Never underestimate a monk

Trip Start May 08, 2010
Trip End May 25, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Even though it's only about 1 and a half hours by train, koyasan (mount koya) seems like a milion miles away from Osaka. We watched the towering department stores become lush, dense greenery as we delved deeper into a kind of paradise. The photos will never do it justice, but the beauty of it all is just incredible. Even thouh it was drizzling, the mist around the mountains made them even more mysterious as they loomed over us. The train was lovely and spacious and clean, and the time just flew by. We switched over to a funky cable car to take us up the mountain, it was so cool :D but nothing could ever prepare me for the heart-stopping tranquility of the buddhist temples. The size of them was too big to comprehend, and to be honest I could have spent weeks in a single spot, just contemplating it all. Indescribable. We learnt all about the shrines, and had a couple of smal tea ceremonies with yummy cookies. Then we walked through the cemetary. Except as usual for Japan, it wasn't like anything you'd ever expect in the UK. There are shrines for anyone or thing that is considered worthy enough and will pay enough money. For example, the mitsubishi car comany, astronauts, coffee, and my favourite, a pesticide company in Japan had a shrine built due to the 'guilt' of murdering milions upon millons of ants! But the monuments were never-ending, and apparently there  is no official catalogue or record of everything there. So who knows what's lurking? The plants and flowers were so gorgeous too, it was all like a dream. Next we settled into our shukubo, temple lodgings run by monks. They're really really cool. I bought some prayer talismen, including one to help me study. Think I'll be needing that. But I haven't got to the best bit yet... the rooms!! There's EVERYTHING here, better than 5*. I can keep my feet warm with the massive table with a heater underneath, which is frankly genius. Oh and the toilet has a heated seat! We've got a balcony with a stunning garden outside (koi carp and everything), mega-comfy futin beds, steam baths (if we feel brave enough in the nuddy), and those paper sliding doors, tatami mats, robes and sandals etc etc. It's the quintessential japanese room basically, and I love it so much. But the biggest treat of all was th dinner (vegetarian monk cuisine); out of the world on so many levels. I am obsessed with japanese food, so I swear I nearly melted into a puddle when I saw it all. The best dinner of my life :P I got a video of it, though I'l never forget it. Today has been worth the whole trip fee for me, and I feel like the luckiest person on the planet.

Peace xxxx
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