The promised rain arrived during the night and when I set off next morning it was a little showery, but luckily it soon stopped. My first stop was the Sesshu garden at Jyoei-ji. I am a big fan of Sesshus' gardens and I have visited this one before, though a long time ago. It did not disappoint. Maybe my appreciation of gardens has improved, but it seemed better than before. The line of maple along the outer edge on one side certainly helped.
The rain had stopped and I headed off to walk into Yamaguchi and visit some of the main shrines of this old town. I had to make a detour to get around a big army base. After the shrines I headed for a temple I hadn't been to before, Ryufuku-ji. Within a walled enclosure about one city block in size, this was the headquarters of the Ouchi Clan when they ruled much of this part of the country back in the Muromachi Period.
The main approach to the temple was a 100 meter long tunnel formed by overhanging maples, and at the main hall a huge gingko had left a carpet of yellow over everything. This temple was a delightful surprise. Next to it a reconstructed garden from the Muromachi Period.
From here I headed to the first pilgrimage temple of the day, Toshun-ji, which was a little disappointing. Right next door was Ruriko-ji with its famous pagoda, though in terms of fall colors it was also a bit disappointing.
My next stop was the pilgrimage temple Ryuzo-ji, a mountain temple up a narrow valley. First there was a couple of hours walking along Route 9 which now functions as a Yamguchi Bypass. Not much fun, but once I left the main road and headed up the valley it was much more pleasant. Ryuzo-ji was a stupendous surprise. It is home to what is claimed to be the tallest Gingko in Japan, and the steps up to the temple were covered in its golden leaves mixed with maple. There were many halls and statues around the temple, including a big Fudo Myoo, and best of all a tall waterfall framed in autumn colors.
This was the highlight of my walk so far, and my excitement energized me for the long walk back down the valley to the main road and the trek to my room in Ogori, now more commonly known for the Shinkansenstation there, Shin Yamaguchi.