Day 19 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – A Rainy Rest Day In Shunan city


Day 19 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – A Rainy Rest Day In Shunan city

This morning we woke up to see that all the streets, and the roofs of houses, were wet with rain.
We looked at one another and wondered…. should we walk in the rain, or should we take the bus and skip the 23 Kilometer distance scheduled for today.

Over breakfast, which included a really lovely selection of steamed seasonal vegetables, we talked about our options.

There was no temple to visit on our route today.
We were simply getting closer to the next temple, by walking to Shūnan city.

The route today was completely flat, and it went through a stretch of commercial service roads, with chain restaurants, auto body shops, car dealerships, hospitals, medical clinics, pet grooming and convenience stores.
It would NOT be a scenic walk.
We also needed a break day, and more importantly, we needed time to make more bookings and to plan our route options for the balance of the pilgrimage.

Tomorrow is a big day of hiking up a seriously steep mountain range.
My maps were showing an ascent of 3600 feet and a distance of 35-38 Kilometers, which would make for a demanding and long day of walking.

We talked about our options again and again.
My knee is doing much better, and Jules helps me by carrying my toiletries in his backpack.

We could leave the backpacks behind in our hotel in Shunan, take only an overnight bag and then retrieve our backpacks when we get to Yuda Onsen in Yamaguchi, three days later.

Finally, we felt that it would be best if we were to walk today’s 23 Kilometers in the rain.
After all, we reasoned, this is why we brought rain pants and rain coats, and are carrying umbrellas with us.

We packed everything in our backpacks in zip lock bags and dry bags, dressed in our rain pants and rain jackets and started walking.

I passed the bus stop located right by the front door of our Onsen hotel, and continued walking down the hill in the rain.
Almost immediately, the steady rain turned into a downpour.
My shoes were completely soaked, and I was imagining that the next five or six hours of walking with very wet socks would not be so much fun.

It did not take much arm twisting to convince Jules to turn around and take the bus instead.

We took the bus and then the train and arrived in Shūnan city.
It was still pouring heavily and it was too early to check into our hotel.
Luckily, there is a very large, beautifully designed Tsutaya bookstore in the Tokuyama (Shūnan) Station area.
It also has one of the largest and best designed Starbucks I have seen in Japan.

We ordered our drinks and sat in the comfy armchairs to make reservations and do more route planning.

Shunan city is very industrial at its center. I think I counted ten smoke spewing smokestacks from the window of our downtown hotel.
But the city is surrounded by beautiful nature, with forested mountains and rice fields, and small villages of farmers growing pears, sweet potatoes, mountain potatoes and more.

We were only staying in Shūnan city to be closer to the next temple we plan to visit, which is 35 Kilometers north of the city.

We looked for things to see in Shūnan City.
I found out that there is a special place we can visit northwest of Tokuyama Station, where they grow flowering Moss.
The photos looked very good, and it would be possible to get there by a local bus, before we start our walk.

In fact, it would make our route much more manageable, because we would already be on the correct mountain road, instead of needing to cross the city west to pick up that road.

Our hotel for the night was a business hotel, and the room rate included dinner and breakfast.
We never had a dinner at a Route Inn business hotel, and we thought to give it a try, and if it turned out to be inedible, we could always go and eat somewhere in town.

To our surprise, the dinner set, which included a fresh fish fillet grilled with miso sauce, was very good.
The hotel has a hot bath on the top floor and we showered and soaked and had a restful sleep.

That hotel is old, and I was thinking about why it felt sad.
Jules told me that the nature of a Business hotel in Japan is a functional place for traveling businessmen, who maybe do not love their jobs, but waste away their lives trying to make a living.
Maybe the walls hold these vibrations.

Before I went to sleep, I envisioned a loving and healing spiritual light, spread across all the rooms of the hotel.
Then the light spread over the whole city, and transformed this industrial city into a place full of light and love.

With love and blessings,
Tali

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