Today we trekked over 5 km to the following 3 temples which mark the beginning of the 88 temple pilgrimage they are in the vicinity of where we are staying
1 Ryōzenji – Naruto Tokushima
2 Gokurakuji – Naruto Tokushima
3 Konsenji – Itano Tokushima
Temple No 1 on the pilgrimage was illuminated with the lamps, candles and the aroma of incense and the chanting of the pilgrims. People were providing the Buddha with offerings of food and money. It was amazing to see the rituals underway.
Just a little lesson in the history so that you understand the background – The 88 Temple Pilgrimage is Japan’s most famous pilgrimage route and the circuit loops around the entire island of Shikoku through 88 temples. Many of the temples are said to have been founded or restored by the monk and scholar Kūkai also known by his posthumous title Kōbō Daishi. Among his achievements it is said he created the kana syllabary. He also brought the tantric teachings of Esoteric Buddhism from China, developed it into the uniquely Japanese Shingon sect and founded Shingon’s headquarters on Mount Koya (close to Osaka)
Hiking through some beautiful mountainous countryside we met with pilgrims on the way – you see they also travel solo, small groups and large groups (bus loads) – the pilgrims are identified by the traditional henro robes as seen in the photos – the also have calligraphy and stamps added to them from the various temples.
A little on the surreal side – there was also a German village between temple 1 and 2- which had housed German POWs during WWI – apparently they made a movie about the prisoners performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – German prisoners of war, during the First World War, rendered the Symphony popular in Japan. In the prisoner-of-war camp in Tokushima prefecture the POWs performed the Ninth Symphony for the 1918 with an improvised orchestra playing instruments they had built by themselves. I did not attend the place (for the same personal reasons I did not attend the DMZ in Korea) but walked past it and was surprised by it and read the blurp on the signpost. Since then, the Ninth has become an important part of Japanese tradition as well. I saw a young guy with a T shirt promoting Beethoven’s ninth and although I cannot recall the wording it was lost in translation.
On T shirts – the choice for today was the angry lady wearing a gold glitter on black – You know when you cross me – bad husband – sighted at Temple 1 without hubby.
We had to get back to our hotel in time to follow the grand final and what a match. It was amazing and exhilarating and totally elating to know that the cats could win so triumphantly.
We relaxed and ate sushi, tempura prawns and octopus balls – a few beers and gin and tonics – brilliant.
Among the many added extras, the hotel in which we are staying has a defibrillator in the lobby – for those in need or with cardiac issues – I thought Greg was going to have to rush down and bring it to the room with the amazing win by CATS today – defib not required though as the pace was even throughout the match – hearts in tact and very happy :) Meow – Purr Purr Purr