Estimated distance walked this day: 6 kms
Cumulative distance walked: 235 kms
We managed to catch a local bus from Sukumo to Hirajo, where Kanjizaiji is located. This leg was most satisfying in that we caught the right bus, got off in the right place, visited the temple (only a few blocks away), went to the post office (sending by slow boat the purple kimono jacket I had bought in Nakamura) on the way back to the stop, and then had only a short wait before the next bus arrived. To have a whole sequence of smooth sailing is pretty rare.
It really hit me that we were halfway done with the pilgrimage. I know that 40 isn’t half of 88, but Temple 40 is the furthest from Temple 1. After Temple 40, you are no longer going away from your starting point. You are now returning home. It is also the first temple in Ehime Province. We were done with Kochi.
By the time we got to Uwajima, it was around noon. The next set of temples were in a sequence, so we had the afternoon free for sightseeing. It was a warm sunny day, just starting to haze over. We walked the Uwajima castle grounds, then paid a small fee to go into the castle keep and climb to the top. From there we walked to the nearby botanical gardens, and strolled around.
Our original plan was to stay at an inn just off the train station south of Ryukoji, Temple 41, but it was full. So, we ended up staying instead at this large recreational complex that boasted everything from a bowling alley to a gymnasium. It also had a reasonable hotel. We did not swim in their Olympic sized pool, nor danced at the disco, but I did use the hot springs there, and it had Wi-Fi, so that worked out fine.