Walking through Japan as a Theravada Monk in bright orange clothes gets me a lot of looks, and I seriously mean… A lot of looks. Whether they are walking, running, or driving their cars, everyone glances over and stares. When I reached temple 7 and 8 I became a sort of model for some photographers. I should’ve taken pictures of them taking pictures of me, almost like breaking a real life 4th wall kind of a thing. It would’ve been funny.
Temple number 10 has a lot of steps, and I mean a lot of steps. I think people were saying there was over 300 steep steps before you finally reach the main temple halls, they were lying. After making it all the way up and then all the way back down I still had another 10 kilometers to reach Kamo no Yu onsen, a bathhouse which provided free lodging to pilgrimers and it would be only 2 kilometers to temple 11.
It took me past nightfall to reach Kamo no Yu, it was quite long and tiring, but the walk was really nice. I was walking along the beautiful river and had to cross a really long bridge before walking through the city again. When I was walking through the city I came across a “Sakura Matsuri”, or Cherry Blossom festival. I had a good time scrolling through underneed the lit up lanterns and cherry blossoms in the park. The pond they had there too was really nice. I particularly enjoyed watching children running around playing with their friends and family.
When I got to Kamo no Yu I walked in and was warmly greeted by the owner and staff who quickly checked me in, showed me to where the free room was, which was quite modest and cozy. I did also get a discount on a bath in their hot springs and was introduced to Meg Sweeney who is super awesome. We got along really quick. She is an American English teacher who has lived in Japan for over 30 years. She would later help hold onto some of my things that were too heavy to carry with me on this long walk and I would meet afterwards to spend a few days with after the walk.