After leaving temple number 17 of the famous 88 temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, I found myself at a fork in the road. Should I go to see the Awaodori Festival and try the local specialty Tokushima ramen? Or should I continue my trek through the quiet mountain trails to get lost in nature? In actuality, both paths would later converge along the Katsuura River. Choose whichever you would like. From the 17th to 18th temple. Onzan-ji (恩山寺), you'll be trekking 16.8 km.
I left the national highway and headed up a hill. Onzan-ji Temple has an ancient history with connections to a great disciple that helped spread Buddhism and an old tale about a mother.
From Onzan-ji Temple to the 19th temple, Tatsue-ji, is 4 km. I descended the hill and walked along flat ground. Although the 88 temple pilgrimage around Shikoku evokes images of mountains and forests, Tatsue-ji is located right in the middle of a residential area. People that have wicked hearts or minds are said not to be able to continue the pilgrimage from this point on.
The next temple is located along the Katsuura River on top of a mountain. It is resting on a steep mountain road.
Justin Velgus (ジャスティン ベルガス) is the Miyagi Prefecture Partner for Japan Travel and a longterm contributor since 2012 with a focus on the Tohoku region. Justin has written extensively for JT, and other publications such as VisitMiyagi and Sake Today, amassing over 350 published articles...