DAY 21 香川/讚岐 涅槃的道場 -2- Kagawa Prefecture
Daiko-ji (#67 大興寺) was noted as the large camphor tree, it said that to have been planted by KUKAI, also it is a famous place for religious learning. Mr Nakagawa was always excited to see the divine tree, I thought he definitely had a lot of fun in this temple.
Next temple is not far from Daiko-ji (#67), I was excited to visit them, because we could got both stamps of Jinnein (#68 神惠院) and Kanon-ji (#69 觀音寺) at the same time. I thought it was a genius idea for combining 2 temples together, made my pilgrimage life be easier. Afterwards, we reached Motoyama-ji (#70 本山寺) quickly, the temple occupies the wide plain, the building of pagoda is tall and refined. All of 88 temples in Shikoku pilgrimage, only Motoyama-ji (#70) serviced Bato Kannon Bosatsu (馬面觀音菩薩, Horse-faced Boddhisattva), but I did not see any the statue of Bosatsu with a Horse Faced at here... Perhaps this Bosatsu was totally unlike my imagine at all.
The routine towards Iyadani-ji (#71 彌谷寺) was the most difficult challenge of that day! Here was a pretty long up-slope had to overcome, but we still couldn't insist on cycling to the end. Left our bicycles in a shelter (Food Bath?) where was just in the foot of Iyadani-ji Hill, walked in a little path way for reaching the top of hill. Here, you can chose to climb 540 stairs for getting the stamp, or pay some fare to the driver, there is a bus service that would like to bring you to the temple.
From Iyadani-ji (#71 彌谷寺) to Doryu-ji (#77 道隆寺), these 7 temples are also promoted as "7 temples pilgrimage". The distances are not so far among those 7, it is reachable via one day walking. Therefore, this is very suitable for those pilgrims, who wanna experience Shikoku Pilgrimage but they have not so much time to finish 88.
Anyway, we climbed 540 stairs to Iyadani-ji (#71). It was a rough job but it was definitely worthy to me! I saw a tea house which had been introduced by Odili Lee's book "Henro", everything as the books said, here was plenty of Japanese Poems in white papers that was full of the wall inside. I even could see parts of papers were written in different languages, like Korean, English, Dutch... and Traditional Chinese included! I would recommend every one to visit Iyadani-JI (#71), you don't have to be a pilgrim, you can find many interesting things here even you are just a traveler.
When I back the shelter (Food Bath) where we put our bicycles by walking, I saw an occidental pilgrim who was talking with Mr Nakagawa. That pilgrim was from Canada, his name was Jean, sounds like he shall be from the French Province. "Yes, I was born in there, but my English is much better than French now." He replied, "This pilgrimage makes me happy everyday, no matter how many time I got lost.. Haha~ However, I like bowing, like my white clothes and staff, I enjoy greeting in Japanese, enjoy reading the map... even though I don't understand Japanese." He continued to say," Ohenro is very difficult for me!" "But you still are able to reach Temple No. 71!" I reminded.
Jean's travel was in free style, it seems be hard to imagine for Mr Nakagawa or other Asians... Asians usually prefer taking care of details , and everything must be in schedule, especially Japanese~~ I don't like too many details either. I like unexpectedness, for me, no matter which kinds of event I met, only by accident, that always belonged to yourself, always belonged to your own story.
Before we said good-bye, Jean asked me: "You gonna finish 88 temples, how do you feel?" "So far all I felt just tired everyday, I can give you better answer after I really done." He laughed after hearing my replying, and said, "I agree with your point."
Zentsu-ji (#75 善通寺) is the widest temple I ever seen in Japan. Just like here are two fields in the temple, the Main Hall and the Daishi Hall is in the opposite field, we had to across one street, passed another temple on the midway, you will understand how wide Zentsu-ji (#75) is. KUKAI was born at here on A.D. 774, as a result, here gathering heaps of visitors, this is also a main attraction in Kagawa Prefecture. By the way, here is a prefect place that you can buy some postcards or other henro souvenirs in Zentsu-ji (#75).
It took some time to book the accommodation based on the Japan golden week, but we still found a nice one near Zentsu-ji (#75). Mr Nakagawa told me, we had to eat Udon as our supper tonight, because Sanuki Udon (讚岐烏龍) is the most famous food in Kagawa. Sanuki is Kagawa's name in the past, yes, Sanuki Udon Shop is also opened in Taiwan, but the price is definitely much cheaper than Taiwan. Afterward, Sanuki Udon would always be surrounded my Henro trip... even longer!