Waiting for the train with my bike in its suitcase.
Waiting for the train with my bike in its suitcase. 

Ruth: Our travel day from our guest house near Kansai airport to Shikoku was seamless and surprisingly easy. Our host dropped us back at the Ozaki train station where we bought a combination train and ferry ticket to Tokushima. 
I spent the two hour ferry ride talking to a lovely lady in a combination of Japanese, English, google translate and charades. It was really fun. 
At the Port in Tokushima we were met by David Morton, who is originally from Canada but has lived in Japan for almost 30 years. He is the author of the English guide book for the Shikoku pilgrimage and is a professor at Tokushima University. His area of research focuses on Western pilgrims on the Shikoku route. Who better to give us our first orientation to the pilgrimage!

Gord and David at Bando German POW Camp. 
David generously offered to take us to Temple 1 and  to purchase supplies needed for the trip. However, we went first on a side trip to Bando Camp, the site of a German POW camp during the First World War. The head of the camp viewed POWs not as enemies but as brave men who had served their country well. His own family had suffered as POWs in a previous period, so he managed the camp more humanely. The only rule was that the Germans could not return home before the end of the war. They had a bowling alley, two boat ponds, ran marathons through town and had several orchestras. At the end of the war the Germans didn’t want to leave. In a gesture of thanks for their good treatment they performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Bando. This was the first performance of the symphony in Japan. Most returned to Germany a few years after the war, but some remained in Japan for the remainder of their lives.

Temple 1 Ryōzenji
We have arrived just at the tail end of the cherry blossom season. Ryōzenji, Temple number 1, was stunning with cascading cherry petals and pools filled with gigantic koi. 

David gave us an excellent orientation of the pilgrim protocol at the temple. 

Each candle is for a different purpose. I am pointing to the one for safety on the road. I wanted to photograph it so I didn’t mix it up with the one for fertility. 

This one was painted back in Victoria from a picture on the internet. Much better to see it for real and with the cherry blossoms. 

Follow Our Journey

Don't want to miss a post?

Sign-up below to receive notifications whenever we add a new post to our blog.