On my day off last week, I walked to Shiramine-ji and back home again - 15 miles! This is one of the Shikoku 88 Temples and is at the top of Shiramine yama (mountain). Kurkai built this temple and founded the Shingon Sect. Emperor Sutoku was cremated in this temple.
This is not my religion so I don't understand the reason and ritual of this pilgrimage, but I am fascinated by it. The pilgrims wear white shirts and sometimes white pants, and a cone straw hat. They carry a white bag with their pilgrim book in it and a wooden stick with a bell. I like the smell of the incense burning at the temples. It seems to give a calm feeling.
Getting here was a lot of uphill, a lot of steps. Right away I noticed this temple had a lot of little cat statues everywhere. I have no idea what that's about. The temple ground covered a large area with many buildings set into the side of the mountain. Did I mention there were a lot of steps?