Yokomine-ji Temple, the 60th temple of the Shikoku pilgrimage, is located in the middle of Mount Ishizuchi (the highest peak on Shikoku Island). Its altitude, 750m, makes it the third highest among the 88 temples. The mountain path leading up to it is steep, and therefore it’s referred to as “henro-korogasi” (steep path making pilgrims fall down). Last summer, I walked one of the paths from Yunami to Yokomine-ji temple. I got off my motorcycle at a rest hut for Yunami, and started climbing with a walking staff that I found at the entrance of the path. The first 1 km was easy, but it got harder little by little. Along the way, I found Cuckoos, Petites, Jays, Warblers, Wrens, and so on. The songs of these wild birds cheered me up. Finally, I came upon a traditional Japanese building - the entrance gate of Yokomine-ji Temple! This temple is famous for its rhododendrons in the early summer. I gave thanks to Kobo Daishi at the temple, and walked to my destination “Hoshi-ga-mori” (Forest of Stars). The wind felt good, and I imagined that the stars at night would be beautiful. The Milky Way also must be clearly visible. In any case, the 5.8km-mountain-walk turned out to be harder than I expected. My back hurt!
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