My original plan was to take today to visit as many temples around Takamatsu as I could, then use the next day to sightsee or rest. However, the weather forecast called for heavy rain all day, so I made the decision to take today off and then see temples the day after, which was supposed to have better weather.
For the first time a while, I slept in…well, slept in until about 8:30, which to me, is sleeping in. My two other roommates were up earlier and packed up their things and checked out. I took my time waking up, waited til they left, and then got up and ready myself.
I didn’t end up leaving until about 9:30am. Despite the extra sleep, I felt a bit sluggish. I made my way to Imabari Station, which was practically next door, and went into the bakery/café there. I picked out a variety of pastries and ordered some milk tea, then sat down and enjoyed. I felt happy and relaxed, having nowhere in particular to go and delicious bread in my stomach. Again, any change from the traditional rice, fish, and soup was a welcome change.
I’m not gonna lie, I like Kochi City. It’s a small city by Japanese standards, but it’s nice and there’s enough to keep a tourist entertained for a day or so without being too big or overwhelming. At the same time, it has all the conveniences that come with being in a city, which contrasts with the rather more austere rural areas that make up most of Shikoku (especially Kochi Prefecture).
Sometimes, I enjoy reading and posting on Reddit. When I found myself in Kyoto with not much to keep me occupied, I posted on the Japan Travel subreddit, asking if anyone would like to hang out or see some sights (even though I had already seen the major ones). To my surprise, one person answered and we agreed to meet up at Ginkakuji, or the Silver Pavilion (which isn’t even silver; it was meant to be coated in silver to contrast the nearby Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji, but due to wars and the original owner’s death, it was continually delayed and then dropped altogether). He mentioned that he was still feeling a little overwhelmed by all there was to see in Japan and would appreciate someone to help him out.
I decided to do some actual sightseeing today rather than just wandering around the neighbourhood my hostel is located in. For today, I decided on Uji, which is a place I had meant to see on my last trip to Japan, but ended up not having the time or energy for it. Uji is located just south of Kyoto and is known for three things: it’s high quality green tea (virtually all the Japanese kinds, including sencha and matcha), Byodoin Temple (which dates back to the Heian Era and is nearly 1000 years old), and for being a significant location in the Tale of Genji, the first known novel (and written by a woman!).
My hostel bed is not the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever slept in in my life. It’s well used and has a depression in the middle of it, and as a result, my back was not terribly happy with me today. So, although my knees fared ok, my back was giving me some pains. However, I’m at least fairly accustomed to back pain, so I did some stretches before leaving the hostel late in the morning. I took a dose of ibuprofen and let it do its work. And for the first time in a while, I left off the compression splints to see how my joints would fare without the extra support. As another traveler in my hostel told me, my muscles should not get used to the extra support; they had to work and get stronger.
It was another lazy morning. I had nothing planned for the day, so I took my time getting up and out of bed and was easily the last person in my dorm room to get going. Granted, I’m probably the only person in the room who has been to Kyoto multiple times.
While I had use of the hostel’s wifi, I decided to check up on my finances to make sure I had enough money in my bank account to get through the next few weeks. I checked on my credit card balance, as well. To my happy surprise, I accidentally overpaid my last balance owed, so it was in a negative balance. In other words, I actually had money to spend!
I took my time waking up, as I had been up late last night finding a place to stay on the mainland. I woke up on my own around 8am or so, and again, took my time getting ready and packing.
I “slept in” until about 8:30 (boy, does one’s definition of sleeping in change depending on circumstances; back home, on my days off, it was an effort to wake up before 9:30-10:00). I noticed right away that is was actually easy to get out of bed and my knees were feeling quite a bit better. I could only hope that they stayed that way.
I accidentally slept in and was woken up a little after 6am by the elderly man from yesterday for breakfast. I promptly put some clothes over my thermal base layer and hurried to the dining room where I ate another satisfying breakfast. At the end of my meal, the man gave me some packed onigiri and a can of green tea to take with me as osettai. He also wrote out a note for me in Japanese, which I unfortunately can’t read. I’ll have to ask someone to translate it for me later.
I slept well for the most part, but did wake up a few times throughout the night. When I did, I noticed quite a significant pain in my left ankle in addition to the sore spots I already had. I was not impressed.
When I woke up for breakfast, I was in pain and it took effort just to get up and walk across the room. Despite that, I changed clothes and went to the dining room for breakfast. It was cold but warmed up with a pot of tea and miso soup. Again, the food was delicious.
My name is Marianne and this is my journal about that time I decided to complete the 88 Temple Shikoku Pilgrimage. It was both the most difficult thing I've ever done and the most amazing thing I've ever done. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.