Sunday, June 18, 2006

Christine and Sue Yen's Excellent Adventure

With a title like that, we knew it was doomed from the beginning.

Right when we had just walked all the way down to the station and I realised I had left our tickets nice and safe in my desk drawer. D'oh!

I'd been wanting to go to Koya-san for ages now after hearing so many good reports and recommendations from friends. Meng Yen also stayed overnight there on Thursday night and came back with glowing reports of zen temples and hot monks. haha you crack me up, girl!

So since I had Monday off, Sue Yen and I planned to stay overnight at one of the temples there. Personally I didn't think the monks were all that hot and my first impressions were tainted when we walked through the gates and were greeted by a monk chatting away on his mobile phone, one monk chain smoking on the verandah and the three-legged dog.

Koya-san is in Wakayama prefecture and it took a while to get there. The cable car ride up the mountain brought us to a much cooler and lush environment. It was nice to be up in the mountains, especially with summer slowly heating up.

Koya-san was established by the monk, Kukai and is famous for being the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Many pilgrims make their way here and the cemetery that leads to Okunoin, is the largest in Japan. Koya-san has many temples that offer shukubo - temple lodging, and this includes a vegetarian dinner and breakfast. Koya-san is also famous for it's sesame tofu - deeelious!

We did a little look around our temple (Eko-in) and returned to our rooms for our 5.30pm dinner. We were quite skeptical about the vegetarian meal so we smuggled in chips and Pocky from the convenience store. We were so wrong. The food was amazing and even though it doesn't look like much, it's was so filling.

Our room

After dinner we went to do some exploring and took photos around our area. Lots of temples and intricately carved wooden gates, a creepy trail of red tori gates that led to some deserted shrine, nice shop with handicraft goods owned by a Japanese guy originally from Tokyo (who could speak Japanese, English, French, Chinese and Italian) and his French wife and an overall zen-inaka-laidback-feel to the place.

When we returned, our meals had been cleared away and our futons laid out. After a soak in the temple's hot bath, we relaxed and watched a bit of the World Cup before falling asleep.


At 8:45 pm, Anonymous big bro L said...

go to your sis website and read the entry for the 14th of July... i think she is saying that you don't count in our family of 3.... hehehehe
big bro L.


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