#34 Rebecca


Temple: Zenrakuji – there was a fight for several years over if this or another temple should be 30 in the official 88 trail. It’s a lucrative thing to be part of the official trail as the temple gets to charge 300 yen for stamps to show people have been there.

Dedication: Rebecca used to teach yoga for years at Fitness First Highbury. I went to her classes every week for the five years I was living there. She taught me a lot about yoga and many things beyond it. Thanks, Rebecca, I hope you’re doing great things now.

Picture: after your chanting at the two halls you can go and get a stamp and calligraphy in a book or on your coat. This one was done with real care and precision. The calligraphy consists of a central column with the Sanskrit seed letter and the name of the deity. On the left is the name of the temple and on the right is the location. I think they sometimes add something else above the location as well but I’ve never been able to read any of them. Some of the calligraphers styles are very clear, some are very expressive, some are just a big mess.

I walked into a large shrine by accident that’s just next door and spent five minutes scrutinising the kanji thinking “why do they have to use different ones at every temple”. I figured it out eventually when a friendly cyclist I’ve been running into every few temples waved me in the right direction.