Last night was a very windy night with the clouds and mist continuously blowing and moving. Sometimes it would clear and you could see the beautiful view and see how high you were.
At 4:30 pm, there was a ceremony where they closed the shrine. We got dressed in our rain gear and went out into the blustery wind and mist. However, once we rounded the corner and climbed up to the shine you were sheltered from the wind. Truly amazing as the wind continued to blow very hard. It was an interesting ceremony with taiko drumming and prayers/chants. We got to see how the shrine is closed up for the evening. Supper was at 5 pm, which was curry rice and yes Masa, I ate it with a spoon like everyone else.
I was able to hang my wet clothes to dry. I really like the merino wool lightweight pull over as it keeps you warm when wet and dries really fast.
Lights out were at 9 pm, which is when they shut down the generator, as there is no commercial power at the top of the mountain. We stayed in a dorm room. There ended up being the two of us, a group of six (3 men and 3 women) and one other guy. We slept on tatami mats and futons. Bob became a hit when he gave everyone a Canadian flag pin.
In the morning the wind had ended. The generator was started at 5:30 am. The morning service was at 6 am where we go to be part of when the shrine was opened. We were allowed to enter the dhrine and touch the statues. I couldn’t take any pictures of the inside of the shrine. We got to see the morning sunrise around 6:10 am, in between the clouds gently moving around the mountain top.
Here is a picture of the shrine at the top of Mt Ishizuchi and a photo of me.
After breakfast, Bob decided to have a head start down as it takes him longer on the descents. I tried to get some pictures of the view from the top with the clouds moving in and out.
On my way down, I could hear a person calling out “hello”. It was Bob who had taken the chain route by mistake and was stuck. Lucky he was able to use the chains to climb back up and take the non-chain route with me. The chains are huge, but I would need allot of practice to try to maneuver and climb up or down a rock face using them.
Yuki who shared the dorm with us caught up with us and walked down with us. He was a baker and gave us some of his wonderful baked goods. On the way to the ropeway he asked our plans for the day. We said we were going to try and catch the 12:02 pm bus to Saijo City and then take train to Iyo-Mishima where we were staying in a hotel. He offered to drive us since he was going that way. We decided to take time and have a nice onsen bath (since the place on top of Mt Ishizuchi didn’t have bath facilities). It was nice to get cleaned up from our sweaty climbs the last two days.
It was so nice to be offered a ride. This is one of the magical parts of the Shikoku pilgrimage, the wonderful people you meet and offer to help.
Finally a last couple photos of the views on the way down and a group of between 50 to 100 people dressed in white and chanting and blowing the sea shell horn as they climbed Mt Ishizuchi.
They were of all ages and was impressed to see this little old lady who was part of the group.
Tomorrow we continue on with the pilgrimage and visit Temple 65.