After our visit to Ishiteji, we drove to the Kuma Kogen ("Bear Plateau") area south and east of Matsuyama. We started our day's hike at this beautiful forest temple called Daihoji (Temple 44). It was lightly raining for most of the day, but the mist and drizzle added a lot of atmosphere to the walk.
From Daihoji, the route led us over a forested ridge before dropping to a small village in the Kuma Kogen where we stopped for lunch (out of the drizzle) in this thoughtfully placed henro shelter.
A soft, leaf-cushioned path leads through stately woods of Japanese cedars en route from Daihoji to Temple 45 (Iwayaji).
A section of the henro trail between Daihoji and Iwayaji passes through misty woods.
A particularly lovely stretch of trail atop the forested ridge-top between Daihoji and Iwayaji.
This sign reminds walkers to persevere. Ganbatte!
Giant Japanese cedars in the woods just before reaching Temple 45 (Iwayaji). You could almost sense the presence of the old forest kami (gods). Miyazaki's film Spirited Away came to mind...
Suddenly, the temple gate for Iwayaji appears!