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Vikram
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xx Carrying a tent
« Thread started on: Jan 12th, 2016, 5:18pm »

Hello,

I am a first time pilgrim. I intend to stay in regular lodging as much as I can. I would only camp if it there was no other alternative. is it possible to do the whole thing without camping? Or are there times I may not find accommodation? I would really rather not carry the extra weight of a tent, sleeping bag and matt. I would be grateful for any advise.
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rollerblading
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #1 on: Jan 14th, 2016, 09:20am »

I think that with proper planning you'll always find some sort of lodging. The map book available at temple one lists a huge amount of lodging so all you'd need to do is call ahead and make sure you pace yourself so you get there in time. You're right, a tent, sleeping bag and mat would be a lot of weight to not use regularly.
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Vikram
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #2 on: Jan 15th, 2016, 7:25pm »

Thank you, that makes things easier.
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ploef
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #3 on: Jan 17th, 2016, 05:32am »

Hello,

I did bring a tent, sleeping bag and a mat last year, and I only used it 5 maybe 6 times.

And when I did use it it was t mostly out of luxury and wanting to use it since I brought it. smiley

In hindsight I probably could have left it at home.

Cheers,
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ploef
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #4 on: Jan 18th, 2016, 04:26am »

Just to clarify a few points. I only used the tent 5 to 6 times.
I used the sleeping bag and mat almost every night.

I spend almost every night at free lodging, rest huts or in parks.

The few times I used the tent, was when the benches in the rest hut or park were to small or too uncomfortable.

So depending on your sleeping choices, the sleepingbag and matt can be usefull.

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Vikram
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #5 on: Jan 28th, 2016, 12:11am »

Thank you, I am now considering carrying some sort of sleeping kit; if not the whole panoply.
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slc
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #6 on: Jan 28th, 2016, 01:57am »

I'm taking a bivy sack, tarp, compressible down sleeping bag and inflatable sleeping pad. It's all pretty compact and light.
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cpetersky
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #7 on: Feb 5th, 2016, 10:00am »

on Jan 12th, 2016, 5:18pm, Vikram wrote:
Hello,

I am a first time pilgrim. I intend to stay in regular lodging as much as I can. I would only camp if it there was no other alternative. is it possible to do the whole thing without camping? Or are there times I may not find accommodation? I would really rather not carry the extra weight of a tent, sleeping bag and matt. I would be grateful for any advise.


I would not carry camping gear. I walked in the high season, in spring, and always found a place to stay.

The worst it ever got was after I finished visiting Temple 58 near Imbari. It was a holiday weekend, so I booked in advance. I called the place I had set the reservation at to say I'd be late, as it was getting close to 5:00, and most places want you there by then. They said that they had no reservation for me. I think they may have panicked because I was a gaijin or something, or maybe I didn't communicate correctly when I set the reservation. Anyway, so here it is 5:00 PM, I am exhausted, it's a holiday and probably everything is booked, and I am sitting beside a rice paddy, and what do I do? I opened up the guide book, and over the two pages for where I was, there was one - only one! - place to stay noted, a hotel on a busy highway. Not exactly the henro path. But I called them, they had a place to stay, not expensive, and I walked alongside the highway until I got there.

You will feel every ounce on your back. Unless you are committed to doing the henro "on the rough" and traveling as cheaply as possible, I think the camping equipment is unnecessary.
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cpetersky
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #8 on: Feb 6th, 2016, 10:17am »

As a follow-up, I thought I should add: another criterion is, how 100% committed are you to only walking the path?

In one instance, we thought we were staying at a particular minshiku close to Temple 39, but for various reasons, it didn't work out. We took a bus ten miles into Sukumo, and stayed at a place there. If you're a purist, you might not do that. But then you've limited your options. What do you do at that point? You could call the nearest place to stay (5 kms down the path), and hope that they have vacancies. You can call the temple, and see if they still have space in their own temple lodgings, and climb back up the mountain. Or, you can be glad that you have a tent, and pitch it somewhere, after purchasing a meal at the nearby convenience store. Me, I was happy to take the bus into town. You, you might think that was being a wuss.

It's your pilgrimage. No absolute rules about how it is to be done.

