When staying at a temple, your schedule is somewhat set – and that includes getting up in the morning for 6:30 meditation.  Somehow, I made it in time – and I’m glad I had my winter wear, as the pond outside had an ice glaze on it, having frozen overnight, and it was cold – very cold.

Meditation lasted about 30 minutes, after which we were given a tour (in Japanese mind you) of the treasures of Shojoshin-in, the temple where I am staying.  There were five of us at meditation – a grandmother, mother, and two sons, and another foreigner.  After meditation, the other foreigner left, presumably to go to breakfast, whereas I hung back with the japanese and as a result got to go on the tour.  We headed to breakfast afterwards (which they serve the same as dinner – in your own ‘meal’ room, different than where you sleep but just as private.

Today was to be a day of travelling around the mountain top, visiting all the major temple and museums on offer.  A few kilometres of walking (I generally avoid the easy option – the bus) and snapping photos of:

The temple where I stayed (Shojoshin-in):

It was cold and I needed I warm drink – corn or red bean?  I went with the one on the right.

Tokugawa Mausoleum – can’t see through the fence, unfortunately

Nyonindo Gate


The Garan – Dai-tō (Great Pagoda), Kondō (Main Hall), Sai-tō (Western Pagoda).  Met a middle-aged japanese couple here, the husband ran a photo shop and was interested in the camera I was using.  He only had a point-and-shoot with him, having left his SLR (too inconvenient).  With tripod in toe, I attract attention somehow…

Daimon Gate

and finally Reihōkan (Treasure Museum) (no pictures allowed inside!) and Karukaya-dō.  I’m somewhat surprised I could fit it all into one day, but some of the guidebooks did say you could do Kōya-san as a day trip, although it wasn’t advised.

Few more shots of the temple (Shojoshin-in) in late afternoon.  Definitely recommended if you come to Kōya-san and want to be close to the cemetery.

After dinner and onsen, I decided to brave the cold and the Oku-no-in cemetery again – only this time, I would approach it from the main entrance, which is about a kilometre up the road.  Upon entering the main approach to the temple, the path was quite a bit wider and well lit – far fewer feelings of someone jumping out from behind a tombstone (or within one).

Eventually though, the path joined up with the other one, and the way ahead lay in darkness – I’m not sure if they light up the Tōrō-dō (Lantern Hall) or the Kūkai mausoleum, but I decided tonight was not the night to find out and headed back.

Some night shots of the temple (Shojoshin-in) on my return: