[The Shikoku Pilgrimage] Day 5: Being a Tourist

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I “slept in” until about 8:30 (boy, does one’s definition of sleeping in change depending on circumstances; back home, on my days off, it was an effort to wake up before 9:30-10:00). I noticed right away that is was actually easy to get out of bed and my knees were feeling quite a bit better. I could only hope that they stayed that way.

I took my time getting ready, then headed out to a nearby cafe for breakfast. With nothing to do in the morning, I returned to my hotel room to relax some more.

Around 2pm, I decided to get going and walked the ~1km to the Awa Odori Kaikan. I stopped briefly at a 7-11 to grab an onigiri and a drink for a small lunch, as I wasn’t particularly hungry. I ate on a bunch near the Awa Odori Kaikan. My knees were so far holding up.

I purchased a “set” ticket, that gave me entrance to a dance performance, the museum on the third floor, and the ropeway up Mt. Bizan.

I caught the 3pm performance and enjoyed it. Tokushima is probably most famous for its Awa Odori Festival in August, and I’d love to go, but I do very poorly in the heat. In any case, the music is addicting and makes you want to dance, too. Actually, at the end of the performance, they pull as many audience members as they can to the stage to try the dance. I was pulled on by an enthusiastic musician. At the end of the lesson, the dance troupe chooses 4 people they liked and give each person a “hachimaki” (a cloth headband), and of those four, one person gets a congratulatory certificate (I think that’s what it was, haha). I received a hachimaki :) I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do with it, but perhaps I can use it to pad my henro hat.

I took the ropeway up Mt. Bizan after. I was glad I waited for today to do it because it was much sunnier and the skies clearer today than yesterday. While the views from the top were amazing, I’m sad to say that everything else there was rather old and sad-looking. A small souvenir stand was closed up and a shrine looked like it was falling apart. Even the cleansing basin was dry. Still, I have a weird fondness for old, decrepit places, so I still threw in a bit of change, rang the bell, and made a quick wish for a good day tomorrow.

With nothing else to do there, I took the ropeway back down, then headed to the museum, which is dedicated to the history of the Awa Odori Festival. Unfortunately, everything was in Japanese, so I simply looked at the displays. As a result, it didn’t take me long to get through it.

With nothing else to do there, I headed back to the hotel. At this point, my knees were feeling mildly uncomfortable, but overall, I was happy that things were improving. Hopefully, things would only get better and my journey to Temple 12 would go by without too many problems.

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