Temple: Taisanji on Mount Oyama – the first bangai temple
Dedication: Richard and Iain for looking after my suitcase while I do this. They are friends of a friend of a friend, always the best connections. They took me on a couple of nights out in Tokyo that involved introducing me to Japan’s unlimited drinking offers and ended, obviously, with karaoke.
Picture: this is where I stayed last night, above the main entrance to temple six in the space with a massive bell in it. There was another pilgrim there but he went to bed early leaving me to wander the grounds and write my diary. My sleeping bag works and my sleeping mat makes it just about bearable to sleep on concrete. My fellow traveller slept on the concrete, I’m not ready to be that much of an ascetic yet.
I got up at about 5 and left by 6.30 as I had to go back on myself to get to the first bangai temple. I’d enjoyed walking with Pierre and so ended up a bit too far from where I needed to be. It was about 2 hours to get up up here and 500m climb but worth it with a magnificent set of stairs up to the temple, the grounds to myself, and a sweet priest who showed up when I rang the bell, sold me a new stamp book for the extra temples and gave me a free drink as osetti.