On the pilgrimage route to Iyo Komatsu, there was a temple dedicated to Yakushi-Nyorai, called Seda-san Sendan-ji Temple. Elderly men wearing a white pilgrim’s vest and holding a cane like Kongo-zue walked into the temple, so I thought this temple might have some relationship with Kobo-Daishi. When I approached to them, I noticed different words i.e “新四国曼荼羅霊場” on their vest instead of “南無大師遍照金剛”. I eventually knew that there’re other pilgrimage route in Shikoku than the one I was doing.
At Usui Goraigo, Kobo-Daishi is enshrined in a place with well. It is said that Kobo-Daishi sprang up water in the Usu (millstone) at the request of an old woman. At this resting place, there is a sign for walking pilgrims that says you can stay overnight. It seemed Komyo-ji Temple was offering a kind of Zenkon-yado (free lodging for pilgrims).
Higiri Taishi is a small temple. And there’re some pillars with uniquely shaped Chinese characters carved on them, which was very impressive. It is said that the Higiri Jizo Bosatsu enshrined in this temple has a breast, which is very rare, and is said to be worshipped as a Jizo for safe childbirth and child rearing.
On the way, I noticed that there’re more charging spots in Ehime for electric cars than Tokushima and Kochi. Maybe it’s just coincident of the Henro route setting, but interesting.
There was a home improvement center called “Daiki” that was having a direct market. When I was standing in line at the cash register to buy some Iyokan sweet bean jelly and bean paste bread with mandarin orange jam, a lady took them and said, “I’ll serve you as osettai!”… 🙂 I was surprised, but I was grateful for the offer. When I told her that I came from Tokyo, she sent me off with a word “That’s quite far from here, and good luck with your pilgrimage!” When I think about it, it’s amazing to be able to offer such hospitality to a complete stranger like me.
The rain started to fall quite heavily. When I was walking, I found “Meshiya Kaho” which seemed to be famous for its Yoshino-mochi. They had a package of 20 pieces, but of course I wouldn’t manage… so I asked the lady if they had a smaller package. Then she said she could sell them separately for 32 yen each. While packaging, she told me that… “I previously lived in Suginami in Tokyo. There are many people in Tokyo, but I think they’re quite lonely. The people here are nice and it’s easy to live” I think it’s important to be connected with people. I bought five Yoshino-mochi (sweet rice cakes). I ate them at the hotel, and they were really good… I should have bought more 🙂