Saturday, December 17, 2011
At the top was this lovely Shinto shrine known as Hio-hachiman-jinja. No one else was there, so I had the place to myself.
Wash basin at Yasaka-ji with an elaborate dragon-shaped spigot. The basin is used for ritual purification (hands and mouth) before entering the temple grounds.
It was a short walk of about one kilomter to get from Joruri-ji to Yasaka-ji (Temple #47). On the way, I saw a group of pilgrims (henro, or へんろ, in Japanese). Many were wearing the tradtional conical straw hat called a sugegasa (菅笠) and white vest (hakui, or 白衣, in Japanese).
...and others a little younger.
Footprint (of the Buddha) stone at Joruri-ji.
At Joruri-ji Temple.
Friday, December 16, 2011
It took a bit of route-finding, but we finally located the old pilgrim path that wound through orange groves and over a low ridge before making it's descent toward Taisan-ji. A couple of farmers offered us oranges from their trees when they found out we were pilgrims. My first gift as a Shikoku pilgrim!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
An example of a chinkabashi, or "sinking bridge" on the Shimanto River. The bridge is designed without railings or other appendages that could snag floating debris during times of high water and threaten the integrity of the bridge. The bridge submerges itself, i.e. "sinks" into the water, when the river floods.
En route to Uwajima city, we stopped for a bike ride along the Shimanto River passing farming hamlets, small shrines, fields of daikon (large radish), citrus and vegetables. It was such a scene of rural tranquility that I fancied myself riding through the landscapes depicted by Hayao Miyazaki in his animated filme, Totoro.
At Cape Ashizuri stands this statue of a man commonly known as John Mung (or John Manjiro). In Japanese, he is known as Nakahama Manjirō (中濱 万次郎). He was a fisherman born in a nearby community who in 1841 at the age of 14 was shipwrecked on an isolated island. He was rescued by an American whaling vessel and traveled with its crew to Honolulu and later to New Bedford, Massachusetts. He returned to Hawaii aboard another American whaling vessel, returned again to New Bedford and set out for the California Gold Rush. He returned to Japan in 1850, and in 1853 as a result of his experiences in America, was made a samurai in direct service to the Tokugawa shogunate. He was involved in the opening of Japan to the west and was part of Japan's Embassy to the United States in 1860. He later studied military science in Europe and served as a professor at Tokyo Imperial University. Quite a resume for a fisherman from a small village on Shikoku!