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October 1, 2015

Up into the mountains.

Friday, September 25

Today we left Kyoto, bound for Koyasan, the village founded as a Buddhist meditation retreat high up in the mountains of Wakayama prefecture. It was a multi-step route, going from Kyoto to Osaka, and then to Shin-Imamiya, and finally to a cable car that took us up a steep pitch to the top of the mountain.

The town was blanketed in a light mist that made for a picturesque introduction to our home for the night, the Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin. It could not have been more perfect. The grounds were beautifully kept…

…as was the interior.

After we settled in, we took advantage of the communal showers and hot tub (men and women separate) and then were quite mellow. Our evening meal, vegetarian in keeping with the Buddhist doctrine, was the highlight of the evening, delicious and artfully presented.

And so to bed. (Yes, you can buy beer in a monastery.)

Saturday, September 26

This morning, Peggy dutifully arose and went to the 6:00 a.m. meditation service. I slept in, trying to recapture some of the sleep I lost last night on the futons. We took both of our futons and stacked them, and the floor was still too hard.

After breakfast we set off to see some of Koyasan’s sights. Like Kyoto, Koya is a town of many temples and we could see only a few in the time we had left. We started at Okunoin, Japan’s largest cemetary.

Here there are memorials to people…

…and monuments to corporations.

At the north end of the park is a majestic stand of Japanese cedar trees, some of which are over 400 years old.

From Okunoin we went into town to the Garan temple complex.

The Daimon gate.

The Daito stupa.

Daishi Kyokai.

Then back to Fukuchiin to retrieve our bags and retrace our steps to Osaka, where we ate Korean for supper, and then on to Kobe.


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