Gordon: We had beautiful weather for our first day on the Shikoku 88 Temple pilgrimage. We made our way to Temple 1 under our own power, adding about 14 kms to the distance of about 13 kms from Temple 1 to Temple 5. With 83 more temples to visit our appreciation of them may diminish, but we enjoyed the first five a great deal. They are tranquil places, with a variety of pavilions, sculptures, ponds, and other features.
We have decided upon a protocol that sees us ringing a gong, cleansing ourselves at a fountain, taking turns reading stanzas of the heart sutra at the principal temple, and then going to the shop to have our books stamped and calligraphied. This is quite beautiful to watch, and easily shows why calligraphy is an art form in Japan.
The walks between temples are mostly on small lanes with minimal traffic, although there are also some stretches on paths. Much of the land is under cultivation, with carrots currently being harvested, and rice being planted. There are also large areas devoted to pear and apricot orchards.
We were both almost giddy today, and we look forward with eager anticipation to tomorrow’s outing.