Are reservations absolutely necessary?
« Thread started on: Jan 13th, 2017, 4:46pm »
In my book and blog reading, most henro seem to agree that if you paying for lodging in minshuku, temples and zenkonyado (that is, anything but camping) you MUST reserve at least the morning of your arrival. This runs at odds with how I want to walk. I don't want to have an expectation of where I will end each day.
Due to my physical limitations, I don't foresee being able to plan an end point for the day every morning. On good days I can go far; on pain days I am slow, and I never know what kind of day it will be. Due to reasons of spirit, I hope to remain open to whatever each day brings. Stopping for interactions with locals, or to visit an unexpected shrine, or be still and watch flowers or put my feet in the river takes time. I don't want to rush those things, or miss them because I have a reservation up the road.
My skeleton isn't strong enough to carry the extra weight of camping gear, so I am dependent on the roofs and blankets of others. I'd like to stop around 5 every day. Is the system of lodging really strict about reservations?
Re: Are reservations absolutely necessary?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 14th, 2017, 2:41pm »
Hmm certainly that would be preferred. Especially with minshuku since they are basically private homes offering lodging as far as I understand. Meal preparations in particularly need information in advance to work out. Not sure how many minshuku phone numbers are old styled landlines so if those owners might not even be available for phone call during day when they are doing their normal daily routines before starting up lodging!
I would recommend trying connections at least close to noon when you have better idea where you will end up. That might help a bit.
Also business hotels are less strict about prereservations and(albeit not in shikoku) I have had good luck with just marching in and asking if there's room or not. Ryokan's might also be bit better than minshuku in that regard since they seem to be more dedicated lodging places than minshukus.
Either way, minshuku or ryokan, your odds probably increase if you are willing to stay without dinner. This is called "sudomari". That helps at least with the dinner issue though of course many places just might be full!
Now good news is I have read couple books by japanese pilgrims who did basically what you did and did seem to work out. Problem being you might get more "no" than "yes" so it can take some tries and at some times there might not be much options...And these were on '90's or early 2000's so might not be applicable. Also being foreigner might make them bit nervous so possible they might refuse having excuse of you calling so late(not saying this is going to be proble but might be).
If you are willing to accept bit of taxi usage you could use those to get from where you want to stop to place that accepts you and then back to there next day by taxi. This gives you more leeway as you don't have to worry about having to hike extra 10km+ to next lodging.
Good luck and have. Since you start on 16th and I'll be starting on 27th and have extra detours due to bangai places and can only do bit short of 4 weeks so will be stopping at temple #39 we might not meet even if I don't quit on route and can maintain planned pace pace(even if your pace is slower than mine overcoming 11 days headstart in less than 4 weeks schedule is not something I would be betting on! Especially due to detours I have. If I haven't reached you before you hit 38 then it's no chance likely as I take the western route rather than more popular backtracking so days I have to catch up are even lesser).
But who knows If we'll meet we'll meet and hopefully exchange some interesting stories!