Day 38 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Walking From Masuda To Miho Misumi



Day 38 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Walking From Masuda To Miho Misumi

The sun was shining brightly when we woke up this morning.
Jokingly, we asked one another:
“What shall we do today?
Shall we go cycling, or go to the beach to collect kelp, or go boating?”
But then the inevitable answer was:
“Oh, no, we have to walk today…”

We packed our daypacks with water, bananas, raisins and nuts, and started walking North.

Our goal was to cover about 23 kilometers of our 50 kilometer total walk to Hamada, where our next temple is located.

The shoreline continued to be beautiful, with clean beaches and clear waters.
We passed by small fishing and farming villages, saw small Shinto shrines at the water’s edge, and climbed up and down many hills.
The area felt quiet and rural, with very little tourism, if any.

Our first rest stop today was at a small gallery cafe located inside a charming cottage with a lush garden of flowers.
The owner, who spoke excellent English, was just opening the place up when we arrived.

She told us that she and her mother had seen us walking earlier, as they went on their morning walk.
She said she was thinking to talk to us, and offer us help in case we were lost.

We explained that we were not lost, just walking a pilgrimage.
We told her that people often offered us rides or help, when they saw us walking in areas where there was no reason to find tourists walking.

She told us that she was born here, and that she went for her schooling in England.
She and her mother run this charming rural cafe and gallery.
This month, they were showing the drawings and sketches of a talented artist.

They made us a delicious grilled cheese toast, soymilk lattes and a good herbal tea grown in nearby Tsuwano.

She asked us if we have ever been to the town of Tsuwano.
We had not.
Our route took us along the northern shores, and Tsuwano is located inland.
She brought over a brochure of Tsuwano.
It looked like a very charming place to visit.
It has an amazing Shinto shrine, and a yearly festival in which the local people dress up like Heron birds, with feathered arms.

She told us that the Masuda river, at its origin in the mountains, is one of the cleanest rivers in Japan.
She said that they grow green Wasabi at the river’s source, that is so highly prized it is nicknamed “Green Diamonds.”

After this very pleasant break, we resumed walking for a few more hours.
We had no problem getting water, and we had brought with us bananas and peanuts.
At a small bus stop, we sat to eat our bananas and drink some water.
We sat on the small bench and rested our feet.

We saw a couple of French cyclists climbing up the steep hill that we had just finished climbing.
They had the French flag fastened at the back of their bicycles.
They were huffing and puffing as they passed us by, looking road weary with their sleeping bags on the back of their bikes.

Sitting in a rural bus stop in the middle of nowhere, we must have looked like two demented tourists to them.
The woman smiled and said hello, not sure what we were doing there.

They reminded me of the years that Jules and I used to cycle around the world.
We never camped, but we had to carry SO MUCH crap just for the bicycles.

We had to bring extra tires, inner tubes, tire repair kits, a pump, all sorts of tools to adjust the bikes, extra-wheel spokes, extra brake pads, oil spray, and biking clothes.

It was not difficult for me to see that most of my bags were full of bike gear.

In another small village, we came upon the home of an artist that made very colorful and whimsical sculptures from rubber, tires, plastic and wood.
He also used old flotation buoys, which he cut up to make his pieces.

Later in the late afternoon, we took another café break in a small house converted into a coffee shop.
We had fresh strawberry smoothies, which were delicious and so refreshing!

A family with two kids came in and sat by us.
They asked us many questions and made recommendations of places we must visit when we were in Izumo.

They told us that a famous Japanese singer was born in the Ryokan in Izumo where we had booked our stay.

Back in Masuda, it was nearly sunset.
We went to a small mall and bought a couple of items that we needed to help send another box of our stuff to be held for us in our hotel in Hiroshima, at the end of our trip.

We keep on getting gifts from the places we stay at, and we also wanted to cut back on what we are carrying in our backpacks.

The days have been so hot, that I have been walking in a beach sun-shirt all day every day.
It is too hot to wear anything else, and I have three beach sun-shirts that I alternate wearing.

When we returned to our hotel, we arranged with the front desk lady for shipment of the box of our stuff to Hiroshima.
She looked in their storage room and found the perfect size box, gave me some tape to seal the box and helped us to fill out the shipping label.
The cost of shipping a medium size box to Hiroshima was only $10. What a bargain, instead of carrying so much more stuff in our backpacks!

While shipping the box, I remembered the story of a Canadian woman who was a pilgrim on the Camino De Compostela in Spain.
She had shipped back home to Canada a package of stuff she did not need to carry.
She said that a year had passed and she had not yet received her package.
She doubted she ever would.
I have much more trust in the Japanese and their efficient systems, to think that anything like that might happen to our box.

After taking showers, we went out to do our laundry.
We ate a late dinner in a Nepalese restaurant, and chatted with the family who runs it.
They have a three year old boy who speaks Japanese, Nepalese and Hindi.
The mother rolled her eyes and said that she doesn’t understand him when he speaks Japanese.

With laughter and love,
Tali

Daily Stats:
Steps: 38,195 steps
Distance Walked: 28 Kilometers
Active Walking: 6.5 hours
Total Time: 9 hours

Total distance walked on the pilgrimage so far: 788 Kilometers

Temple Visited: None

Accommodation: Railway Hotel Daiei, in Masuda.
A small hotel used mostly by cyclists, clean and comfortable, includes breakfast, with helpful staff.

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