Today’s walk will be bittersweet. An easy 20 kilometers from now we will reach Ōzu, the endpoint of our springtime walk along the Henro-michi.
After a good Japanese-style breakfast, Gail and I set off from Matsu-ya, our business hotel in Unomachi. Budget-conscious Simon has foregone the expense of a hotel meal and is already on his way to his morning fast food fix at a Lawson’s convenience store.
The pilgrimage route takes us down the quiet streets of Unomachi, then Uwa. Or so we think. There is little definition, few clear boundaries and, it seems, no signage to tell us when we leave one community and enter another. But that is not unusual here on Shikoku. Streets just flow like a river from town to town, merge into rice paddies and cross forested valley floors, only to re-emerge in another community. (more…)
Today is a rest day. Free of hours-long walking. A chance to visit local sites. And to eat, of course.
Unfortunately, Ainan Town does not seem to offer much in the way of nearby sightseeing opportunities. So we hop on a bus and head east, down the coast to the larger and more promising city of Uwajima. 72 minutes later, we arrive at the train station in the heart of a much more bustling metropolis.
It’s still early morning. Castles, gardens and temples beckon. But I am immediately waylaid by the site of a Lawson convenience store. (more…)