I leave Tokyo at night to arrive nine hours later at Tokushima at 6 a.m. From November 24 to December 2, I will be walking around Shikoku Island. It is the smallest of the four big islands in Japan. Quite rural and relatively sparsely populated (compared to the rest of Japan), Shikoku is renowned for its mountainous landscapes, its small fishing villages, several large agglomerations sheltering superb castles and especially the pilgrimage of the 88 temples. Dedicated to Kôbô-Daishi (founder of the Shingon Buddhist school), it consists of walking around the island, stopping at each of the 88 temples. Generally it takes about two months to do it.
For me, I am going to stroll on the Southeast coast to go to see the fishing villages, hike in the valley of Iya, sheltering superb gorges and go visit the city of Kôchi. First stage of this route: Tokushima. Located on the coast, this is where the pilgrimage begins. After having recovered my room in a small rustic hotel but with private bathroom (happy me) and having slept a few hours, I go visit the city.
Not many people on the streets. Tokushima is very similar to the popular districts of Tokyo except that the streets are less crowded and that the city is crossed by rivers with pretty banks. I take the opportunity to climb Mount Bizan, 290m above sea level, symbol of the city. As usual, it starts to get dark when I start the ascent, the weather is cloudy and the wind is picking up. Lots of images pass through my head during the ascent (Are there bears in the area?), But fortunately the climb only takes 30 minutes. A little out of breath here I am looking up at the landscape beneath me. I discover on one side that Tokushima is much larger than I thought and on the other side, the beginning of the mountains of Tokushima prefecture. The summit of Mount Bizan is covered with telephone and radio antennas and houses an observation platform and a pagoda dedicated to peace. I stay up for a while, but the wind is getting stronger and I decide to leave. I descend by cable car. The descent is impressive, the cabin swaying under the gusts of wind. Visit to the souvenir shop and return to the hotel.