Japan – Koya San


The morning ritual started at 6.30am so I was sure to be up and dressed by then. I didn’t know what to expect and as I shuffled in my slippers towards the prayer room I could feel the cold and was glad I had put on all my layers! Inside, I had to leave my slippers by the door, and then find a seat on the foor. Luckily the floor was heated so I wasn’t too cold and was very glad for that as the prayer went on for about an hour!

It was quite intense and the two monks were chanting for a very long time, one of them kept dropping in and out and the other powered through gonging the bell every now and then. I think they were following a prayer book, although they must have learnt the chant to know the singing style of it. I found it hard to concentrate as I was so tired but I really wanted to use this time to clear my mind, there was one special moment for me when one of the monks used the cymbols and the sun shined into the room at the exact same time.

After the morning prayer we had to eat breakfast, it consisted of tofu, beans, rice and miso soup. It was really good although unfortunately I didn’t have much of an appetite. Once I was full I headed back to the bedroom to sleep until we had to check out, I found the bed incredibley comfortable even though it was just a couple futons on the floor.

That morning, luckily it had stopped raining, we went back out to see the tombs and hall of lanterns as we could then take better pictures and see how many tombs there actually were. It was a lot less spooky and was instead very beautiful, especially where the moss had grown over the stone. The setting of the tall trees with the sunlight breaking through every now and then, really did make it a special place and I can understand why people wanted their ashes placed here. It was nice to see all of the lanterns inside the hall, and to clearly see all the other statues near by.

After the long walk back we walked through the town, as my shoes were still damp from the evening before I had really cold feet and it was much colder than the previous day. I was happy to stop off for lunch so I could warm up a little bit! I had a nice but not the best katsu curry. Further down the town we came across the Konguuji temple which use to be one of the first ever built but a fire destroyed the original building. We paid 400Y to get in (discounted with our pass from 500Y) and I wasn’t too impressed.. It looked really similar to Shojoshin-in! There were artifacts which made it more historical but I felt like I’d seen a lot like it before. I don’t think it helped that we had to take our shoes off and the floor was so cold it hurt to walk so we really did rush through, I think If I had more information I would have appreciated it a whole load more.

Only 5 mins further down the road we came across so many temples, and they all centred around the Konpon Daito which looked really modern and new. I really liked this area as it felt very spiritual and there was lots to see in one place which was great as I was too cold…

Overall I really enjoyed Koya San, I thought it was a really good get away with some lovely views and fresh air. The experience in the temple was so comfortable and something I would recommend to anyone. The food was superb and the setting was stunning, I really loved the temple stay and would like to say I got in touch with my spritual side a little..

The journey back to Osaka took 2 hours, it felt like forever but I was happy to warm up finally! We collcted our bags from the locker which annoying charged us 500Y as we had kept them over 24hours. We then spent a good hour trying to find the airbnb in Namba as we had no instructions… oops! We sat down in a cafe which was actually just next to our building, but we had to walk quite far to retrieve the key. Finally we were in and it’s really lovely. Plenty of space and a washing machine!

That evening we took a walk in the surrounding area which was so awesome! There were food stalls everywhere and shops, the buildings had huge signs and plastic animals hanging off. I got a really good vibe off the area which is good considering I had low expectations when comparing it with Tokyo. We got a bit carried away with looking at everything that we forgot to actually try any of the food we passed! There were almost too many choices too so I think a bit of research is needed so we eat at the best places for the best price. It’s so nice to see new dishes – the tokoyaki octopus balls, the okonimoyki pancakes and a ton of fish dishes. There were the usual suspects too of course, but I knew we’d not go hungry! For dinner though I can’t believe it but I ate some crisps and a origiri from 711… the shame! Oh well.. another day haha.



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