It is a straightforward 4 km steep climb to No.27 Kounomine-ji. This is the 4th Henro Korogashi (遍路ころがし) which is called “Mattate (真っ縦)”. I was still worried about my knee condition, so I stopped by the local product marketplace at the foot of the mountain where they offered to keep pilgrim’s luggage for free. A cheerful lady came out and told me to just put my backpack here and not to worry about it. Thankfully, I took out my pilgrim’s bag from my backpack and then departed.
I was so careless that I didn’t buy a plastic bottle of water at the local product marketplace, but I read in the guidebook that the water from the spring at No.27 Kounomine-ji seem to be good and there are probably other places to buy something up there (But in the end, I could not find any shop of course ;)).
It was basically a paved road, but the higher I went up, the tighter the slope became, and it was much harder than I expected.
The air was cold as I climbed up this high, so I put on my down jacket again, which I had taken off once while climbing up. On the way up, I passed an old lady, but that’s the only worshipper I saw.
I felt relieved when I saw the main gate of the temple. The Nio-statue at the main gate is surprisingly vivid and brilliantly colored.
The water from the spring of the Kounomine-ji is indeed tasty after completing this tough climb.
After praying in the quiet and solemn main temple and at Taishi-do, I went to the Nokyo-jyo to get a temple stamp. Again, I was asked if I walked here, so I replied yes. Then they offered me a mandarin orange as osettai. Mandarin oranges are delicious and packed with sweetness no matter where I was offered.
When I came back to the local product marketplace, where I had left my backpack, I found local elder people were hanging-out. I didn’t want to bother them too much, so I gave my votive card as gratitude, bought a yuzu juice and left the place.
When I tried to carry my backpack again, it was indeed heavy ;). I’m really grateful that I didn’t have to climb up and down with this backpack.