It felt great waking up in a secure room on the temple grounds. We have been averaging 9-10 hours of sleep per night, exhausted after walking all day.
Temple 34 (Tanemaji) was a place where Kukai planted five kinds is seeds: rice, wheat, two types of millet and beans which he had evidently brought back from China. People also pray for safe childbirth at this temple.
During our journey from 34 to 35 we got off track and lost. We didn’t see adequate little signs, arrows or stickers pointing us in the right direction. Eventually we stopped at a flower shop to ask for directions and a very kind woman called Tomo, gave us a ride in her car to get us back on track. She dropped us off at an Udon Noodle restaurant where we were able to sample this local delicacy for the first time. Thank you Tomo!
Up another hill and many stairs to Temple 35 (Kiyotakiji) we climbed. At the top weee beautiful vistas of the valley below. The temple was gorgeous with a huge statue of Gyoki who founded this temple 723.
Late afternoon brought with it a drizzle and we planned to make our way to a Henro hut we could see on the map to camp there. On arrival we thought it was a great location and looked forward to an early night. As we were sitting in the hut chatting a man pulled up in his car and came towards the hut. We greeted him and thought it was strange that he didn’t greet us back. His behavior was shifty and awkward. He left the hut and started pacing back and forth a little distance away and kept looking at us, clicking his neck with his hands periodically. Our gut instinct told us he might be planning to mug us. After awhile he drive off and we ran as fast as our painful feet, now numbed by adrenaline would carry us. We didn’t want to wait around for him to bring back reinforcements or come back once we were asleep in our tent. It was dusk as we ran up over a hill on a rocky trail and down the other side into the town of Usa. It was dark and the town only had one minshuku (B&B) that we could find , located all the way at the end of it and over a huge bridge.
We made it and are now safe and comfortable in our gorgeous room on futons on tatami mats in a room decorated with a samurai sword, Henro scroll and an intricate wooden carved temple.
I also just received an email from Hawaiian Airlines saying that our return flight has been canceled due to downsizing flights from Osaka to Honolulu. We’ll have to deal with this in the morning.