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  • Day46

    Typhoon Day

    October 12, 2019 in Japan ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    Today was the day the typhoon finally passed over, after days of warnings and alarm. Thankfully it passed near Tokyo, hundreds of kilometres away from us, so we weren't really ever in any danger. But we awoke to pretty heavy rain, and decided fairly quickly that our plans for the day were done. I drew the short straw on going out to get breakfast, mainly because I'd said the night before not to bother grabbing any food (dumb), so off I went in the heavy rain and wind to get our typical pikelets and coffee breakfast.

    We spent the morning working on various things in our room, waiting out the storm. After lunchtime the rain had lifted a bit, so we decided that we could still see a bit of what we'd planned, but only if we hurried. So in a big rush we scurried over to the station and caught a train heading south.

    Destination for the day was the Kii Mountains, a peninsula sticking out south from the mainland beyond Osaka. It's long been a sacred spot for Shinto believers, with lots of temples, shrines, pavilions and pilgrimage routes. The biggest issue for us was that because it's a mountain area, you need to access it via a cableway (not a dangling cable car, more like a cogwheel railway like they have in Switzerland), and that hadn't been running in the morning.

    The train journey took about 2 hours, then the brief cable car, and then a short loop bus before we finally arrived at the first and only spot we were going to see: Koyasan temple. Thankfully it was open, though it was going to shut pretty imminently as we'd arrived just by 4pm.

    It was a nice temple to look around, with some beautiful painted screens though I couldn't take any photos of those. It's also home to the largest rock garden in Japan at 2640 square metres which was quite cool! Very zen. Though it felt a bit like Get Smart, as the workers were essentially following us around the tour route and closing each door/window behind us - clearly nobody else was allowed in! Though I'd be surprised if they'd had more than a dozen visitors all day, the entire area was deserted.

    Finished with the temple, we decided to head for one more spot. Caught the bus to where there's a grove of tall cedars lined up around stone lanterns and gravestones, but of course we couldn't go in because branches were down and the place looked a bit of a mess. Should've guessed! Hurried back up to the main road where we got the same bus heading back on its loop, and answered the driver's quizzical look with "ker-osed" and a point in the general direction. He understood!

    Cableway back down, then the two hour train ride back to Osaka where it was now getting on for 8pm. I was bloody freezing since I'd worn shorts and thongs (I basically can't wear my shoes in wet weather now because they're so full of holes), and we hurried back to a chain katsu curry house where we had dinner. Very satisfying to have a thick tasty curry on a cold wet evening.
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