Gordon: Yesterday I finished my walk at Temple 21. Located at the top of a mountain, it is known as the “Western Kōya-san” because of its similarity to the UNESCO designated monastic community near Ōsaka. It is possibly the most beautiful temple we have visited, with magnificent cedars and numerous temples constructed at various levels along a ridge. After our visit to the temple we took a ropeway (an aerial tramway) to our accommodation in the town below.
Temple 21 was so appealing that I chose to start my day there today. (This also had the benefit of leaving my line of walking unbroken. I would never take a train or a bus, but ropeways are a bit of a grey area.) It was cloudy this morning, making the mountaintop temple quite atmospheric. It would be a wonderful place to do a meditation or yoga retreat, if you were so inclined.
After lingering on the temple grounds for a while, enjoying the near solitude of the early day, I set off on a 25 km walk to the sea. Enroute I passed through some truly magnificent timber bamboo forests. Not limited to isolated clumps of stems, these forests extended over entire hillsides and filled ravines. I can understand the appeal of these forests to Japanese artists. The strong vertical lines, lacy foliage, and rich blue-green colour of the stalks are compelling in their simple beauty.
After a week walking through farmland, cities and mountains, it was exciting to suddenly walk into a fishing village on the coast. The inspiration for Japanese landscape paintings was clearly evident, with ragged islands and headlands rising from the mist.
I’m guessing that we will be having fish for dinner.