Estimated distance walked this day: 5 kms
Cumulative distance walked: 422 kms
We took the train into the city of Takamatsu, dumped our bags at our hotel, and then went back out into the countryside, or at least, outer suburbia, to Ichinomiyaji, Temple 83. You are supposed to crawl on your hands and knees through the red torii gates pictured below, to rid yourself of bad karma and impure desires. We did not do this, but we didn’t see anyone else do it, either. So much for ascetic discipline. Instead, we enjoyed the cherry blossoms, which were really beginning to pop.
This was the only temple on our list to see that day. Our next destination was Ritsurin Garden, considered to be one of the three most beautiful in Japan.
Before we got there, we wanted to get lunch. The tourist information office provided us with a udon “passport”. Udon, a thick wheat noodle, is a local specialty. I guess the idea is that you are supposed to go to all the noodle shops in the passport and get them stamped. I can’t imagine doing this, as there was at least two dozen listed, but we headed to the one that was near the garden. The lunch line was enormous, but the place was a partly self-serve, and it was very efficient. Ann kindly shared her fried eggplant with me – something I missed on the self-service line – a favor I will not soon forget.
After lunch, we walked around the gardens.
They really were quite lovely, especially in the spring sunshine, and with all those cherry blossoms. I also ate a rather memorable green tea ice cream cone there.
The rest of the afternoon, we just walked around central Takamatsu. With the pilgrimage almost done, we felt no pressure to do much more than that.