Northern Kyoto: Kurama and Kibune (part 2)

So, I finally made it to Kibune and was it ever worth it. My “hiking buddy” was still with me, about 10 feet ahead, as we finally came to the end of the trail. All I could think about was finding a vending machine and pouring huge amounts of liquid into my body. I was so soaked in sweat- it was just stupid. I’ve been living away from such a humid climate for so long that I’m just not used to it anymore. In an attempt to cool down on the hike, I had taken off my light weight oxford shirt that I had been wearing, but it didn’t really help as my undershirt was just wet. I had so much sweat pouring down my face that I felt like I was never going to cool down. Sorry to make such a huge deal about this, but I have never been this overtaken by perspiration in my life.

So, as I came down the path that winds down the hill, I emerged out of the forest, and onto a road, Kibune Street. You then cross that to reach the stone stairs that lead up to Kifune Shrine.  The beautiful staircase is adorned with red lanterns on both sides that start at the bottom and end at the wooden gate at the top. There is also the lovely metal railing running the length of the stairs- nice touch. Continue reading “Northern Kyoto: Kurama and Kibune (part 2)”

Northern Kyoto: Kurama and Kibune (part 1)

The beds in the Hotel Granvia are very comfortable and I slept very well. Maybe too well.  I had set my alarm to wake me by 7am but I guess I just shut it off in my sleep. I was surprised when I woke up and realized it was after 9am, since every morning prior to this, I woke up easily before 6am. I was now feeling a bit rushed as the day began and it was already looking pretty hot, and like it might rain at some point.

I fell asleep the night before as the computer was downloading that days photos. I wish I hadn’t fallen asleep like that though since I still needed to get some work done which now added to my rushed feeling.  So, I pulled out some yogurt, opened up the “Frosties” ( Frosted Flakes), and started writing.  Not too long after I started, my iPhone rang, it was my wife and daughter wanting to FaceTime.

We a had a great time talking and before I knew it, it was almost noon.  The clock was ticking now- I had to hurry to get out of the room and get the day’s adventure underway. In addition to just getting dressed, I needed to send some clothes down to be cleaned and just made the collection deadline to get them back that evening. I jumped in and out of the shower got out of the room as fast as I could. I decided to head the northern area of Kyoto, into the mountains to an area called Kurama.

I was hungry again since my breakfast was pretty light, so before I caught my train, I ran down to the basement of the Isetan department store that’s part of the massive JR Kyoto Station.  I made my way down to the Andersen Bakery and grabbed a couple things then headed back out to the station entrance. (Side note: I am, unfortunately, unable to resist these bakeries.  Their power over me is great.  It is good we do not have them in America.)

Continue reading “Northern Kyoto: Kurama and Kibune (part 1)”

Onto Kyoto

Leaving Koyasan was a hot, humid journey.

I took the bus from Shojoshin-in Temple to the cable car station and had to stand for the ride since the bus was small and there wasn’t anywhere to put my suitcase.  I was already sweating profusely before I boarded the bus and the lack of air conditioning only made that worse for me.  Also, I was stressed as I had to pay close attention to the time for this journey.  In order to arrive in Kyoto at a decent time that evening, I had to make the 3:19pm cable car from Koyasan so that I could catch the 3:30pm train back to Osaka. A tight train schedule getting to my next destination, Kyoto.

I bought my ticket for the return trip to Osaka the day before as part of a Koyasan travel package.  What I didn’t realize though, was that it wasn’t a direct train- I’d have to transfer to another train halfway to Osaka.  Plus, I wouldn’t have an assigned seat, which I wanted.  So at the top station of the cable car, I went to the ticket window to change it to the express train, but had no success.  Trying to change that ticket was my only time encountering any sort of problems with my lack of Japanese speaking ability as the older ticketing gentleman didn’t want to take the time to help me.  He just kept telling me the type of ticket I already had and waved me away.  So, I let it go, deciding that I would deal with it at the bottom station, and got on the cable car.  I dragged my stupidly heavy suitcase down the steep steps to the bottom of the car platform to board it at the front so as to save time at the bottom.  It was so hot and I was really starting to sweat.

The view back up to the top of the cable car platform. Continue reading “Onto Kyoto”

Okunoin Cemetery (Koyasan part 4)

Okunoin Cememtery

So after breakfast I returned to my room to pack and get checked out.  I was sad to be leaving after such a short stay, but onto the big adventure for the day-Okunoin Cemetery.  However, it didn’t take me long to get sidetracked on my way out the temple.  As no sooner was I 20 feet from my room, than the tripod was out and I was shooting.  The place was just too beautiful and every time I turned my head, I saw something new and interesting.

I spent the next hour shooting around the pond that I had been looking at as I ate.  The closer I looked, the more I noticed like the giant spiders or new fish swimming in the pond.  There were little details everywhere that just begged to be discovered.

The monk, who didn’t speak English, was doing his daily routine of cleaning and had made his way to where I was.  He found a gecko that was clinging to an inside window of a door  and summoned me over to show me.  These geckos apparently only live indoors here and it seemed I was lucky to have been able to see one.  I tried to photograph it, but it just didn’t seem to want to have its picture taken as it did it’s best to hide, eventually climbing away behind the wall. The monk then took me to a corner of the pond to show me the frogs that I had missed as they were completely camouflaged and making no noise.

I could have stayed for several days just photographing inside the temple itself and never exploring any other part of Koyasan.  I still spent another half hour wandering around the grounds of the temple after checking out before finally going into the cemetery. Continue reading “Okunoin Cemetery (Koyasan part 4)”