Estimated distance walked this day: 11 kms
Cumulative distance walked: 154 kms
We got up bright and early the next day — another clear sunny day — to climb the mountain to Temple 27. I’ll just add as an aside that anything other than bright and early at these ryokan is pretty hard to do. They usually serve breakfast no later than 6:30, and if you haven’t hit the road by 7:30, they will be tapping their toes, waiting to hustle you out the door. A six o’clock breakfast is pretty normal.
Ann was a bit nervous about this particular climb. Konomineji is known as a “pilgrim fall down” temple because of its steep climb towards the end. She felt we needed to budget the whole day for it. So, we dropped the packs at the coffee shop at about 7:00 am and started up the trail.
Well, it was steep in places, but dang, at this point, we’d done some pretty steep climbs, and we were unburdened by our packs. We were just carrying the sutra bags. It didn’t take that long to reach the top. Of course, with a lot of these temples you think that you’re at the top, and then there’s a couple of flights of stone steps to do, both before and after the gates. But that was ok, too. I remember the temple looking good. But I just found out that the original temple burnt to the ground during the Meiji Restoration. Since they had a prohibition against building new temples at the time — it was an anti-Buddhist phase of Japanese history — they bought a different temple in a different part of Japan. The whole thing was dismantled and then reassembled at the mountaintop. Can you imagine?
We reached the coffee shop at the bottom of the hill, and our packs at 10:30 am. So much for it taking all day! We then boarded the train at Tonohama station. We took the train all the way to Kochi Station, checked into our hotel, and dumped the packs. Then we backtracked out a few railway stops. We walked up to the first of our Kochi area temples, Dainichiji. This temple is on the edge of a big city park, and also the zoo. We might have explored the park, too, but our feet were at that point ready to fall off. Instead, we returned to Kochi, ate dinner at the grill in the basement of our hotel, and more or less collapsed.