Japan trip – the finale
The second week of my trip was primarily an opportunity to meet up with other friends who live in the Osaka area though the one really exciting aspect was the overnight stay as Shojoshin temple on Koya-san in Wakayama prefecture of which I wrote in a previous post.
I had been to Koya-san once before so had seen most of the sights before. Still, I went up early in the morning to see them all again and do some tromping around. The benefit of having been there before was that I knew which spots to spend more time at.
I was curious what it was going to be like eating shoujin ryouri (vegetarian temple cuisine) and I have to say that it was amazing. Of course the presentation was stunning but the food itself was great. Didn’t miss the meat or fish at all. It’s amazing what can be done with vegetarian cuisine when the chef actually knows what to do.
I met some interesting people as well. In my dining area (one of the historic rooms of the temple) were a young couple from the United States, an older couple from England and a family from Denmark. By the look of things, I was the only single person out of the 20 or so Westerners at the temple. Once the people in my dining area found out how conversant I was in Japanese language, the food and culture, I ended up getting peppered with questions as none of them had ever been to Japan before.
The other highlights of the trip (aside from seeing my friends) were the couple of trips I took out to Kyoto. This time around, I didn’t spend much time in seeing temples (which is what I usually do). Instead, I just spent time walking through the parts of the city that I enjoy. Since it was the height of cherry blossom season, people were out in full force, particularly in Maruyama park in Eastern Kyoto. I went through on a Monday and the place was packed as though it were a holiday weekend.