rule here that you should arrive at your minshuku or ryokan, if you stay at this kind of accommodation, before 5pm. Otherwise you should call and tell them that you will be late, but I do not know how to say that in Japanese.

A brief pause from the rain going through a tunnel.

The walk around the small cape is nice however, even with the limited views of today. There is a tiny lighthouse, or more like a beacon, at the tip of the cave. I go down to the sea from the beacon, near a small shrine. From the beach, the sea looks sombre, another set of stones with a rope tied up between them are out in the water. The Shikoku-no-michi route comes down to a small fishing village, going around a tiny bay with a harbour overlooked by the village buildings, before joining the pilgrimage trail again. The rest of the walk is passed by in a wet hurry to reach the Minshuku Kagami-yado before I arrive too late. I am an half hour late when I get there.

Cape Tei-misaki.

Another pair of rocks with a rope tied between them, at Cape Tei-misaki.

The landlady is however smiling when she opens the door for me. Of course, I am wet all over and under, so the first thing she does is to start drying up my raingear (with me in them) and my backpack using several towels. Perfectly understandable, but it does feel a little bit awkward also. It is a charming little place, which resembles more like you are living in her home, rather than the usual appearance of a minshuku that appear more separate from it usually. Soon all my clothes are hanging up to dry, and after a good soak in the bath I sit down for dinner. There are only one other guest here.

Relaxing in the evening at Minshuku Kagami-yado, planning for tomorrow.

No quarter from the sky today. Tomorrow I hope to reach Kochi, which will be the largest city since Tokushima. And there will be temples too.

<- TōnohamaChikurinji ->

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