The lovely seasonal flowers I met at fudasho (temples where amulets are collected) and roadsides during my pilgrimage from early summer to mid-summer were very beautiful and healed my tired body and soul. Flowers seem to have a mysterious power. The lotus flower bloomed in many temples as’ a symbol of enlightenment ‘in Buddhism.
While I was on a pilgrimage in Shikoku, I met expressive cats everywhere. The calm atmosphere of the cats I met at parks, fudasho and sando (an approach to the temple) made me feel at ease as I tried to hurry. Now that I think about it, it might have been a message from the Odaishi-sama to “take a rest.”
While making a pilgrimage to Shikoku, Koyasan, Kyoto and Nagoya, I enjoyed great local food and sake. These healed my exhausted body on the pilgrimage and provided me with nourishment and energy for the next day. I would like to introduce to you some of the local foods that supported my pilgrimage with the Kongo walking stick.
In return for the completion vows of the 88 Shikoku sacred sites and the Bekkaku- 20 sacred sites, I visited Okunoin Temple of Mt. Koya and Toji Temple, and visited Osu Kannon Temple in Nagoya to conclude my pilgrimage. Osu kannon Temple is the Bekkaku-honzan (special head temple) of the Chizan school of the Shingon Sect and the principal image is Sho Kannon. I have a special feeling because I used to live nearby and visit the shrine almost every week. When I looked up at the sky after praying, I was surprised to see a very big and beautiful sunset. That seemed to be celebrating the end of my journey. In the evening,I had a meal after the trip. I can enjoy nostalgic dishes and sake at “Daijin”, a long-established izakaya representing Nagoya, and “Shanghai taste”, a Chinese restaurant of Shanghai couple. The next day, I had lunch at “Tenmaya” on Monzen-machi-dori Street, tasted cold kishimen noodles and dengaku, and then went home. I entered Tokushima on May 20, and my 84 days pilgrimage to this day on August 11 was finally finished. I am deeply grateful to the many people who supported me.
I visited Toji Temple to express my gratitude for the vow made during my pilgrimage to the 20 sacred places in Shikoku. Kyoto is as hot as ever in midsummer, and the blue sky is piercing my eyes. Toji was granted to Kobo Daishi by Emperor Saga and is the head temple of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. It is also registered as a World Heritage Site. The mandala statues in the auditorium are powerful and beautiful. The temple is large and the five-storied pagoda is beautiful. The lotus in the pond in the temple precinct is in full bloom and it is shiny. After praying, I had “Toji udon” at a nearby udon restaurant. The taste of plum and Chinese yam was good for tired body.
I left Kudoyama at the foot of Mt. Koya, which is Okunoin (inner sanctuary) of the 88 sacred places of Shikoku, to make a prayer for the completion of each pilgrimage. I enterd Choishi-michi Street from the precincts of Jisonin Temple. Choishi-michi Street was one of the most beautiful and stately pilgrimage routes that Kobo Daishi has walked on since he opened Mt. Koya. On the way, I felt dizzy because of the heat, and I had to go around the cliff because a group of pit vipers were winding in the middle of the road, but I managed to climb the 22 km slope. I was deeply moved when I prayed at Okunoin surrounded by solemn air. I was healed by the ancient lotus flowers in Rengein.
It’s time to say goodbye to Shikoku. Since coming to Tokushima from Haneda on May 20, it has been a 76 day walking Henro trip until today, August 3. After visiting 88 sacred places and 20 sacred places of special status, I felt so happy. I’m going to Koyasan and Toji temple for the prayer of thanksgiving. I took an early morning ferry from Tokushima Port and saw the mountains of Shikoku leaving from the deck. Goodbye, Shikoku. Thank you, Shikoku.
I went to Ryozenji to pray for the completion of 88 sacred places. I headed to Ryozenji, the first fudasho, after I met the vow of the special reijo (sacred ground) at Otakiji. I was welcomed by sunflowers in the mountains of Awa City, where the weather was clear. I had lunch at an udon restaurant near the third temple, Konsenji. There was a autograph of Angela Aki in the store. Cold udon was especially delicious for the body that was dazed by the heat. Arriving at Ryozenji, I finally connected the circle of Fudasho. I prayed and received bracelet nenju at Nokyosho to celebrate Kechigan. I can’t believe I could walk all around Shikoku. Today’s inn is near the pier of Tokushima Port. Tomorrow I’m going to take a ferry to Koyasan Okunoin for thanksgiving. Today was my last day in Shikoku. I ate Tokushima ramen near JR Tokushima Station and saw Mt. Bizan at dusk. It had a beautiful silhouette.
That is the 20th temple of Shikoku exceptional Sacred Sites.Its principal image is Nishiteru daigongen and its founder was Gyoki. This temple is also known as the So-Oku-no-in of the 88 sacred sites in Shikoku. From Okuboji, I entered the mountains of former Shionoe-cho and bypassed Kabagawa Dam, which was under construction. I kept climbing the slope of Mt. Otaki (946 meters above sea level) until he finally reached Otakiji near the top of the mountain. I can see the mountains of Mima City, Tokushima Prefecture from the temple grounds. Along with the 88 sacred places, all the special sacred places were finally completed. Tomorrow, I’m going to Ryozenji, the first fudasho of the 88 sacred places in Shikoku.