Ruth: Today might just be my favourite birthday and it isn’t even noon yet. Not the manic, hyper-happy of some birthdays when I was young, but a warm contentment and wonder as I slowly pedal through beautiful mountain scenery between temple 12 and 13. Word of my birthday got out early at temple 12, where I was given a birthday present from a Japanese henro who has been staying at some of the same places. This morning a small mountain town threw me a surprise party with everyone lining the streets to greet me. It was sensational. 

The last touches to the decorations were still being done.

Now I have settled into our  beautiful ryokan while I wait for dinner. On arrival we are given our kimonos and told where the bathroom is. Bathing in Japan is such a treat. Imagine after a long walk or hike you arrive and someone has already drawn your bath! 

My birthday  evening will be spent with Geraldine from Ireland and Julianna from Denmark. We have some cake rolls from the store to cap off a lovely day. 

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