Monday, March 7, 2022

Funatama Shrine to Chikatsuyu

Funatama Shrine

This post covers the rest of my third day walking along the Kumano Kodo as part of the Saigoku Pilgrimage that follows the same route for the first week or so. After stopping at Funatama Shrine I carried on through the silent forest.

I then realized what it was that had been making me feel uncomfortable for so much of the walk through the mountains the last few days....... I was mostly walking through tree farms..... With a few exceptions, most of the forest was composed of evenly spaced trees of the same age and species.... the community of other plant and animal species was minimal..... quite unnatural....

I then passed through the remains of a small settlement that was abandoned in the 1960's. Metal pots, bits of chairs, and other bits and pieces as well as a few collapsed structures  are all that is left. Even in my own area in the 21st century, small settlements in remote mountain locations continue to disappear.

I ass several Oji, the shrines along the route. There are, I believe, 100 Oji between Hongu and Osaka.

There were also other wayside altars, this one being to Ebisu.

Several times I crested passes and would then get views across the country.

I was pleasanty surprised to find a wayside altar to Fudo Myoo. There doesnt seem to be many on this ilgrimage. Maybe it is more Tendai than Shingon?

In a tiny settlement of a few homes I found this unusual dispenser of free, cold drinks. I think this was the first instance of osettai, giving alms to pilgrims, that i found on this pilgrimage.

After passing Nonaka no Shimizu spring I soon found myself in Chikatsuyu, a large settlement and a stopping point with quite a few, pricey guesthouses, all fully-booked weeks and months ahead. On my first day after climbing up from Nachi, I met a Frenchman who had spent the night on the floor of the disabled toilets in a park here as he had been unable to find any lodgings or good places to sleep out. As I passed one guesthouse the owner was in front cleaning the steps, so as last-minute cancellations are not unheard of I asked if he happened to have a room for the night. He looked at me as if I had asked to sleep with his daughter.


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