#27 Olimar


Temple: Saba Daishi – Kukai brought a salted macarel back to life here and there’s a statue of him with a similar expression to the one Oli has after he’s had sashimi.

Dedication: I hate cats so this temple is dedicated to Oli, my cat. Ed persuaded me to get him as he read some nonsense about Siberian cats being non-allergenic. It was rubbish, he still makes me sneeze but he’s a funny little furball and I miss him a lot. He used to come to bed late and sleep on my feet. When I moved out I used to wake up late at night and feel like something was wrong for a few minutes until I realised it was a lack of Olimar.

I arrived at this temple really late at night. I’d been walking along a highway in the pouring rain all day. My solution was just to keep going and I did almost 45km. My feet were killing me. Someone had told me there was tsuyado, free temple accommodation, in a hut at this temple. When I arrived everything was shut up and after asking a few locals and knocking on the office window I gave up and set up my bivvy bag in a small field. After that I went to brush my teeth and saw a light coming from a shipping container. I pushed it open and sat there in his sleeping bag was Pierre! I was discomboulated for a minute then figured I’d found the tsuyado and went and got my stuff for a nice catch up and sleep in the warm on tatami mats. Pierre had been alternating between camping and accommodation but was on track for his 45 day limit.

The next morning we got up at 5.30 to watch a goma (or possibly homa?) fire ceremony by a famous priest inside the Daishi temple. This was followed by a walk down an internal corridor past 108 golden buddhas. I said goodbye to Pierre again as I wanted to stop at an onsen in a grand old hotel to have a bath. I’m sure I’ll run into him again.