I mentioned in a previous post that Andy and I took on the ascetic training to complete the 88 temples on Shikoku Island.   It took us a year exactly to complete, so this post marks the anniversary to when we embarked on such a beautiful and spiritual journey.

Koyasan is known as a meeting place for pilgrims to join before they start and after they finish their journey.  Sharing stories and experiences alike.   It is the home of Kobu Daishi where he decided to go into eternal meditation over one thousand years ago.  Many believe , to this day, he is still in meditation. Throughout the year Buddhists and tourists regularly visit his mausoleum chanting his mantra “namu daishi henjo kongo”.  (this is a kind of Buddhist Hallelujah).

For us, we fall under the category of tourist.  Loving the beauty of this island, we intend to see as much of it as we can, join in with the locals and learn more about this fascinating country.

I have never know of such a place, a town built so high, over 900 ft from the ground.

Home to over 100 temples.  We wanted to make this visit to Koyasan as special as possible, so booked ourselves a room in a temple for the night.

When we lived in Korea, we took the opportunity to do a temple stay, where we took part in the daily rituals of the monks.  We ate with them, prayed with them and meditated from early morning until mid afternoon.  We were surrounded by nothing but nature.  It was a truly magical experience.

I expected something quite similar in our trip to Koyasan, but to my surprise we were treated like royalty.  A five-star experience.  Refreshing ourselves in a beautiful on site onsen looking out to the cedar trees and gardens before being escorted down to the dining room for a 10 course vegan dinner.  Our room was beautifully furnished and spacious in the style of  the traditional Japanese Ryokan with tatami mats and futons.  This part of our trip really made it for us.  Great bonding time with our friends.  Simply relaxing.

Sorry guys, I just couldn’t resist posting this one 😀

Through the day we joined in a buddhist ceremony where we chanted the mantra as I mentioned earlier following some other buddhist rituals.  Even if you are not religious or if you follow a different religion, you can still enjoy the unique cultural experience.

This break was exactly what we needed.   The perfect wind down from such a chaotic working life.

Osaka was next, nothing but indulgence… I love it!   Just take a look at the deliciousness, it speaks volumes of what happened during the rest of our trip;

Food porn at it’s best 😉

on the left is a macha (powdered green) tea ice cream float

on the right is a coconut ice cream black tea float.

My belly is feeling rather jelly like now.  Not surprising considering…hmmm…must do something about that.

In that case… posts to follow will consist of purely summer foods low in calories and naughty fats, but high in nutrition and deliciousness.   I promise!   Well give or take a birthday cake or two 😉