“Shousan-ji-michi” is the first steep path you come to when you start walking from the Number 1 Temple of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. The path connecting Temples 11 and 12 is reportedly one that Kobo-Daishi actually walked. The other day, I walked part of the path (6.6km), between the 11th Temple (Fujii-dera Temple) and Ryusui-an Hermitage.
I started walking from the 11th Temple. Because there are no food shops along the path, and because water is also available only at Mizu-Daishi and Ryusui-an, I needed to bring some food and a bottle of water with me. Since spring is one of the most popular seasons for this pilgrimage, I met other people, pilgrims or hikers, frequently. They passed by me not only because I took photos here and there, but also because I had gotten tired.
The path is a bit steep until Chodo-an Hermitage (3.2km from Fujii-dera Temple) but the latter part is a comfortable slope for walking. So, I slowed down my pace to enjoy the comfortable breeze. My feet became heavy little by little, and I ran out of energy to move. When I managed to reach the destination, Ryusui-an Hermitage, the clock said “It’s almost noon”.
I took a rest for about 10 minutes after lunch, and walked backed down to the 11th Temple. The return was a comfortable downhill walk.
They say that the next part of the path, Ryusui-an Hermitage to Shousan-ji Temple, is harder than this part. Maybe, I need do some exercise everyday to prepare for it!