Temple 24: Hotsumisakiji

Ahh… the sea. The endless coastline stretches out against the sky. The wind is cool. You can hear sea birds. It’s an incredible day to be on the Ohenro trail, to experience the Shikoku Pilgrimage. From Temple 23 you have traveled over 75 kilometres and not seen a single temple. It’s been a long road.

We have just stepped into Kochi Prefecture, the second of the four prefectures of this journey.

Let’s go on to Hotsumisakiji, “Temple of the Cape”, and prepare yourself for the next stage of this adventure. The pilgrimage is broken into four experiences and the phase of Kochi Prefecture is the “Shugyou no Doujou”, the “Way of Disciplined Training”, and you are in for some serious walking ahead.

This temple has tremendous cultural importance as this is the location where Kūkai takes on the name of Kūkai, which means “Air and Sea”. It is where he finds enlightenment in the cave. The temple itself is quite astonishing. Many deities are represented here, and there is an amazing stone in the temple grounds that when you strike it with another stone musical notes are produced. Try it yourself. I thought that was pretty cool.

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At the end of this day I spent a night with our group at a lovely old style ryokan, and it had a vegetarian style cuisine. It was delicious and the evening was cool and relaxing. Although the path of hard discipline is a real challenge for pilgrims who travel the entire distance on foot, I am grateful for all the good things I can enjoy at the end of the day.