Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 28 -- The end is in sight!

Total distance: ~50 km

Today was another easy day. As it turns out I’m going to be done in two more days regardless. Tomorrow I’ll finish up the temples and stay somewhere close to 88, and then the next day I’ll make the trip back to temple number one, completing the cycle.

The road to Shiromineji
For today, though, I have some words or something about some temples.

Temple 81 白峰寺 Shiromineji (7 km)
I was worried about the route I chose today. It was really roundabout and much longer than it probably had to be, but it was also the easiest ascent up the mountain toward Shiromineji. As it turns out I chose a pretty popular route—I saw a bunch of other cyclists on my way up. They were all passing me, of course.

Finally, dripping in sweat, I arrived at Shiromineji. It was very pretty but of course it included tons of stairs.

Temple 82 根香寺 Negoroji (5 km)
Negoroji was even more uphill from Shiromineji. Lots of hilliness, ups and downs… it was a pretty decent workout that early in the morning. And since I was ascending from the west, it wasn’t so hot out yet because the sun was blocked by the rest of the mountain. Score.

I found some trees there that had really pretty red and pink leaves. It looked like it was suddenly autumn. I wonder what causes trees to do that in the springtime?

Temple 83 一宮寺 Ichinomiyaji (11.9 km)
Finally, some downhill! The rest of the trip today was pretty easy after all that mountainous crap in the morning. The roads around Ichinomiyaji brought me through downtown Takamatsu, which was real cool. I like going through urban areas.

The temple itself was one of those inner city temples: not on a mountain, dirt everywhere, tons of people… I got into an English conversation with an old dude who just wanted to practice the language. He used the opportunity to tell me how good his grandson is at English because he’s going to a special English kindergarten. Dude was a pretty proud grandfather.

Temple 84 屋島寺 Yashimaji (13.6 km)
Yashimaji badger statues
Oddly enough, there aren’t any bikeable roads up to the temple. My two options were to use the “driveway”—the road designated for motor vehicles only, or hike up the mountain on foot. I’m absolutely finished with walking long distances these days, so I ended up just parking my bike and taking a bus up the short road to the temple. I feel like that was the best choice.

It was huge, and it had a museum attached to it, but the museum was closed. There were also signs everywhere for an aquarium but I never found it. That’s okay, though. The temple was beautiful on its own. Lots of statues of badgers for some reason.

And that's the day.

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