JAPAN DAY 53
TEMPLE 88 11km
Total kms walked in Japan 1167
Accumulative kms walked 4820
It is said " a thousand miles must begin with single step" Lao Tzu. Well today we finished walking The 88 Temples Pilgrimage over 1100km. This pilgrimage really and signifies the start of our new life. Although we left Australia in November and walked over 1400km in New Zealand, this pilgrimage is the one that sparked the imagination and the thinking that has set course for the rest of our lives.
There is always mixed emotions when finishing a long distance hike, there is the euphoria of completing such a mammoth task, a sadness that the journey is over, an uncertainty of what is next. So with all of these emotions swirling around in my head, I have taken a moment to stop and breath and reflect. And I remembered a definition of a Henro I read in the Pilgrims Community Centre. " A Henro is by definition someone dedicated to each step in the ceaseless practice of being present, what will come will come, what will go will go, what will occur will occur. Accept and move on. So in this vain I say goodbye Japan, thank you for all the gifts you have given me, I am a better, stronger person for making your acquaintance. With eyes filled with wisdom gleaned from this journey I look forward to what's next.
At the end of the Camino I urged everyone reading the blog to take time out to discover what was important to them in life. At the end of this journey I ask you to Be Brave, have the courage to pursue your dreams, Live Large and most importantly have fun.
JAPAN DAY 52
Temples 85,86,87. 33km
Total kms walked in Japan 1156. Accumulative kms walked 4809
Tonight we are camping in the car park of the Pilgrims Community Centre. Perfectly position to assault temple 88 first thing in the morning. The mood in camp tonight is reflective, with both of us reflecting on the last seven weeks and the realisation that tomorrow we complete this adventure, an adventure that has been 4 years in the making.
Finishing a trail is a real roller coaster of emotions but I must admit tonight I am at peace with this trail and ready to move forward. Japan has not been easy we have had some shitty days add to that the tension between The Spunky Rooster, it’s been a challenge. However through the whole journey we have kept our resolve to stay true to the trail and pray at each of the temples. Sometimes that has meant standing in front of the temple with legs shaking from fatigue, some days it has meant sitting to recite the mantras and on a few occasions it has meant laying down in temple grounds and recovering before even attempting the ritual. The ritual instilling in both of us a discipline of kind. I have grown stronger with physically and mentally and have at times been surprised and what has emotionally come to the surface. (See my blog on I have a confession to make). Tomorrow we will assault the mountain up to temple 88 and pray to Kobo Daishi one last time, then bid him farewell.
The pilgrimage is over 1000 years old and whilst climbing the old stone pathways over the mountains or entering one of the ancient temples you can feel the history, you can here the voices of past hero's encouraging you forward. 160,000 people a year undertake the pilgrimage but walkers only account for 1%. After tomorrow I will be proud to say I am one of them. With that I bid you goodnight.
HIGHLIGHT: Meeting some fellow adventurers.
LOWLIGHT: It looks like it will rain all night
Grateful for being at the end of this pilgrimage, I am tired and I am looking forward to a break from walking. Grateful that The Spunky Rooster and I are still together after49 days together 24/7 and some little tensions along the way. Grateful to God/Universe/ Budda/ Kobo Daishi for all the experience this trail has entailed.
JAPAN DAY 51
Temples 83,84 26km
Total kms walked in Japan 1123 Accumulative kms walked 4776
Today I got thinking about how most people live their life me included, we live wrapped up in a lot of irrational fears. Fears about not having money, not being liked, not being good enough, and the list goes on,, but in reality we all have everything we need to be happy inside as from the day we were . Which got me thinking about the movie The Wizard of Oz, each of the characters goes on a pilgrimage to find something they believe they lack, the Tin man is in search of a heart, the lion in search of courage,the straw man in search of a brain and Dorothy in search of a way to get back home.They walk all the way to Oz for a fake wizard to tell " You already have in you what you need to do great things, you just need to believe in you" . Maybe that is why pilgrimages are becoming more popular people are walking to find something inside of themselves. I certainly know that after our 2013 pilgrimage threw Spain something fundamentally had changed in our thinking. During our time on this pilgrimage I have felt a fundamental shift in my thinking. I have become more aware of my self talk, and more aware of the "predjuses" I unconsciously bring into my day to day life.
