Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Temple 41 (Ryukoji), Temple 42 (Butsumokuji) & Temple 43 (Meisekiji)

The theme for the day was getting lost on the pilgrimage.

First, let me start, on how the start of the day went. We were up early to catch the 6:04 am train to Muden. Our plan was to make sure we made it to Uchiko by 4 pm, in time to check into the Takahashi Residence, which is an antique Japanese house, connected with the Takahashi Museum.

Here are some photos of a collection of ohenro statues at Temple 41 and a picture of the inside of the train, where it was a special train honouring the train museum which had cases with different models of Japanese trains.

It was cloudy all day, which made it good for walking. There were some low clouds, which we thought might turn to rain, but never happened.

We walked by some beautiful colorful fields and was amazed with the flowers. Lots of morning glories and this one pink flowering plant, growing by itself along side the road wild.

Just as we reached Temple 41, there was this huge bonsai tree with a huge branch from the tree on the right side all the way to the entranceway. They were training it to go over the entrance. See if you can see where it starts.

Here are some photos of Temple 41.

There were statues of the seven lucky gods or seven gods of fortune that I like.

Here is link that explains more about them:
On the way to Temple 42 we walked by many fields of cosmos again. They were everywhere. It reminded me of Robin Williams movie  “What Dreams May Come” where he died in a car crashed and then found himself in a field of beautiful flowers in his afterlife. The cosmos were everywhere and I wondered if I had died and was in my field of dreams.

It was interesting to see the school children on their way to school walking in formation. One student in front had a flag and when they reached the crosswalk everyone stopped. He then raised his flag and blew a whistle. Everyone raised their arm and they crossed the street.

Here are some pictures from Temple 42.

At the temples you light three incense sticks to represent the past, present and future and place it in the incense caldron.

At Temple 42, there were more statues of the seven lucky gods, which I like.

Finally, a few last photos of some statues I liked.

So far, things were going good as we headed for Temple 43 and then onto catch the train to Uchiko.

There was a mountain climb and a tunnel to go thru. Since Bob, is a bit slower going downhill, I went ahead and thought we would meet at the next rest stop. I arrived at the rest stop and waited about one hour and NO Bob. I decided to hike back up the road to the path to see if Bob had injured himself. Still NO Bob where the trail down meets the road. I thought he could only go up (right) or down (left) when he hit the road. I waved down a truck driver and asked if he saw a gaigen (foreigner) ohenro walking up the road. He said no. I hiked back up the trail thinking Bob had fallen and hurt himself calling out his name. When I reached the top and NO Bob, I thought he must have disappeared. I hiked back down, checking the side banks to make sure he hadn’t tumbled down the side of a steep bank and was unconscious. Still NO Bob. I walked down the road back to the rest stop and still NO Bob. I thought he must really be lost. I decided to send him a LINE app text message that I was going onto the Temple and would meet him at the accommodations. Just as I was about to leave I heard Bob calling my name. Yes, he had made a left turn on the road, instead of continuing on the road, which lead to another trail up the mountain. After he figured he had gone the wrong way, he decided to go back to the point where he was sure it was right. 

I told him getting lost on the pilgrimage was part of the experience, dealing with ones feelings and being able to clear ones mind to think of what to do. I got lost a few times my first time.

Since we were behind schedule we heading off to Temple 43 as fast as we could. Along the way we past a school where the children were doing a survey about ohenro. I used my English to Japanese translator app on my phone to translate my answers and try to spend some time helping them with their survey.

Well needless to say we made it to Temple 43 and made it to our accommodations by 3:30 pm by taking a limited express train to Uchiko. All ended well.

Here are some pictures of Temple 43.

Finally some final photos of some statues we saw along the walk to Temple 43.

Tomorrow will be a train and bus ride before we do the big climb to Temple 45. Tomorrow will mark the halfway point in the pilgrimage.