Saturday, March 14, 2020

Out of Tokushima and into Kochi

 Day 9 and 10: A long road walk in Kochi 
The babbling of the river beside our campsite was a delight to wake up to in the early morning. Yesterday evening at dusk with nowhere to stay, after a 31.8 km day of road walking, we came across a man at his riverside work site which had a lovely flat patch of grass along the side and using our translator device, asked him whether we could camp there for the night. He responded yes and actually seemed quite delighted. He left and then came back again offering us sanctuary in his office for the night. We declined politely explaining that we were very happy to be able to camp there. What a kind human being!
Today we are leaving Tokushima Prefecture which is the end of “the awakening “phase of the henro and we head into Kochi Prefecture which is the beginning of the “ascetic training” leg of the journey.
Although it’s been a very long day of road walking, the scenery has been gorgeous with ocean vistas. We even met a local surfer who owns a board shaping business who had photos of himself on the walls surfing Pipeline and Jaws in Hawaii. He’s been visiting Hawai’i yearly for the past 25 years!
One beach town after the next rolled by until we reached our goal destination of the day, the famous Ikumi Surfing Beach north of Toyo Town. The henro hut situated along the highway overlooked the beach and had space for our tent under its gazebo roof. Although we were right beside a main road, everything else about it made it a pretty setting. 
Surprisingly we covered 29km. It’s supposed to rain tonight and we are tucked up nice and cozy in our tent and sleeping bags with the sound of the surf to lull us to sleep.

Day 10: Highway 55, the Pacific Ocean and us pretty much sums up the day. We did meet another Henro-san  named Murai from Japan along the way but he was faster than us and we lost him. 

The journey took us past a few economically depressed communities and unfortunately there was a lot of litter in the villages and flotsam on the beaches. Notably there are tsunami ocean walls, tsunami warning signs and evacuation pavilions all the way down the coast. We were so hammered by the end of a 34 km asphalt road hiking day that we booked into a hotel on the Muroto Peninsula which must have seen it’s heyday in 1978... I haven’t seen a rotary dialing telephone in decades (we have one in our room), the toilets have old crocheted seat warming covers and the wall paper is peeling off the walls. The staff here are wonderful though and put effort into making us feel satisfied. We experienced our first onsen bath here (communal Japanese bath with hot a water soak) where men and women have separate bathing areas, and we ate a delicious supper. Awesome to catch up on laundry and blogging too.
Hope to be replenished after a good nights sleep.

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