Day 13 rest day in kurume

Day 13- A Rest Day In Kurume, The Kyushu 108 Temple Pilgrimage, Japan

Initially, I did not plan for any rest days on this pilgrimage.
I must have been delusional, thinking that because the terrain is mostly flat, this would be easy.
It has been almost two weeks since we started walking, and the bottom of my feet are still throbbing by the end of each day.

I can push through the pain and discomfort, but what I really want to do is wake up late, sit in a good cafe and drink tea without looking at the watch, walking around to see the sights of Kurume City, and eating a leisurely dinner, without the need to hurry back, do laundry and bathe.

Since we finished visiting all the temples on our list that we can reach from Kurume, we gave ourselves a rest and sightseeing day.

We slept late (7:30 am) and I did not dress up in the morning. I stayed wearing my Yukata as the white shirt and black suited employee pushed the breakfast table into our room and set it up for us.

Breakfast was a “Western Style” meal.
Many hotels and guesthouses try to cater to foreigners by providing what they think every western person prefers to eat for breakfast.
We got a few slices of very thick toast, an omelet of runny eggs, a tiny salad, grapefruit juice and yogurt with jam.

When we went downstairs and gave them the room key to clean our room, we asked for tomorrow’s breakfast to be “Wa-Shoku Style,” a Japanese breakfast.
This request was met with surprise, then phone calls were made to the office for approval and then to the kitchen, and finally the answer came back: “Okay, it can be done!”

Like all high-end hotels in Japan, there was no coin laundry in the hotel.
But just five minutes away, we reached a coin laundromat.
All the machines were occupied, but we were able to speak with the attendant, who promised to do our laundry for us, the minute that one of the machines became available.
We agreed on a pickup time, and went to sit in a nearby Starbucks cafe.

We spent at least two hours sipping tea, writing and reading.
It was a very relaxed time.
It is funny for me is to see Japanese young people photograph their Starbucks coffee cups and post the photos on their instagram pages.
But for a culture with such a tiny average minimum hourly wage ($6-$8 an hour is the minimum wage,) sitting in the Starbucks and having a drink is an expensive treat that they want to share.

After we rested, we walked along the river in Kurume.
The river path stretches for many kilometers.
We saw families picnic and many kids practicing sports.
When it started to rain, we made our way to the Central Park area.
We saw kids practicing jumping over big boulders, and spent some time strolling around the small botanical garden.

The Kurume art museum was exhibiting artwork that was really fresh, with unique renditions of interesting subjects.
We really enjoyed the Kurume art museum.
I apologize that I cannot share many photos of the art, because photography inside the museum was not allowed.

When we left the museum, a friendly lady greeted us and welcomed us to Kurume.
She asked where we were from and what we were doing in Kurume, and where we were going to now.

It is endearing to me that people care and inquire about visitors to their town.
I think that Kurume doesn’t get many foreign tourists.
People visibly stare at us as we walk down the streets, as if they don’t expect to see any tourists in their city.
It is rare in Japan nowadays, which has too many tourists everywhere.

On our way to dinner, we passed by a street lined with many old temples called Teramachi.
Some of the temples were big complexes with beautiful gates and buildings.

In 1621, the Yutaka Arima clan entered Kurume from Fukuchiyama, Tana Province (Kyoto Prefecture).
They expanded Kurume Castle, and built temples at strategic points around the castle town (Teramachi, Seshita Town, Shojima) to protect it.

The Teramachi district is the largest of the eastern defense lines, and was home to 25 temples in the years 1673-1680.
Currently, 17 temples of 6 different Buddhist sects remain.

The characteristics of each sect can be seen in the architectural style of the main hall and the entrance gate.

It was getting dark as we walked through Teramachi and the golden rays of the sunset painted the old buildings in warm and dark tones, giving them an air of grand mystery.

We ate dinner at a small gourmet French-Italian restaurant run by a husband and wife.
Every dish that we ate was delicious, and we chose a selection of five different small dishes to share.

We were very excited, because tomorrow we will be taking a train back to Karatsu, to meet our friends Wendy and Joseph who will be coming to walk with us for a few days.

We have not seen them in four years since the coronavirus closed down the world, and we are so excited to see them again and share this experience together.

With love, peace and friendship,

Stats: 21,755 steps
Today’s walk: 15 km
Kilometers walked to date: 233
Temples visited:
None – rest day

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