As luck would have it, I missed the early morning ferry.  Getting up early enough to catch a 5:55am ferry simply wasn’t in the cards, I guess.

On the plus side, while I might have lost a few hours sightseeing, I also saved some $$ by taking the bus instead of having to grab a taxi to the port.  The ferry is a couple of hours, followed by another three on the train to get to Mt. Koya.  Not the fastest way to get there but the best option considering where I’m coming from.

The last leg of the trip included a cable-car ride up the side of the mountain, and a bus to get to the temple I was staying at.

Meals were included, and happened at set times, so with an early dinner I decided not to waste the afternoon and headed out to the nearby Oku-no-in Cemetery, one of the highlights of any visit here.

I walked all the way to the Kūkai Mausoleum (no pictures allowed in the inner shrine area), and then headed back so I would make it in time for dinner.

Dinner was a traditional Buddhist vegetarian affair – lots to eat, hardly any of which I knew what it was, and given the variety and quantity you really didn’t miss the meat.  This was followed by onsen – bath time is restricted to late afternoon to early evening, so it was now or never.

Aside from getting to bed early, the one thing I wanted to take a walk and try was some night photography at Oku-no-in Cemetery.  The first hand experiences I had read said that as night falls and the temperature drops, you get some really great atmosphere.

Well, night wasn’t falling – it had already fell.  It was after 9pm by the time I got there and started my walk, and in some places the lighting was almost non existent.  I didn’t walk the whole way, instead I spent an hour wandering around in the cold, dark, and eerily quiet atmosphere that only a cemetery can provide.  I wouldn’t recommend doing it alone.

The good news is I got to finally try out my cold weather gear, to combat the frost bitting temperatures up here.  I knew there was a reason I was still carrying them around…

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