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Published: April 16th 2017
Japan Day 4 Koyasan to Shikoku Island
What a night. Sleeping on a 40mm mattress and a rock hard bean bag did nothing for my old body. I don't remember ever sleeping but I assume I must have done for a few short intervals. I awoke at 2am and walked the length of the Temple to the toilet only to see on of the old monks doing the same dressed in a cloak and puttees, which looked like bandages around his legs and funny white soft shoes on his feet. I thought I was in the Burmese jungle during WWll. I surfaced with puffy eyes, a stiff neck and a bad back ready for breakfast of good quality but not over generous portions. Luckily a Frenchman next to me was not enamoured with Japanese food and gave me some of his. As we left the Temple a coachload of the French tourists lined up and clapped us off shouting Bravo, making us feel like the Tour de France peloton. First off we went to the edge of Koyasn and visited the largest cemetery in Japan with a temple and mausoleum at its heart within a large cedar forest dating back
600 years. Whilst in the cemetery and shrine we saw our first Shikoku Pilgrims in their white cloaks, posh coolie hats and carrying long staffs. We made our way off the hill and the day got warmer, giving us our third day of glorious weather with temperatures over 20 degrees. The hairpin bends were a treat to be going down instead of up like yesterday. After our morning brew stop we saw lots of small strips of land being cultivated and cropped of numerous vegetables and rice. At lunchtime we went to a place where some of the group made some peach jam, whilst we ate some delicious Sushi followed by peach muffin and peach jam all for 500 Yen (£3.80), bargain. There were two climbs today,but luckily they were quite short and were followed by nice descents. Our final run down to the sea and the ferry was on a wide cycleway alongside the river with many sports grounds full of people playing baseball and other team games. It was a wide river having lots of bridgs across it with free flowing traffic,unlike the UK where we have few bridges and traffic congestion. The Japanese also have men with
red wands controlling traffic at roadworks ensuring a good flow. Road surfaces are generally very good with potholes an extreme rarity. The UK has a lot to learn, but we do have better beds. Arriving at the ferry terminal in good time allowed us to have a double Americano caffeine fix plus pancakes with honey - yo. A 2 hour sailing to Shikoku Island on a calm sea and brilliant sun was another pleasure to experience on this wonderful day. The Agnes Hotel in Tokushima is very nice but the WIFI is useless, so no messages today.
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