Manisha, Hasagawa-san, and I started the day off at 6:45 with a walk up to Tenmeiji, a temple about 150 stairs climb from our hotel with a pretty breathtaking view of the port. I could really feel a sense of calm and peace in this place.
Today’s march went by fast with a late start (9am), views of the port and sea throughout the day, and what I would say was near perfect weather – hot sunshine but a coolness in the air from the ocean. After some introductions and a message delivered on behalf of the mayor, we were off!
Our group was smaller today, starting from Onomichi, and we were accompanied by Katsuhige-sensei, a retired junior high school social studies teacher, who spoke English with us for the day.
For the first half hour or so we walked through the shotengai – which is the semi-outdoor marketplace(s) that are really captivating! There was a lot of activity going on there, and many people stopped to donate money (a feature of the Hiroshima portion), wave, and take photos of us. Nice to get so much attention!
We walked along bustling roads with a lot of cars, and passed by many industrial buildings with workers inside, all the while seeing the sea through the factory doors!
We stopped for an early lunch at 11:30, and ate a restaurant called Saga – Onomichi has the best (big!) shrimp I’ve tried!! Katsuhige-sensei explained how he makes homemade pickled plums (the natural, traditional way to make this common Japanese food that I’ve fallen in love with!), and also during this rest a Marcher named Yuko gave me a hankerchief with Shoken-ji pictured on it.
We then stopped for a rest at Itozaki Shrine, where a tree stood so large, tall, and sturdy that all I could think was “this tree is everything live!” Here we did the handover of the banners and the March to the Mihara contingent.
Our last rest for the day was brief, but highlighted by a woman named Hastuko-san, whose lively spirit was completely unmistakable despite the language barrier. She and I laughed and spoke to each other as though we could understand every word.
Finally at 4:45 we arrived at the Mihara train station and made our way to the Ryokan where we’re staying the night. I love this style of place!! So much space in the tatami mat room; good food; and a wonderful bath.
Looking forward to tomorrow’s March!