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  • Day16

    Koyasan

    July 13, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We left Hiroshima on Tuesday morning and headed to Koyasan via Osaka. The ride there included a cable car ride up the side of a mountain. We ended up in a lush green mountain setting with 1,000 year old trees and over 50 temple inns. Our temple inn was Shojoshin, which is right next to the famous cemetery with plenty of important historical figures who are hoping to get a free ride with Kukai aka Kobo Daishi -- the founder of the Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism. The temple stay "experience" includes a vegetarian kaiseki dinner and a morning ceremony before breakfast (also part of the stay). Both meals were very good, with only a few weird things thrown in. We sat in the hot tub after dinner, then walked through the cemetery up to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. The whole place has a strong spiritual ambience even if you're not inclined to believe any of it like me. There is a kind of tranquility that is hard to describe. On Wednesday morning we walked to the Kongojubi temple - the head Shingon temple. It claims the largest rock garden in Japan and also has some national treasures many consisting of paintings on the sliding doors. As we were getting ready to leave, we encountered some kind of ceremony involving some high priests and a bunch of others priests including one of the priests from our temple inn who had helped conduct the morning service. We have no clue what was going on, but a little kid was carrying what looked like a sacred tablet -- not the Moses kind but more like an ipad (it was shiny and about 1/3 inch thick). We headed back down the mountain afterwards to get to Nara. Koyasan seemed a little overrun with western tourists. I think the Japanese visitors come during other times of the year.Read more

    nancy ota

    Here's part of the meal. The server still had not brought in the clear soup, the ginger soup, and rice

    7/13/16Reply
    nancy ota

    Victor on the balcony outside of our room. All of the rooms here look out to the garden, which has a koi pond.

    7/13/16Reply
    nancy ota

    Part of the rock garden.

    7/13/16Reply