DAY 4 德島/阿波 發心的道場 -4- Tokushima Prefecture
This morning we left Kamiyama Town (神山町) on 6 a.m., here was surrounding by cloud and fog, it inspired my spirit. On the way to Tokushima City, the village looked so old, some elementary schools seemed close very long time, I couldn't see any little children's laughing in those mountain villages. Nevertheless, the senior people always greeted us very energetic, I was afraid that only Ohenro San visit here usually.
The outflow of younger in countryside is pretty complicated problem in the world. It not only happens in Japan, but also in Taiwan. I could feel deeply because I just was a junior High teacher in remote area before. Actually it's like a rule or destiny in the development of civilization, but I was still sad when I saw some village is dying.
I was unaware of many social issues if I always stayed in the city. City is always like a net which is covered my eyes easily. Here are many problems which happened in the hidden corners in the world. We can't see it and it doesn't mean it never happened!
That is one good point of travelling. You could cross the net at least, and see different places and people as well. I think t travelling can help people become a more considerable one, of course including Ohenro pilgrimage.
Yesterday and today we rode along with river valley (Akui River), and my mind was quite different between ascent and descent. Now it was like riding in the heaven because it was downhill now. I was eager to ride this downhill forever, but it just was a short dream. About 7:40 p.m. we arrived at Dainichi-ji (#13 大日寺), it has the same temple name as Temple 4. Dainichi-ji (#13) is the second Dainichi-ji in Tokushima Prefecture. But Dainichi-ji (#13) consecrates to Juichimen Kannon Bosatsu / The God with 11 faces (十一面觀音菩薩), and Dainichi-ji (#4 大日寺) is Dainichi Nyorai / The Sun of God (大日如來).
Dainichi-ji (#13) is located at a busy main road. The road isn't wide but the vehicle is very rush so you need to be careful. I will suggest you park your bicycle in the temple area. Cycling Ohenro San never worry about their parking fee by the way.
We were almost in Tokushima City while we went ahead Joraku-ji (#14 常樂寺), the terrain here is different story to yesterday. I felt so easy to arrive at Kokubun-ji (#15 國分寺), Kanon-ji (#16 觀音寺) and Ido-ji (#17 井戶寺) by cycling. Here is one famous Japanese Garden (阿波國分寺庭園) at Kokubun-ji (#15), Mr Nakagawa invited me to visit the Garden with him (Ticket ￥300 per person). As far as my concerned, the rocks look very majestically impressive, and the sunshine and blue sky made also this landscape more beautiful.
Afternoon, we went toward Komatsushima City (小松島市). Ozan-ji (#18 恩山寺) is at the little hill, we left bikes in the parking lot and walked to the main gate. Ozan-ji (#18) has a quite noted story: In long time ago, when KUKAI was training here, his mother came to visit him but was rejected by temple staff. So she waited for 17 days in the outside of temple then saw his son in the end.
Before I left Ozan-ji (#18), a driving Ohenro San gave me a drink as Osettai. I was pretty glad because this is my first time to get Osettai, afterwards I gave her a Penghu Postcard as a return.
This night Mr Nakagawa booked the Minshoku Funa-no-sato (鮒之里}, where is close to Tatsue-ji (#19 立江寺). Minshuku is always the same style, the owner urged me to take bath as long as I checked -in, well, I still needed time to put my belongings and take my clothes!
However, I like this night in Funa-no-sato. The tree is full of flowers in their yard, the atmosphere is so nice as well! Meeting a Hong Kong friend miss Wing was my best pleasure tonight. She can speak Japanese and Chinese Mandarin both well, not most of HK people can speak Mandarin well by the way, I envy her is able to communicate with local Shikoku people, it must be fantastic!
Actually I was very tired then, and tomorrow Mr Nakagawa asked me wake up very early. Nevertheless, Wing and me still chatted on our henro experiences in high spirits. Wing still was a walking pilgrim when I knew her. Her Henro trip was nearly one week, her legs and knees was very unforgettable already. Few days ago, she walked the path to Shosan-ji (#12) and spent almost one day, the weather was heavy rain also has to carry the backpack which is over than 10 KG, she added. I can not image how hard it was unless I do experience by myself.
Wing's temporary henro partner- Mr Yagi, they met on the way to Shosan-ji (#12), who had worked in France and United States, so both of them I can communicate with them easier! I tonight tonight is unforgettable to me because this was only one day when I can speak so many words during my 24 days henro travelling. (For Wing, she complained that she has no chance to speak Cantonese!) Before we said good-bye, we exchanged our contact information. Kept in touch and cheered up each other on the Henro way. She also built one website after she finished her pilgrimage : "2015 遍路皇后...緣", but it wrote in traditional Chinese word.
What is also worthy to mention, the Minshuku owner was willing to explain the map and route to the next temple, he can heal your blisters as extra service. According to Wing's experience, the owner has awesome skill. I'd like to recommend the staying in Funa-no-sato if you pass Tatsue-ji (#19). Moreover, the owner would love to pick you up in the entrance of mountain to Kakurin-ji (#20 鶴林寺) by car, so that you can decrease 10 KM walking in the next day.