The day started with a delicious breakfast at 6 and we asked owner for a taxi and he gave us an osettai ride to Temple 45. Had to walk up quite a bit and past many small Buddha statues just after 7. We had the place to ourselves. Beautiful old temple in mountains with natural meditation caves. We climbed a ladder to get to one. Beautiful view. Great vibes.
I had lost my reading glasses a day earlier, but found some replacements that fit my big head in the candle drawer for the Kobo Daishi Hall. Kukai provides. There was something quite special about this Temple; the quiet, the location in the mountain forest, the caves, and the fact that it was deserted except for the two of us and of course a monk, to write in my stampbook. Utterly peaceful. I could have stayed longer, but we are pilgrims and the journey and Temple 44 await.
We exited the back gate in the mountains, and walked up 200+ meters. No wonder this is called a nansho, difficult place. We decided to take the taxi ride because the return is backtracking so this way we only walk this stretch once. Great mountain forest walk through cedar and cypress and pine trees. Did not see anyone except the calligrapher until getting back to road just before 10AM.
Then a walk back on road towards Temple 44 before we veered right up a mountain and made it to a Koya viewpoint owned by friendly Syuichi Mori who is a fellow traveller and has been to Santiago and Japanese Temple above Pokhara. Nice chat. His place is available on Airbnb.
We then went down to road and turned right and at about 11k before Temple 46 arrived at Kayochan’s Osettai Rest Stop. She is a 77 year old bundle of joy offering green tea and cheesecake and fresh cherry tomatoes and a little hanging ohenro mascot. Kayochan retired in 2018, bought this little home on the 88 Temple Pilgrimage, and began offering Osettai (gifts) of drinks, snacks, and trinkits and crafts to ohenros (pilgrims). Visiting her was as beautiful as any Temple visit.
She also showed us and talked about her tapestry with a picture of Kobo Daishi and 89 Temple stamps including Kayosan.
Though we could have stayed longer, we said goodbye to Kayochan and walked up and then a tough 650 meter descent and last stretch to Temple 46. Tonight’s accommodation is Minshuku Chochinya right across from the temple and its 1,000 year old trees. Had dinner with Suzuki, Japanese girl who has severe hearing issues.
It was a long day walking 30K, but a rewarding day experiencing the peaceful forest Temple 45, and joyous Kayochan. ¥7,560