Day 13 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Finally Arriving In Hiroshima

Day 13 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Finally Arriving In Hiroshima

We started walking today at 8:20am.
We had breakfast early, but staying in a business hotel means that everyone eats breakfast early.
The dining hall was full of businessmen preparing to go to work while having their breakfasts.

I observed what they ate.
Most men ate a quarter of the amount that I see people in the USA eat.
Some men ate only a salad, a cup of miso soup and Natto, fermented soybeans that are mixed with a little soy sauce and a dollop of mustard.

I decided to do the same.
If I lose more weight, walking on my bruised knee will be easier.

I decided that no matter what gifts kind people give me, I will not eat sweets and I will choose only light food.
This is of course only on the days that we have a choice.
When we stay in guesthouses that serve us Kaiseki meals, I will just eat less.

For example, this morning I ate only pickles, a miso soup, a small salad and some Natto.
I felt lighter all day, and still had the same level of energy.

I also started wearing a knee brace that I found in a pharmacy.
It is more like knee support athletic bandages, that are strapped on with velcro.
I decided to wear the brace at the end of the day, when the last kilometers feel so long and achy on my knee.

I also decided to take a short rest break, every hour or two, to rest my knee, instead of walking for four or five hours without a break.

Most of the walk today was along Route 2, the main artery into and out of Hiroshima.
We walked alongside heavy truck and car traffic, with some long stretches of road with no sidewalks and very little room to walk.

The trucks were literally blowing the hats off our heads, and I tied our Heart Sutra cloths on our faces as face masks, so we would inhale less car exhaust.

I reflected on the fact that without visiting the beautiful and ancient temples along this pilgrimage route, I might not have enjoyed this walk as much.
Going to the temples takes us to the top of mountains, to cliffs along the sea, and to places we would not have had the opportunity to see, if we simply walked the shortest distance from one point to another.

But today we had no chance of getting to the temple in Hiroshima, as the distance was too long to reach in one day’s walk.
The goal was just to get to the city.

When we took a side road, we found a lovely spot to rest for a few moments in a small park with wooden benches.
There were beautiful Tulips all around us.
A sweet old man came over to chat with us.
He told us that he had planted all the colorful tulips in the park, and that he comes to care for them daily.
We complimented him on his beautiful tulips.

It was a hot day and there were no places to eat or drink along the road.
We bought some bananas, and later some apples from a convenience store truck, that drives to remote villages where older people live who do not drive to the town.

He was selling fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, tofu, frozen items, ice cream, candy, drinks and all sorts of other things from his truck.

We made good time in walking, so when we neared Hiroshima, I suggested that we stop in a small town to get Jules a haircut.

My map showed a small barber shop on a narrow road.
There are always hair salons and barber shops in rural places in Japan.
This one was busy with customers and hair dressers who were very welcoming to us.

I was happy to take my backpack off and to rest on their sofa.
They gave us cold water and shaved Jules’s head, shampooed and massaged his scalp.

When we got ready to leave, they even gave him a gift of a men’s grooming kit, which included scissors and a little grooming comb and brushes, along with a carrying case.
It was so kind of them to treat him so well and give him a gift. We took some photos together as a final goodbye.

Finally in Hiroshima, we made our way to the Starbucks.
It was the first café we found open on the road for days. Most old-style cafés are out of business.
We enjoyed the modern mall atmosphere, the many shoppers looking around and comparing nice bags or clothing in the lovely, fragrant shops.

We checked into our hotel, dropped our backpacks and went in search of a good place to try some of Hiroshima’s famous food specialities.

Hiroshima is well known for its oysters.
They are served grilled, steamed, pan fried, deep fried, raw, in Okonomiyaki and smoked with olive oil.

We found a small, recommended restaurant and had a fantastic dinner.
Beside the oysters, which we tried in many ways, we ate a burdock salad and a dish of local grilled mushrooms, which was absolutely heavenly.
We also loved the sautéed spinach with Uni and their fresh squeezed, no sugar added lemon juice.

Our hotel has fabulous rooftop hot baths.
The outdoor bath has no ceiling, so I soaked naked looking at the full moon.
I am so grateful to have hot springs or hot baths to soak in after long days of walking, even though it seems that the fatigue in my legs and feet does not really go away, even after a long soak daily.

I must get stronger soon…
At least tomorrow we have half a day off, after walking to the temple in the hills surrounding Hiroshima.

With love and blessings,

Daily Stats:
Steps: 35,482 steps
Distance Walked: 26 Kilometers
Active Walking: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours

Total distance walked on the pilgrimage so far: 274 Kilometers

Temples Visited: none

Accommodation: Candeo Hotel Hiroshima.
A new hotel with great roof top indoor and outdoor hot baths, new rooms, laundry machines and a very good breakfast. This is a fast growing chain, with hotels located in many of the larger cities in Japan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: