DAY 1 德島/阿波 發心的道場 -1- Tokushima Prefecture
Thanks for couchsurfing website, I contacted with the host family (The Ishidas) who lives in Mastushige (松茂) near Tokushima City (德島市). I went to their house by airport shuttle bus (￥3900) on April 11, they picked me up and brought me to buy a new bike so efficient. (Around ￥21500, brand is EDWIN) I was incredible lucky, the host who I met Mr. Ishida has much interesting on cycling, so he gave me many advises and really helped me a lot! Thanks for the Ishida family's kindness, I had wonderful time in their house. Mrs Ishida treated a pretty nice dinner and breakfast. I sincerely felt so warm and appreciated them! Next day morning, said good-bye to two of their lovely daughters as well. I wish I will visit Tokushiima again very soon!
On April 12 morning, I held the map which Mrs Ishida printed for me and kept riding toward Ryozen-ji (#1 靈山寺), I still got lost for a while. Finally I arrived at Ryozen-ji (#1) where is approximately 10 KM far form The House of Ishida, the time was almost in noon!
"Wow! Here I am!" I ranted in my mind because I can't describe how did I feel that moment. My dream travel was late quite long time ago. The distance included my days between Australia and Taiwan, I across so much time that I stood on the starting point eventually.
No matter how glad I was, I still had to back the reality. But I didn't know what shall I do then but paced up and down the temple. Here were heaps of pilgrims at the Ryozen-ji (#1), they were in and out frequently, just left me alone and I still had no idea for my next step, I could feel a little scared but I calmed down soon, the first thing is I need to buy the Henro gears! What gear is necessary to me? I regretted that I didn't read the guide book careful enough.
I spent much time in Henro Shop at Ryozen-ji (#1), because I was afraid that I would miss something needed and I couldn't return this shop. (Actually you don't really need to worry about this matter, you will have many chances to meet Henro shop on your way. ) There is another Henro Shop "門前一番街", just in front of Ryozen-ji (#1), where sells some souvenirs and food as well. The White Vest (Hakui) only ONE-SIZE at Ryozen-ji Shop, so I came to here for smaller one. I will suggest you compare the price of items between Ryozen-ji Shop and 門前一番街 if you are available.
The difference of White Vest (Hakui) is sleeve and sleeveless. Depends on which you prefer, people usually picks sleeveless one, the price is cheaper than sleeve one ￥200 around. I choose the sleeves one because it might cover me wider! By the way, the Stole (Wagesa) in 門前一番街 is cheaper, the Stole is so colourful, you must find your favorite one. But I still back Ryozen-ji (#1) Shop for the Walking Map Book, Stamp Book (Nokyocho) and Bag (Zudabukuro).
While I shopped at Ryozen-ji Shop, 門前一番街 clerk came to find me suddenly and gave me a document... The List of Cheap/Free Lodging in Henro way! This was the one which I was eager to obtain! Thanks her so much!! I felt deeply thankful because this document did me big favor during my whole adventure.
At least I took more than one hour at Ryozen-ji (#1), finally I began to Henro!
Merely followed the Henro Symbol, it was quite easy to get the stamp at Gokura-ji (#2 極樂寺) and Konsen-ji (#3 金泉寺). I though I didn't need to worry about anything just follow the Red Arrows, I forgot the Henro Symbol is the big difference between the Walking Path and Vehicle Way. Unfortunately, Dainichi-ji (#4 大日寺) is located at the hill, the Symbol of walking path led me to a muddy road where was definitely not suitable for cycling.
Maybe I could leave my bicycle in there, hope Dainichi-ji (#4) was not so far that I can go on foot, but it was not so successful as my imaging. There was a little far, the Stamp Office (納經所) time only one hour left (The opening time is 0700 to 1700 daily.), I also have no idea on the distance from Dainichi-ji (#4) to my place of bike and it was going to rain, therefore I returned the way to take my bike partner, riding to the main road then I found Jizo-ji (#5 地藏寺) pretty easy! Certainly I blamed on myself like an idiot, why didn't ride the Vehicle Way first?!
After getting the stamp of Jizo-ji (#5), the sky was darker, I went to the Minshuku Morimotoya (森本屋) where is closed to Jizo-ji (#5) directly and decided to stay there overnight. Dainichi-ji (#4) was tomorrow mission! The rate without meal is ￥4500, a little bit of expensive to me but I seemed have no choice. However, the quality of Morimotoya is awesome if comparing the paid lodging afterward. When I back Taiwan, I read Odili's Book again (Miss Odili Lee's book is the first travel note about Shikoku Henro Pilgrimage in Chinese word), she and her friend also ever stayed this Minshuku in 2009! Odili wrote a postive review to their meals by the way. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy their meals, my first dinner in Henro Journey which was bought from Lawson . Some of OhenroSan might have a try on Morimotoya!
Only 19 KM I done today, but I already felt exhausted! (I was so weak~