The last few days have been a bit busy. I have been hosting friends who are visiting from America. It is great to see them. My friend, Elmar, and I have been friends via a shared passion for karate for coming on about 15 years. We have known each other by long distance, and a couple of years ago we had the chance to finally meet in Georgia State in the U.S. That was really great. Our friendship deepened and Elmar and his lovely wife, Jean, came to visit us here in Japan.

After a whirlwind tour of Kyoto, making sure to hit the big sites, (you may know some of them), we came back to Kagawa and visited a few things here. They really loved all the sites in Kyoto, naturally, but were also very taken with the Shikoku Mura, an historical park that rambles through the forests near Temple 84 (Yashimaji). That was great.

One very important place we stopped at in Kyoto was Touji. Touji, in case you do not recall the name, is the “East Temple” in Kyoto, and is closely associated with Koubou Daishi. In the year 823, Emperor Saga gave the temple to Koubou Daishi and Touji became the central seminary for Shinbone (Esoteric) Buddhism. Several buildings, as well as the spectacular pagoda, were added. When you come to Touji you can see a huge hall with statues of Yakushi Nyorai, the Medicine Buddha.

If you are familiar with Kyoto, or seen advertisements for it, you may have see the huge pagoda of Touji already. It is often used as as symbol for the city.

Kyoto is great, but I am glad to be home here in Shikoku. The next round for the pilgrimage is coming soon, so I am looking forward to that as always.

Hope my note finds you well, fellow travelers. Thanks again for coming by!