Shikoku: Temple Countdown Blues

Our second day as Henro pilgrims sees us visit four more temples. By now the ritual is established. The temples start to have a certain similarity. Main shrine directly in line with the entrance gateway. Kōbō Daishi shrine off to one side. Stamp office somewhere nearby.

In between the temples sites, we meander through busy streets, often only one lane wide. Communities are linear affairs. Modest one- and two-story buildings tightly crowd the street edges.

Technically, it's a gentle 19-kilometer day crossing mostly flat land. But it's hot and humid. Our cotton vests are soaking wet. The sedge hats have already been relegated to accessories hung off of our packs. The hats are ingenious, good for keeping the sun off our faces while the headband suspension system allows air to circulate above our heads. The problem is that the wood headband does not fit well with the head. And there are no adjustments.

In the end, our day's progress leaves us quite tired. Thankfully, it all ends well with a Japanese-style dinner accompanied by plenty of beer and sake.


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