Day 59 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Kannon-in, Temple #32, And Daiun-in, Temple #33, And A Walk On The Tottori Sand Dunes

Day 59 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Kannon-in, Temple #32, And Daiun-in, Temple #33, And A Walk On The Tottori Sand Dunes

Today we finally arrived in Tottori city.
We have been walking towards Tottori and staying in the greater Tottori area for days now, but today we got to see the city for the first time.

We took a rest at the Starbucks café before visiting the two urban temples.
A woman who owns a café in Kurayoshi had told us that the city of Tottori has the last Starbucks café to open in Japan.

She held in one hand a mug that she had bought in the first Starbucks to open in Seattle, and in her other hand she held a commemorative Starbucks mug she got in Tottori.
“I have the first and the last!,” she said with a proud smile.

We left our backpacks in a coin locker in the Tottori station, and walked to the two temples that are located at the foot of a hill near the remains of a wall of Tottori castle.

It was a very hot day, but when we arrived at Kannon-in, Temple #32, there was a sense of calm and beauty to the grounds.
At first we entered the wrong temple, located right next to it.
But then we realized our mistake and walked next door to Kannon-in.

The front gate was designed in a distinctive Chinese-inspired architecture that is very beautiful.
It is called Ryugujo-Mon, or Dragon Palace Gate.

There are some old cherry trees that must look wonderful when blooming in the springtime.
The temple main hall overlooks a beautiful pond and a manicured garden, that is said to be 400 years old.

Kannon-in Temple was founded in 1632.
It was supported by the Ikeda clan, the lords of the Tottori Castle.

We were hot and hungry, so before visiting the next temple, we stopped for a late lunch at a small Italian cafe.
The owner made us fresh grapefruit and lime juices, salads and vegetable pastas.
It looked like a very unlikely place to get a good meal, but he actually knew how to make good food and we felt very grateful to find his small cafe.

We walked a short distance to Temple #33, Daiun-in Temple.
It was founded in the year 1650 by the Tokugawa Shogun House.

During the Edo period, Tottori had a castle built by the Ikeda clan.
The first lord was Mitsuhiro Ikeda, the great-grandson of Ieyasu Tokugawa.

The temple has a really vast main hall, with a large statue of the Buddha in the middle, and 33 life size sculptures of Kannon lining the back and the side walls. These sculptures made up a mini Chūgoku walking pilgrimage, for those who were unable to visit the 33 Temples, because of a lack of time or mobility.

I had knocked on the door of the house located in the temple grounds, and a lady opened the door.
I asked if we could see and pray in the Hondo main hall, and get our pilgrims’ book stamped.

She told me to meet her at the main hall.
She opened the doors and I stood in awe of the beauty of the old wooden statues of the Amida Buddha and Kannons.

It is temple number #33 on our pilgrimage, but we are not done yet.
We still have to visit Mani-ji temple, a special sacred additional temple located on mount Mani in Tottori.
Then we have to continue south through the mountains towards Okayama, to temple #4 and another sacred unnumbered temple before we are officially done.

We took our time at Temple #33.
We chanted the Heart Sutra, chatted with the lady who stamped our scroll and book, and bought some memorabilia to take home and to support the upkeep of the temple.

The lady told us that she was so surprised to see non Japanese people who were walking the Chūgoku pilgrimage.
She said that in all the years she has been here, she only met once a Japanese person who walked, but she was not sure if he walked the whole pilgrimage or just a section of it.

Before we left, she gave us bottles of green tea and cans of coffee to take with us.
We refused the cans of coffee, but thanked her for the green teas.
The days are getting so hot and I seem to be drinking much more as we walk in the sun.

After our visits to the temples, we intended to visit Tottori’s main attractions, the amazing sand dunes and the Tottori Sand Museum.

But the walk was long, and the Sand Museum closed at six PM.
We had no time left in the day to see both.
We decided to visit the Sand Museum tomorrow, and just to walk on the sand dunes at sunset today.

The Tottori sand dunes are a natural masterpiece of Mother Nature, formed over the last 100,000 years.
At first we walked with our shoes, but soon they were full of sand.
We took off our shoes and socks and walked barefoot in the sand.

Couples came to sit and kiss, hang gliders took lessons in gliding, groups of people walked around, a father and son flew a model plane they must’ve built themselves.
We sat in the shade, drank our tea and had some chocolate.
It was a lovely time to be on the dunes by the sea.

We were not very hungry for dinner and it was getting late.
All I wanted was to soak in the hotel’s hot springs, so we bought some food in a bakery to eat in our room.

Our hotel for the night was a nice surprise.
The Tottori Station area has mostly business hotels, and our hotel does look like a business hotel from the outside.
But it is actually a hot springs hotel, with a lovely hot spring pool with water that is a bit salty and very soothing.
The rooms are traditional Tatami Mat rooms, and are spacious with a balcony and a private toilet.

We piled up more futons for extra padding and slept like babies that night.

With love,

Daily Stats:
Steps: 26,972 steps
Distance Walked: 20 Kilometers
Active Walking: 5 hours
Total Time: 6.5 hours

Total distance walked on the pilgrimage so far: 1179.5 Kilometers

Temples Visited: Temple #32 Kannon-in Temple 観音院 in Tottori
Temple #33 Daiun-in Temple 大雲院 in Tottori

Accommodation: Taisuikaku Shitake Onsen hotel in Tottori
A Hot Springs hotel with nice Japanese style rooms, a lovely mineral hot springs bath, fast internet, and a central location near the Tottori station.
Offers meals by prior arrangement (we took only breakfast).

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