WHAT'S IN KOYASAN?
(Sara) The night before leaving for Mt Koya (Koyasan) two guests at the hotel asked Todd why exactly we were going there. They stated there was “nothing there but trees!” Perfect, I thought to myself. Time for relaxation and contemplation with the monks. Koyasan is a small village up in the mountains which consists entirely of temples and the monks that accompany them. There are about 120 temples in total, most of which provide lodging and meals for visiting guests. We set out on our trip to the mountains. We took a train back to Osaka, and then took another train about 45 minutes to Hashimoto. From this point, we took a 3rd train which took us up most of the mountain. We passed beautiful scenery, this was the first of “rural” Japan that we had seen. When we got to the end, we boarded a cable car which seemed to take us at abut an 80 degree angle up the rest of the mountain. It was a little scary if you looked down!
Looking down at Sara from the top of the cable car
Looking up the mountain from the front window of the cable car.
WHICH SLIPPERS TO WEAR...
Once in Koyasan we found our temple for the night. A kind lady met us at the door and showed us to our room. We had to be careful that we were wearing the appropriate slippers for each room. You had to leave your shoes outside and put on slippers. Then you had to leave the slippers by your bedroom door before you enter. Also, if you wanted to go to the restroom, different slippers! It was fun to walk around in them, though they were one size fits all and I kept accidentally flinging them off my feet!
We arrived in time for supper. Our host escorted us to dinner which was set up in a private room just for us. We each had 3 trays set out for us. There must have been 20 different items in which to eat! Fortunately for me, monks don’t believe in eating fish and I was safe from accidentally putting something fishy into my mouth.
WHAT A WARM, COZY FUTON!
After dinner we went back to our room. It was dark and rainy outside and my futon on the floor looked very comfortable. I slipped into it and to my surprise found there was a warm heating pad inside my futon. It was so warm and felt so good on my feet. From that point on, I couldn’t get out of my futon.. and it was only 7 o’clock! Good thing for me, I had an early rise in the morning to meet the monks for the prayer service.