On Saturday morning, I woke up at 5:30 because there was a 5 point earthquake shaking Tokushima. (It was a 6 at the center, on the nearby Awaji island.) Or maybe I woke up because my phone was buzzing and beeping, and there was a siren blaring somewhere in my neighborhood. The earthquake lasted less than a minute, so I was still disoriented and groggy by the time it ended. I dragged myself out of bed to check the news (no tsunami warning) and after a quick call to my friend R, with whom I was planning to go on a hiking trip that day, I went back to bed but not back to sleep.
My hiking buddies at Fujii Temple
I got up again at 7, and got ready for an overnight hike with R and some other ex-pats. We took the train from Tokushima Station out to Kamojima and Fujii Temple, which is #11 on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. We hiked 18 km (11.2 miles) in about 7 hours, (including several rest stops and a break for lunch) to Shouzan Temple, #12. We spent the night at the temple, as D (the trip organizer) had reserved us spots in the temple’s accommodation. There were five of us in total, and we got two spacious tatami rooms (one for the boys, one for the girls). We arrived around 5, so we had a little time to take baths and settle in before dinner.
Dinner was all-vegetarian temple food, which was quite tasty. There was only one woman running the place, so she had to get the bath ready, show us our rooms, explain the rules, serve us (and all the other pilgrims, I think there were maybe about 10 other people there) dinner, and clean up afterwards. The walls were super-thin, and unfortunately one of the people next door to us was a VERY loud snorer.
We skipped morning prayers at 6am, but breakfast was served at 6:50. More vegetarian food, and the woman working there thoughtfully boiled the eggs for our breakfast. (She said usually it’s a raw egg, but since we were foreign she guessed we wouldn’t want to eat raw egg.) After some discussion, we decided to hike to Kamiyama instead of retracing our steps.
Day two’s course didn’t have nearly as much up-hill climbing as the first day, so we were able to cover more ground in less time. We also took fewer breaks. Our group split up and D and G took an earlier bus back to Tokushima once we reached Kamiyama town, but R, M and I trekked out to Amagoi Waterfall. The path up to the main waterfall passed by several smaller falls, and it was much cooler on that path. I’m really glad we went, although I’d like to go back when I have more time to enjoy it and am not so tired.
Then we made it to the bus stop just in time to catch a 2:30 bus back to Tokushima, where R and I got ice cream before going our separate ways. Day two we covered 22 km (13.7 miles) in about 6 hours (much more down-hill). Today, my legs were very very sore. 40 km in two days! But it was definitely worth it.