Koya-san: Winter Wonderland!!
Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
21Trip End Jan 29, 2010
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It was snowing! The only other time i've encountered snow was for about 5 minutes in Beijing, flakes which melted instantly upon touching you or the ground. However, in Koya-san, it was serious snow - covering the ground up to half a metre in depth and snowing virtually non-stop the entire day. However, the flip-side to this was that the temperature was very cold - perhaps -5 or -10! The coldest weather we've encountered in Japan by quite a bit.
At the temple, our host was a little monk who had suffered injuries in the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
Here, we got two meals of vegetarian food, and we had to wake up for
Koya-san village is filled with temples, many converted into guesthouses. The novelty is that there are actual practising monks, unlike many other temples which are now just tourist destinations.
While the temples themselves at Koya-san were perhaps not that exciting themselves, the dramatic mountainous landscape and heavy snow provided a dramatic backdrop which made them very beautiful.
After visiting all the temples and sites that were open (a few things were closed due to the aforementioned new years holiday), we made our way to Okunoin, an enmormous Bhuddist graveyard, where an important spiritual leader is buried. The graveyard is set in a a cedar forest, and it is hard to describe the beauty and serenity of the graveyard. It was very quiet there (because of the cedar forests or the snow?) and it was snowing gently. Beautiful.