Grateful today for everything, today was a good day. Grateful for relaxing lunches, even sitting on a the side of a busy road, our lunches seem to be relaxed and calm. Grateful for my daughter Icant believe how wonderful she is. (I know biased mother)
JAPAN DAY 50
Temples 79,80,81,82. 24km
Total kms walked in Japan 1097 Accumalive kms walked 4750
A big day of ups and downs both physically and emotionally.It seems like yesterday that we still had a load of temples to visit and now suddenly there are only 6 more temples to visit. That means only 3 days left on the trail. So today there was a lot of discussion around the pilgrimage. Question where raised about what did we each get out of the pilgrimage? Lesson learnt? Most enjoyable thing? Best story etc. We both agreed that the biggest lesson we take away from the pilgrimage is the lesson of making the effort to turn up. Woody Alan made a statement during an interview about how to be successful and he said " 80% of life is just showing up". The Rooster and I aren't your typical outdoorsy type, we are both over weight and TV was our favourite entertainment before we started walking. So why are we out in the wilderness walking....we wanted to life a bigger life, we wanted more than an existence. So we decided to just take a chance, to show up and hope that the rest will fall into place. Do have enough money to make this work??? probably not. But we are determined to make it work. I have lots of acquaintances who have said they wished they could do what we are doing...... they obviously don't want it enough...there are no excuses to be doing exactly what you want.
Today I am grateful for contemplation time. I have said it before one of the greatest gifts on trail is time, time to just think or time to turn of walking for hours on end gives you this luxury. A luxury most people today just don’t have. I am grateful for
JAPAN DAY 49
Temples 76,77,78 18km
Total kms walked in Japan 1073. Accumulative kms walked 4726
Had a really boring day today, walk was average but I did a lot of thinking about Karma. Karma refers to action driven by intention which leads to further consequence. I am a true believer of ...what you give out comes back tenfold. If you give out love, money, good deeds you will be gifted these back in spades. Of course this is not the reason to do it, the gift is in the giving, not the receiving. However when it does come back it is joyous because it wasn't expected. Nearly 30 years ago my ex-husband and I join an organisation called Youth For Understanding, its like a rotary exchange program. WE open our home and our our hearts to teenagers wishing to experience Australia for a period of 6 or 12 months. During our time with this organisation we met a variety of delightful young adults, one of them being a shy , dorky 16 year old boy from Japan , Yoshi Nunomura. I have been lucky enough to reconnect with him and his family in Japan and it has truly been delightful. Without his help and hospitality Japan would have been a very different experience.
Today I am grateful for family, not just those people we share blood with but those that we can rely on share laughter and tears. I am fortunate enough to have the best family in the world. I am grateful for
JAPAN DAY 48
Temple 68,69, 70,71,72,73,74, 75 33km
Total kms walked in Japan 1055
Accumulative total of kms walk 4708
Due to late arrival. Yesterday we had to still visit temple 68 & 69. Which equated to us having to walk 25km and visit 8 temples a big ask. When you think each temple takes at least 30 minutes to complete the prayer but we thought it was doable as no climbs indicated in the book except temple 71 there was a small climb elevation 200m.
Well that was 200m to the gate then another 200 m up to the actual main hall. Still made it to temple 74 in time, suppose to stay at a zenkardo of temple grounds but when we went to get the key only 1 sex. Thank god for booking.com got accomodation 3.7 km away but right next to temple 76.Mi Casa su Casa great little place
JAPAN DAY 47
Temples 66 & 67 36km
Total kms walked in Japan 1022. Accumulative total of kms walk 4639
Because extra kms walked to find accomodation we had a hard choice to make. Couldn’t stay at 66 to early so next stop was at temple 68 &69 a 33km day.
Got over the mountain and took the ropeway down then followed the road signs. Well that took as way out of the way. We realise weren’t going to make the temples in time. Got into accomodation at 6.45pm having started at 7.15 with only 30 min for lunch. 11 hours of walking
Today temple 66 was actually located in the first prefecture. Which got me thinking was this deliberate because the first prefecture ( Toushima)is Spiritual Awakening and I was wondering if this is done to remind you why you started the journey. As you near the end of a goal you get excited about the achievement and I think some of us forget why we wanted to achieve the goal. So when we achieve the goal it a little empty. Take for example people always want more money, not so that can have money lying around but for what the money can give them.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that as we near the end of the pilgrimage we go back into Tokushima to remind us why we started the journey in the first place
JAPAN DAY 46
Temple 65. 22km
Total kms walked in Japan 986
Accumulative total of kms walk 4639
Tonight I have never been more grateful for a bed and what a bed it is