2019-04-06: Day 23 – Temples 60 & 61

After taking more medicine for my cold and sinuses, it helped me to sleep well last night for an early rise for the big climb.

It was a beautiful day for walking and climbing. However, I didn’t take many pictures. At the bottom of Temple 60, before the big climb is a nice rest area. They put in new washrooms and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. A nice Japanese man, who had driven to the rest stop, gave me some nice dark chocolates as osettai. He then explained about breathing exercises I could do (I think) and I practiced the moves with him. He seemed to appreciate that I was following along, even though I didn’t understand what he was saying in Japanese.

Here are a couple pictures of the rest stop with the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

I then started the grueling climb up the final 2.2 km. It seemed to be the longest 2.2 km I have had to walk. At one point I ran into this older lady and man. She was struggling to climb the big steps. When I passed them I said “gambadette” which is do your best in Japanese. When I reached Temple 60, there was a mountain hiking group from a US tour company, which I chatted with.

Here are a couple photos of Temple 60.

They had a nice garden area with a fish pond.

Just as I was about to leave, the older Japanese couple arrived. I bowed to them and gave them each one of my ohenro badges as osettai. I congratulated them on making it.

The hike down to Temple 61 was longer than I expected.

When I arrived the stamp office building has been torn down and a temporary building in it’s place. It is a big modern building with a large Buddha inside. I like to just go in and sit but the stairway was blocked. Just as I decided to leave, I noticed people going up steps on the other side. So I followed and it was open after all. So I got to sit inside and admire the beauty of the Buddha and relax my sore muscles and feet.

Here are a couple pictures of the cherry blossoms.

They have now constructed a temple 62 office in the parking lot of Temple 61. This is where you are supposed to get your book stamped I guess now. Yesterday I stopped in at Temple 62 and paid 600 yen instead of the normal 300 yen.

The new Route Guide book shows the temple 62 office in temple 61 parking lot. I guess this is where you are supposed to get the stamp now, but it was too late for me.

On the way to Temple 61, while walking on the hot pavement, I thought there was a stick on the road. However, when I got closer, the hitting of my walking stick made the stick become alive and it was a big brown snake that was sunning itself on the warm pavement. It quickly slid into the grass after I was stardled. I was glad he decided to leave before I got too close. It is the first snake I have seen this time and I hope it is the last. I guess it is good to pound ones walking stick, so snakes can make an exit.

After taking the train I checked into the hotel. At the station I met a guy from Taiwan, who could speak English. He help me when we had to change trains. He said he was Japanese, but now living in Taiwan. He could speak English, Japanese and Chinese. I was surprised when I saw him using the English route guide.

A very good day for walking. I will head off to the onsen nearby to soak my tired muscles and then to bed early as I am exhausted.