DAY 20 香川/讚岐 涅槃的道場 -1- Kagawa Prefecture
I expected my pilgrimage to be over in the end of April before, I was utterly wrong. Shikoku Henro was much harder than my expectation, now it was May, I even had not been Kagawa Prefecture in this morning on May 1. Anyway, it is time to contact with our friend to book the flight back Taiwan for me, I started to think about bring my bicycle EDWIN back with me~ In fact, I would love to sell it out in Japan, but I changed my mind after we experienced so many challenges together now.
Crossed Niihama City (新居濱市), our journey came to the last temple in Ehime Prefecture. This was Shikoku-Chuo City (四國中央市), seemed be a industry district, the vehicle was heaps in Route 11, including of carts and trucks. You have to notice when you are moving or turning in the main road.
My bike had some troubles today, after nearly 3 weeks cycling in rude way, the screw of Edwin's rear carriers was not so tightly. Mr Nakagawa tried to fix it in his tool, but it was not really successful, the screw of rear carriers was tight, it happened another problem, I could not change the speed... It was so sad I overcame a long uphill via 3 speeds, I still had to keep going toward a bike shop for fixing again, finally resolved this matter!
You won't feel Shankaku-ji (#65 三角寺) in H352 hill is pretty tall to reach, but this was a rough one to reach for me again. We could not ride the bike until H 200 m on vehicle way, it was a nightmare to push the bikes in this heat! (My friend said that it was also horrible to chose the walking path toward Shankaku-ji (#65).) Cycling pilgrims only can chose the vehicle way, when we climbed this hill, I saw a raw of factories along with the coast, the chimney could be seen smoking in the distance, Mr Nakagawa told me there was the most famous Paper Manufacturing District in Shikoku-Chuo City, and somebody can consider visiting the museum of paper manufacturing where was next door to station.
We walked so slow, but we never gave up, finally we arrived at Shankaku-ji (#65 三角寺) one hour later. How do I express our effort was totally worthy? Their Main Gate is my favourite one! Not just because of the bell, I love the writing, those words is a kind of art, I admired that words about "Shikoku The Sixty-fifth Temple Shankaku-ji" in Kanji... On other hand, in Traditional Chinese word, Shankaku-ji is one of my favorite temples without doubt.
We took a rest in Road House (Mich-no-eki) Toyohama, the prefecture border of Ehime & Kagawa, I can stand the prefecture where my Korean friend Min lived now, it costed me 20 days!
Unpen-ji (#66 雲邊寺) , altitude is 927 m, the highest temple in Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage. Even if Unpen-ji is belonged to the place of Nirvana (涅槃的道場), it is not located on Kagawa Prefecture. However, the top of Mt Unpen-ji is in Miyoshi City (三好市) of Tokushima Prefecture.
Good news for us, we didn't need to cycle in the mountains to Unpen-ji (#66) unless we really wanna do. There is a Ropeway connecting with the top and bottom of Unpen-ji. Everything would be easier when we reach the Ropeway Station in Kanonji City (觀音寺市) of Kagawa Prefecture.
The truth was cruel , the station was at altitude H 280 m, uneasy to reach as I expected. Time was limited because 16:20 would be the last Ropeway in the schedule. Something was crueler, Edwin's rear tire was flat suddenly in this moment, here were 5 KM had to go.... but we didn't have much time on our way to Station... If we missed that last Ropeway, we needed to ride this hill again tomorrow.... (NO WAY!) It inspired me, so I insisted on riding a bike with a flat tire, we still caught up the last Ropeway in time. ( I almost died on the way ......)
I felt like crying that moment, the reason was not how I was so unlucky, was cause I was moved by myself~~ How could I do it? I took a pride in myself then~ haha~
I totally forgot to worry about my own situation. When I visited Unpen-ji (#66 雲邊寺), I was very relaxing, all my mind was the temple had a proper name! UN-PEN, it means Cloud (雲) and Rim (边) in Japanese Kanji, (邊 is in Traditional Chinese Word, they are the same meaning but different writing.) This temple was surrounded by clouds, and numerous amazing statue were carved here... I shall stay Unpen-ji's Tsuyado (通夜堂) or Shukobo (宿坊) tonight! Soon I realized that it was a stupid idea, how can I leave my broken bicycle behind? And my belongings was left there as well?!
I still think I was super lucky today because I met Mr 三浦 (Sorry, I don't know his name in Japanese pronounce) who took the same Ropeway with us. Mr 三浦 was young man, he also came here for Ohenro by car. He did me a big favor! The favor I even could not describe in words... Firstly, he picked me up to a Minshuku Ohira (民宿太平) where is just behind Daiko-ji (#67 大興寺), I was so lucky that I didn't need cycle 10 KM from the Station to here. What's more, he was so professional one fixing, also had a lot of tools in his car. (He seems work in the automobile company!?)
Thanks for Mr 三浦 sincerely, I could not image what would happen without him. Gradually, I did feel that KUKAI exactly existed at my side, protecting and blessing me always. Thanks for KUKAI would like to take care of the person like me... a foreign pilgrim in overseas.
In the last, our staying in Minshuku Ohira (民宿太平) was awesome. The location was so close to the Daiko-ji (#67 大興寺). The owner ever provided a pump for saving my tires, the most important, the fare of staying is very cheap. ￥3000 for one night without meals. (Here is a pretty big dining room in the second floor, ￥6000 is with 2 meals.) Especially here is washing and drying machine for FREE! I thought it is a pretty attractive reason for cycling or walking pilgrims, that is also the best reason I wanna recommend this Minshuju Ohira.