Edited to add - I looked back over my notes for that day, and see:

The bus finally arrived, and we piled on. As we drew into town, I told the driver which hotel we were looking for, and he dropped us off closer than if we had taken the train. The hotel was pretty stark and utilitarian, but it was clean, and even better, it had wifi. Woo-hoo! We asked the front desk staff for suggestions for a restaurant, and they recommended one down the road a ways. We started walking there, but before we even walked a block, we stumbled on a Pakistani restaurant. How some Pakistanis should find themselves in Sukumo (not exactly the most cosmopolitan corner of Shikoku) to open a restaurant, with halal meat no less, I can not fathom. I like Japanese food, but we had been eating Japanese food three times a day for more than a couple of weeks, and it was really fun to have something else. We had chicken in a spinach sauce and lamb in a tomato-based curry sauce, over rice, with nan and a couple of mugs of draft beer. I told the waiter (in English!) that we wanted it spicy, not Japanese spicy, but really spicy, and it came to us sort of medium-mild, but this was still spicier than I might have expected.

So it was a long day, with a lot of travel, plus a reasonable hike up to a temple and back, plus the unexpected bonus of wifi and curries at the end. No complaints, no complaints at all.
« Last Edit: Feb 6th, 2016, 10:20am by cpetersky » User IP Logged

Vikram
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #9 on: Feb 6th, 2016, 3:37pm »

I would like to walk to whole thing. However, I can imagine if I don't have camping equipment and I need to sleep somewhere, I would do what was necessary to find a place to stay. If I had to take a bus somewhere, I might take the bus back the next day to continue my walk. Maybe that is unrealistic due to time limitations each day. But we shall see.

I spent a year and a half in Toyama prefecture. There was a community of Pakistanis around Takaoka. Being half Indian, the local restaurants where a welcome change. At one point I had to stop going to them because I was getting fat off of Punjabi food, and my co workers let me know it.
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songkran
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #10 on: May 5th, 2016, 3:23pm »

A question: most of you seem to recommend calling ahead to get lodging if we don't want to camp (I don't) - but what if we don't speak Japanese? Does the front desk often speak English?
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tneva82
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #11 on: May 13th, 2016, 02:07am »

on May 5th, 2016, 3:23pm, songkran wrote:
A question: most of you seem to recommend calling ahead to get lodging if we don't want to camp (I don't) - but what if we don't speak Japanese? Does the front desk often speak English?


Some PROBABLY can speak some rudimentary english(it can't be THAT bad even there!) but I as a rule of thumb I would not depend on it. Have a plan B available. So few options:

a) learn some basic Japanese. Learning enough to book yourself shouldn't be too much of an effort especially if you can find Japanese to help you with. Does require some effort you might not have time for so...
b) if that's not feasible or even as plan C howabout do what I have seen others do and create(with help of Japanese speaker) written form you would give to host of your current place which indicates that "I cannot speak Japanese so would you be kind enough to call place XXX with phone number YYY and ask for reservation for day Z for 1 person" with maybe "no meals" if you like that way.

Same could be used in any information center etc.
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songkran
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #12 on: May 13th, 2016, 08:56am »

great idea on the translated form, tneva82 . thank you for the suggestion.
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clarksm67
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #13 on: May 13th, 2016, 12:45pm »

The comment about speaking rudimentary English, even there it cant be that bad. Couldn't be further from the truth. Very few people I ran into spoke rudimentary English . Your not going to Tokyo your going to Shikoku. Your plan C worked for me a few times. I brought a sheet of paper with phrases pertaining to sleeping accomodations, ordering food etc. Really helped. Try to learn a few phrases, they will like that your trying.
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PatchesPal
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xx Re: Carrying a tent
« Reply #14 on: May 18th, 2016, 10:26am »

It depends on your preferences. You could get by with out a tent but you will have to stay in Minshukus or Ryokans every other night as apposed to a western style hotel. I stayed in many Ryokans and personally did not care for them. They where all old and funky and I did not care for the traditional food they served. But if you are into the full Japanese experience then you should stay at these places. I tried to alternate between using my tent or rest hut and staying at Western Hotel. The western hotels are mostly in the bigger towns so it is impossible to stay in them every night. Be aware that some of the rest huts are pretty small and will only sleep one or two so if there is some one there you would have to pitch a tent next to it. Also it poured down rain so hard one night I had to pitch my tent in the rest hut to stay dry. I always plotted my schedule a couple of days in advance and would use the front desk to make a reservation at the next hotel. Only one time the guy at the front desk refused. Not sure why? If you do take a tent get one that is fully self supporting. You will not be able to use stakes into the pavement so often encountered. I used a Big Agnes copper spur from REI that only weighs 2lbs 3 oz and they make others that weight only 1lb 6 oz.
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