2006-05 Japan: Koyasan and Osaka

Koyasan is reached by 2 routes. By car up a winding mountainous road or by train connecting to a ratchet-cable-car which speeds you up the mountain side in about 15 minutes. I took up residence in one of the temple lodgings for my one night in Koyasan and after following the strict rules over dinner times and behaviour in the temple itself boosted out with my camera to explore the local area. Koya is a sleepy place – with a primary focus on its religious functions. The temples were an impressive and peaceful sight for the most. I wandered out towards the edge of the complex and came across a beautiful reaching view from the mountain down to the coast and the sea beyond.

Dinner was a strange affair consisting of entirely vegetarian dishes in small quantities too. So I was left quite famished after the event (a lasting feature of much of my time in Japan). Later in the evening after dinner there was a little time before the curfew at the temple so I decided to explore the local graveyard. I was a sprawling place and as dusk descended and as I got slightly lost in the tall dark pines rather terrifying I found as the variety of woodland creatures – squirrels and wood peckers I suspected made jittering sounds over head. I eventually found my way to the sane path again by following the dull lamps that light the main paths  – back to my temple and so to my bed. I missed the 6 am call for prayer – sleeping over until 8 am (and nigh on past my checkout time). I recycled my ratchet-journey backwards and bridged away to spend a single night in Osaka staying in a student hostel by the Olympic stadium, enjoying a round of takoyaki and wandering through some parts of downtown.

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Seb 20/2/2014 London

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