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by Bob Kerstetter
A pilgrim attaches a progress marker to the rafters of a building at Kimiidera Buddhist Temple, Wakayama City, Japan.
The man journeys along Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage, a traditional route to 33 Buddhist temples in the Kansai region of Japan.
The stickers mark his presence at the temple, the second stop on the pilgrimage.
A Japanese friends says some temples and shrines discourage placing the markers and sometimes remove them. Attaching them high makes them more difficult to remove.
Kimiidera Temple sits on the western slope of Nagusayama—Nagusa Mountain—off of Wakaura Bay, near Wakayama City on the Kii Peninsula.
From a fishing peer in Wakaura Bay, Nagusayama stands out from the surrounding terrain.
Pilgrims and other visitors climb 231 steps to reach Kimiidera Temple from the western base of Nagusayama.
No matter how many steps you climb, looking down from the top gives you a better idea of where you started. Looking back while on the steps does nothing for you.
You can also approach Kimiidera Temple from the mountain top of Nagusayama by following a pilgrimage trail.
Statues mark the way along a pilgrimage trail leading to Kimiidera Temple. Parts of the trail run along the ridge of Nagusayama, the mountain hosting the Buddhist temple.
Along the pilgrimage trail on Nagusayama you occasionally see wide views of Wakaura Bay.
While at least two trails on Nagusayama warn of wild hogs, we saw none.
A young couple honors Kannon, the goddess of mercy, the primary deity of Kimiidera Temple. You can view the goddess through the circle of glass. The temple asks visitors to not shoot direct photos of the goddess.
From Kimiidera Temple you look out over the city toward Wakaura Bay.