Taizan-ji has an unique entrance that looks like the stone wall of a castle. The temple is quite small and compact, but there were many pilgrims, including groups. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the Heart Sutra read out while ringing a gong.
As I put my luggage in front of the vending machine to buy some tea, the wife of a couple who had been at the temple earlier offered me some sweets and oranges. She said, “People had been kind to us when we did pilgrimage on foot, and since we were driving around this time, we’d like to treat you.” I was surprised to know that she had completed the pilgrimage on foot before. I thought it would be tough for a woman to do this, so that was amazing!