Day Five: Kuma Kogen to Kuma Kogan

Today I’m doing a circular route, returning to the same hotel for another night. Which has the awesome benefit that I can leave a bunch of my things in the room, so my pack is super light.

I got a late start this morning, unfortunate because I had the longest and hilliest hike to date: about 20km or 12.5 miles. With several 300 meter elevation changes.

A beautiful start to the morning:

img_1726
A quintessential pilgrim moment

After an unexpectedly steep and long climb/descent, I encountered my first “osettai” or gift that people give to pilgrims. In this case, an amazing generous snack and beverage. Everything on the plate was local except the orange. img_1731

img_1736
Local ladies preparing plates for pilgrims
img_1737
Town guys hanging out at the pilgrim rest stop

A kilometer or two later and I got my second ossetai, from a younger woman who pulled her car over to the side of the road to give me candy. I wish I’d taken a picture with her.

After that … lots and lots of walking. Hills. Paths that were a bit harder to follow than in the past. And a snake!

Can you see the snake tail in the upper-center of the photo?

Eventually I arrived at Temple 45.

img_1759img_1755img_1753img_1750

Time to start the return journey. A stop for a photo with incredible cherry blossoms, chatting with a new Japanese friend, and another plate full of osettai snacks.
img_1774img_1781

img_1782-1
A second stop at the osettai stand

Last but not least … beers at the grocery store with two Japanese guys and two Italian Buddhist monks.

img_1786
Just having some beers at the grocery store with two other pilgrims and two Italian Buddhist monks
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s