I can't believe the 15 days went by so quickly it's almost a blur. Thank goodness I have the blog to keep my head straight.
Then it was downstairs for breakfast. We're staying at an older Toyoko Inn but the breakfast was quite impressive. This was Art's plate. He decided to forgo the rice balls this morning. No me... or mom or auntie. We ate everything they offered. It was fun to see several westerners there eating only the sausage and bread that was offered.
The bathroom is about as tiny as it's possible to be. The faucet swings over to either the tub or the sink. Instead of shampoo, soap and conditioner packets, Toyoko Inn provides these dispensers that give you as much soap and such without the trash. I thought it was an excellent idea.
I can never figure out these train maps. Art did great.
It was also a challenge to go against the rush hour people traffic at the subway/train station.
Once we got to the ticket booth and they saw our wheelchair, someone came to help us. THAT was great! Maybe we should always travel with a wheelchair.
The train helper also made sure our ticketing was correct. This was a really tricky travel day. We had to go on the rush hour SUBWAY, the Nankai TRAIN, a CABLE CAR and BUS!
Watching my mother and aunt, I wished I had a sister, too. I love my brother but to see mom and her sisters, it just makes me envious. They are forever giggling, teasing and laughing with each other spending a lot of time remembering their shared past. There's so much love.
We were on our way to Koyasan. It is a sacred mountain with a ton of huge grave markers of famous people. We don't have anything equivalent to it in the states because according to my mother, this place is 1300 years old... or was it 1200? Oh shoot! I can't remember and Art's travel book is in a suitcase bound for Narita.
Mt. Koya is the center of Shingon Buddhism, a sect introduced to Japan by Kobo Daishi in 805.
From having watched a few historical type dramas with my mom, we know that there were a number of people sent to Koyasan in exile. Well, we could see that you were really in exile because it's VERY far away, deep and high in the mountains. There were no trains or cable cars back then.
When other passengers boarded the train mom and auntie had a great time talking to them. It certainly seemed to shorten the trip when you have great company.
The cable car was another fun experience.
Art stayed at the foot of the cable car to take photos.
This was the view looking back from where we were going.
It took about 10-15 minutes almost straight up the mountain. We asked someone if the wheelchair would be problematic. They said Koyasan had been really made more accessible to handicapped people. Incredible!
Once we got off the cable car, we boarded a bus to the grave and temple area.
Before entering the sacred area, we washed our hands. Auntie washed her mouth, too. You're supposed to. Ummm... I took a pass on that one.
We found this interesting grave marker. Hmmm...
Mom and Auntie were surprised at this grave marker. They burst out laughing. It's a tombstone for termites. Well, I wish all the termites in Hawaii were dead, too.
(Later: Art said this marker was put up by a termite extermination company for the respose of all the insects it had to do away with.)An audio tour was available but we didn't have time since it's almost 2 hours of travel one way and the day just wasn't long enough.
I can't believe we took 371 photos today. HOW is that possible?
Sorry... Mom and Auntie did tell us whose grave this belonged to but I'm forgetting. It was REALLY important though.
At the shrine, people were throwing water on all these religious statues. Mom said she didn't know why but what the heck! Art did it anyway. I did, too. I also got wet. Such a klutz!
Throughout the trip, we worried about this last day of sight seeing. Koyasan is known for being cold. It is also often rainy. A cold and rainy day at Koyasan would have been utterly miserable for mom.
Instead, it was perfect. I mean, really, really PERFECT! It was sunny and comfortably warm. We couldn't have hoped for a better day.
Mom had so much she wanted to teach us. I just wish we could understand the language better. I know some Japanese and it was tricky for me. I could just imagine how difficult it was for Art to follow it all.
At one of the train stops we noticed this worker cleaning the trash bin. We couldn't believe how much time he spent cleaning the outside... and then incredibly... the INSIDE!
It always surprises us to see how clean the public areas are kept. I have to confess we don't clean our own house this well. I take that back. Maybe mom does.
We stopped at the upscale store, Takashimaya in Namba and saw this cantaloupe selling for 21,000 yen. That's over $210.00 for two cantaloupes!
She was disappointed. It wasn't very good but it was still fun to taste something different.
It will be a tiring day of traveling tomorrow from Osaka to Narita. Keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well.