As written here, I decided to take a train from Iyo Sakurai station to pull ahead the schedule to be able to visit Yokomine-ji. Instead, I’ll go back to Iyo Sakurai station tomorrow to walk from there to cover the unwalked route.
Even though the Yosan Line is electrified, it is still a local line, with only one train running every hour. In the explanation of Iyo Sakurai station, it says that with the opening of Route 196 and the expressway, buses and private cars have become the norm, and even Iyo Sakurai station, which used to be the terminus of the Yosan Line until Imabari station was built, is now unmanned…
The mountains seen from the train window were covered with snow. I guess it’s Mt.Ishizuchi. It’s warm today, but I’m curious how the mountain route to Yokomine-ji looks like.
I paid a visit to Business Ryokan Komatsu which is today’s lodge. It’s located close to the station, and since they renewed the building it’s pretty new. I left my luggage. The person in charge kindly gave me a copy of the map of the pilgrimage route through the Tokiwa Quarry, since it’s easy to lose the way. Then I went back to the station and bought a few rice balls and snacks at the convenience store.
The Tokiwa quarry is a huge quarry where they are working to carve out the mountain, and it was a little scary to see the big trucks driving by. The road ahead of me was not in good condition, and the road made me feel lonely and somewhat uneasy.
I was a little surprised to see an old man coming down from the mountain side, but at the same time I was relieved that I was on the right route. The fact that he was coming down at this time meant that he had been at Yokomine-ji quite early…
After a very hard climb, I joined the pilgrimage route shown on the map. While I was eating rice balls there, a person coming down from the Yokomine-ji told me to be careful because there was snow at Yokomine-ji. It was supposed to be 3.6 Km to Yokomine-ji from here, but there was still no snow at all here…
However, with less than two kilometers to go, there were a few snow flakes. When I entered Yokomine-ji, I was surprised to find a large amount of snow still on the ground and it was very cold.
It seemed that I had entered from the opposite side of the main gate, so I had to pass by Taishi-do and the main temple once and go to the gate to pray from there. I like this solemn atmosphere of the temple added by the snow.
There were a few pilgrims here, but not a group. I was very grateful for the mandarin oranges that were offered to me as osettai when I asked for temple stamp.