Osaka for the day (part 1)

Sorry for the long interruption. Things have been quite hectic since my last post, but, I am back to finish the rest of the tale of my recent trip! This new post picks up the next morning, after the events of the last blog post. I am still in Kyoto. Thanks!

Another morning has begun, and I’m still in Kyoto for one more full day. Surprisingly, after yesterday’s trek through the mountains of Kurama, in northern Kyoto, I managed to wake up on my own, just a little bit before my alarm went off. Upon opening the curtains and looking out the window, I saw right away that it was threatening rain again. However, that made me happy as I do enjoy photographing the hoards of umbrellas that appear in a good downpour. At the same time, I knew it was going to be another very humid day. Oh well, first things first- time for more yogurt and Frosties. And a little morning news as well. Continue reading “Osaka for the day (part 1)”

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)”

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”

Onto Koyasan

I am on the Shinkansen now heading towards Osaka where I will be transfering to a non-JR line for the 81 minute trip to Koyasan. Yesterday was spent picking delicious purple grapes and relaxing with my host family. It was a wonderful time and we had long conversations about what being “Japanese” is compared to being an “American”, and how the world has changed in the 20 years since I first came to stay with them.

One thing I absolutely love, is that they seem take every chance they can to find a reason to go into the outdoors to sit eat and drink with friends and family. Apple picking, orange picking, Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing, it’s a long list. They work hard but also know the value in relaxing and putting the same effort into non-work pursuits as working itself. Continue reading “Onto Koyasan”